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Polygamy in Canada: Legal and Social Implications for Women and Children – A Collection of Policy Research Reports

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The research and publication of this study were funded by Status of Women Canada's Policy Research Fund. This document expresses the views of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official policy of Status of Women Canada or the Government of Canada.

Status of Women Canada is committed to ensuring that all research produced through the Policy Research Fund adheres to high methodological, ethical and professional standards. Specialists in the field anonymously review each paper and provide comments on:

  • The accuracy, completeness and timeliness of the information presented;
  • The extent to which the methodology used and the data collected support the analysis and recommendations;
  • The original contribution the report would make to existing work on this subject, and its usefulness to equality-seeking organizations, advocacy communities, government policy makers, researchers and other target audiences.

Status of Women Canada thanks those who contribute to this peer-review process.

Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication

Polygamy in Canada [electronic resources]: social implications for women and children.

Electronic monograph in PDF and HTML formats.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Available also in printed form.
Issued also in French under title: La polygamie au Canada : conséquences juridiques et sociales pour les femmes et les enfants.
Includes bibliographical references.

ISBN 0-662-42068-3
Cat. no. SW21-132/2005E-PDF

1. Polygamy - Government policy - Canada.
2. Polygamy - Law and legislation.
3. Married women - Legal status, laws, etc. - Canada.
4. Conflict of laws - Marriage - Canada.
5. Women - Canada - Social conditions.
I. Angela Campbell
II. Nicholas Bala
III. Katherine Duvall-Antonacopoulos
IV Leslie MacRae
V. Joanne J. Paetsch
VI. Martha Bailey
VII Beverley Baines
VIII. Bita Amani
IX Amy Kaufman
X. Alberta Civil Liberties Research Centre
XI. Canada. Status of Women Canada
XII. Title: Polygamie au Canada : conséquences juridiques et sociales pour les femmes et les enfants.

HQ981 P64 2005        306.84'23'0971        C2005-980296-0

Project Manager: Vesna Radulovic and Jo Anne de Lepper, Status of Women Canada
Publishing and Translation Co-ordinator: Cathy Hallessey, Status of Women Canada
Editing and Layout: PMF Editorial Services Inc. / PMF Services de rédaction inc.
Translation: Lexi-Tech International

For more information, contact:
Research Directorate
Status of Women Canada
123 Slater Street, 10th floor
Ottawa, Ontario
K1P 1H9
Telephone: (613) 995-7835
Facsimile: (613) 957-3359
TDD: (613) 996-1322


Good public policy depends on good research. In recognition of this, Status of Women Canada instituted the Policy Research Fund in 1996. It supports independent, nationally relevant policy research on issues linked to the public policy agenda and in need of gender-based analysis. Our objective is to enhance public debate on gender equality issues to enable individuals, organizations, policy makers and policy analysts to participate more effectively in the policy development process.

The focus of the research may be on long-term, emerging policy issues or short-term, policy issues that require an analysis of their gender implications. Funding is awarded through an open, competitive call for proposals. A non-governmental, external committee plays a key role in identifying policy research priorities, selecting research proposals for funding and evaluating the final reports.

The four policy research papers that make up this collection were jointly funded by Status of Women Canada and the Department of Justice Canada under a call for proposals issued in January 2005. In this call for proposals, researchers were asked to explore the legal and social ramifications of the practice of polygamy, including the impacts of the practice of polygamy on women and children and gender equality.

Polygamy is illegal in Canada pursuant to s. 293 of the Criminal Code. The practice of polygamy is also contrary to many of Canada's international commitments and to the notion of gender equality that is fundamental to Canadian society. It is essential that any debate regarding polygamy should include a consideration of the need to respect gender equality fully and promote the advancement of all women. These studies contribute to our knowledge base in this area.

We thank all the researchers for their contribution to the public policy debate on this important issue


ACLU American Civil Liberties Union
AIDS Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome 
AIP Adult interdependent partner
AIRA Adult Interdependent Relationships Act
ALRC  Australian Law Reform Commission
Am. Jur. American Jurisprudence
BBC British Broadcasting Corporation
BCCT British Columbia College of Teachers
CBC Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
CEDAW Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
CIC Citizenship and Immigration Canada
CTV Canadian Television Network
FLDS Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
HIV Human Immunodeficiency Virus
HSV2 Herpes Simplex Virus 2
ICCPR International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
LRC Law Reform Commission of Canada
UEP United Effort Plan

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Last Updated: 2006-01-13
Last Reviewed: 2006-01-13
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