Wedding officiants hold a unique position in the wedding industry as we are the sole required vendor for a wedding to be legally recognized. This pivotal role places us in the spotlight, elevating our significance to an even higher degree than other wedding vendors.

Our actions and conduct during the wedding ceremony not only shape the atmosphere and tone of the event but also carry legal weight – we must honour the couple’s wishes while ensuring the ceremony complies with the legal requirements of the jurisdiction in which the ceremony is held.

It is therefore incumbent upon us to approach our role with the utmost professionalism, sensitivity, and respect and conduct each ceremony with the reverence and care it deserves.

Canadian Wedding Officiants has established Professional Principles to set out ethical and professional guidelines for its members while working with clients, suppliers, the public and each other. Members pledge to abide by these Principles.

Business Practices

All CWO members are required to operate their business with integrity in a manner that elevates the wedding officiant industry by adopting good business practices in agreement with local laws and regulations.  

All CWO members are required to perform all services in a timely, prepared, professional manner that is respectful of clients, their guests, and other event professionals including fellow officiants.

All CWO members must serve with honesty and competence while maintaining client confidentiality.

All CWO members may use proprietary and/or copyrighted materials only with permission and proper credit.

Legal Compliance

Registered, licensed members of Canadian Wedding Officiants must comply, and keep current, with all laws and regulations regarding the performance of marriage in every jurisdiction in which they practice.

They must personally obtain, and keep current, the necessary legal authority to solemnize marriages and agree to file client marriage documentation, as required by law, in the jurisdiction in which they offer service.

Prior to being accepted for membership in Canadian Wedding Officiants, registered licensed officiants will be required to attest to their compliance with their legal authority to solemnize marriages and to their compliance with the filing of required client marriage documentation.

In summary, members must agree they will maintain their legal status for performing marriages and they will file completed marriage documentation as required by law.

Aspiring wedding officiants, Canadian wedding vendors who are not licensed officiants, and members from outside of Canada will not be required to undertake the aforementioned declaration.



Canadian Wedding Officiants prioritizes inclusivity and does not discriminate based on race, colour, ancestry, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, religious beliefs, age, national origin, citizenship, or disability.

Although inclusivity remains a priority for CWO, due to the varying nature of the laws regarding inclusivity and marriage officiating across Canada, CWO does not have a unilateral, Canada-wide policy regarding mandatory inclusivity for its members. CWO does not discriminate against any member based on their beliefs around inclusivity.

As an example, in the Province of Ontario in Marriage Act, R.S.O. 1990, CHAPTER M.3, it is stated:

Rights of person registered

20.4  (1)  A person registered under section 20.1, 20.2 or 20.3 is not required to solemnize a marriage, to allow a sacred place to be used for solemnizing a marriage or for an event related to the solemnization of marriage, or to otherwise assist in the solemnization of a marriage, if to do so would be contrary to,

(a)           the person’s religious or spiritual beliefs; or

(b)           the doctrines, rites, usages, customs or traditions of the religious body, band, First Nation, Métis or Inuit organization or community or Indigenous entity to which the person belongs. 2020, c. 11, Sched. 17, s. 2.

In order to ensure transparency while remaining a welcoming community, prior to being accepted for membership, officiants will be required to declare their policy around inclusivity by indicating whether they are “inclusive” or “non-inclusive”.

This will be noted on their Member Profile in the Membership Directory.


The two declarations noted above are included in the CWO Membership Application and it we hope these declarations will not prevent any qualified officiant from joining.