This year, Quebec’s highest court had to decide if common-law couples residing in Quebec were victims of discrimination based on section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom. Quebec’s Civil Code does not afford common-law partners access to alimony, the sharing of family property and the protection of the family residence, among other rights that married or civil union couples enjoy (see sections 585, 401–430, 432, 433, 448–484 of the Code).
The Quebec Civil Code, which governs relations between private persons, treats common-law spouses as two independent individuals, regardless of the length of their union. It . . . [more]