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NB introduces same-sex benefits legislation


Same-sex common-law partners in New Brunswick will be entitled to the same benefits and be under the same obligations as opposite-sex common-law partners under as opposite-sex common-law partners under recently announced legislative amendments.

These changes, introduced by Attorney General T.J. Burke, honours a commitment made in the Nov. 25 throne speech. They are part of the Modernization of Benefits and Obligations Act, an omnibus bill that would amend more than 30 acts and regulations.

"I am pleased that our government is moving forward with changes that would bring New Brunswick in line with other Canadian jurisdictions by respecting the 1999 Supreme Court of Canada decision, M. vs. H.," says Burke. In that decision, the court in essence held that same-sex and opposite-sex common-law partners must be treated equally.

"Benefits and obligations have already been extended to those in same-sex relationships in different areas, but they are not necessarily reflected in legislation," says Burke. "Our intention is to bring all pertinent legislative and regulatory provisions in line with other jurisdictions across the country, and to ensure that all people living in a common-law relationship are treated fairly and equitably in New Brunswick."

The bill would also incorporate gender-neutral terminology in references to persons in common-law partnerships and marital relationships.

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