Dalhousie Law Journal


immigration, refugee, Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, common-law partners, conjugal partnes, spouses, sam-sex, marriage, unequal treatment, discrimination


The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which came into force in 2002, and the Regulations under it, expanded family class immigration to include commonlaw partners and conjugal partners in addition to spouses A common-law partner or a conjugal partner may be either an opposite-sex or same-sex partner-as can a spouse, depending upon the currently evolving law with respect to samesex marriage. Under the former Immigration Act, same-sex partners had been admitted pursuant to the discretion to admit immigrants on the basis of compassionate or humanitarian considerations. After examining the admission of same-sex partners under both the former and the current legislation, the author argues that same-sex partners were, and still are, treated unequally in comparison with opposite-sex partners. The only way to eliminate this sexual orientation discrimination is to extend marriage to same-sex partners. In the meantime, the government should facilitate the admission of same-sex partners unable to marry outside Canada.