No. A common-law relationship is not a marriage. Under the law in Alberta, a couple is only treated as married if they go through a ceremony with a person authorized to solemnize a marriage and register that marriage with the government according to the laws of the place where you were married.

Alberta law uses the legal term “adult interdependent relationship” (“AIR”) for committed couples who do not marry. An AIR covers a lot of what people generally understand by a “common-law relationship” but is not necessarily the same thing. The definition of an AIR is found in the Adult Interdependent Relationships Act.

Other terms for unmarried couples in committed relationships are sometimes used in contexts outside of Alberta. For example, the federal Income Tax Act uses the term “common law partnerships”. Whenever this, or a similar term is used, there should be an explanation of who fits its definition.


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