Changing Face of Families Reinforces Importance of Planning

New Canadian Census on Diversification of Canadian Families Reinforces Importance of Planning and Protecting Loved Ones


September 20, 2012

Vancouver, BC - The Society of Notaries Public of B.C. welcomed yesterday’s Statistics Canada’s 2011 census data on families, households and marital status which showed increasing diversity in the composition and mix of Canada’s and B.C.’s families.

"Notaries throughout the province have also noticed an increase in non-traditional families, including common-law, stepfamilies, single parents and same-sex couples," said Akash Sablok, Vice President of the Society of Notaries Public of B.C. and a Vancouver Notary.

"This diversity makes it even more important for people to ensure their legal documents relating to home ownership, wills, powers of attorney and other planning tools reflect their relationships, living arrangements, and wishes for future decisions and life events."

B.C.’s census data largely reflects that of the rest of Canada, which shows that married couples remain the most common family structure, but are declining as common-law and single-parent families are on the increase. Same-sex couples are also on the rise and stepfamilies were counted for the first time.

"Non-traditional families sometimes face risks they may not be aware of," said Laurie Salvador, a Notary in Sidney. "If something happens to one of the family members, such as an illness or even death, the legal definition of relationships means that decision-makers or heirs may not align with real-life relationships or intentions. This can create incredible stress and heartbreak that could otherwise be avoided if wishes and preferences are legally documented."

The census data also showed that 44% of BC couples have children aged 24 or younger at home; and that 11% of these families are stepfamilies, with children from other relationships.

"Many people know that wills and other planning tools are important for older people," said Derek Smoluk, a Kamloops Notary. "But it’s also critical that parents with children under 19 record their intentions for guardianship and other considerations; particularly for non- traditional families to ensure that these important arrangements are properly in place."

The Society of Notaries Public of B.C. represents more than 320 highly trained Notary professionals. Most have locally owned and operated offices and all provide personal assistance to clients around the province. Individuals, families, and businesses seek the services of B.C. Notaries for a wide range of non-contentious legal matters, including residential and commercial real estate transfers, mortgage refinancing, Wills and advanced healthcare planning, powers of attorney, and other important documents.

The Notary’s Tradition of Trust spans 2,000 years. Notaries first came to British Columbia over 100 years ago. They continue to serve their valued clients and their communities across the province.

For more information, please visit



Local Notaries are available in most areas of BC to discuss planning tools and other important considerations for B.C.’s families. Notaries speak various languages in addition to English: French, Cantonese, Mandarin, Farsi, Punjabi and others. To reach them or for more information, please call:

Karen Cook


Brenda Jones
(604) 312-1070

About The Society

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