Ontario law provides for the ability of non-natural parents to apply to adopt a child. A person must be resident in Ontario and over the age of 18 to adopt a child.

If a person is married, both spouses have to agree to adopt the child.

Any child under the age of majority can be adopted. Adoption of a child requires a court order, which will be granted only if the Court believes that the adoption is in the best interests of the child. In most cases, a child can only be adopted if the child’s parents consent to the adoption. Exceptions to this rule can exist where the child has been made a Crown Ward or where the parent’s consent to the adoption is dispensed with.

In Ontario, children can be adopted through the Children’s Aid Society or through private adoption agencies. Both processes are regulated and involve parents undergoing screening processes. The timelines for adoption through various agencies can vary, but children generally have to be in a parent’s care for six months before they can be adopted through a Children’s Aid Society. If you wish to adopt a member of your own family (such as a grandchild or stepchild), you do not need to go through an adoption agency or the Children’s Aid Society, however, an order from the court is still required.