What Non-Married Same Sex and Heterosexual Couples Need to Know When Immigrating to Canada

When applying for immigration to Canada via Citizenship & Immigration Canada (CIC) you must always have a principal applicant. This is the person who can fulfill the criteria of the particular immigration route you are choosing. It does not have to be the head of the household, nor does it have to be the male in a mixed sex relationship. You should look at the criteria and determine which family member will gain the most points or have the correct work history in order to qualify.

The principal applicant can then name spouses and dependent children as family members to be included in their application. Many people wrongly assume that a couple has to be heterosexual and married in order for their relationship to be recognized by CIC as valid, but this is not the case. CIC recognizes common-law relationships as well as same-sex relationships, but you do have to be aware of certain criteria that have to be met in order for your relationship to be accepted.

CIC Definitions:

Spouse: Two people of opposite or same-sex in a legally recognized marriage.
Common-law: Two people of opposite or same-sex who are living in a conjugal relationship and have been doing so continuously for at least one year.
Conjugal: Two people who live together and have significant commitment to one another i.e. financial, emotional, children etc.

Some issues may arise when applying for immigration to Canada that may never have been a factor before and could actually prevent the CIC from recognizing your relationship as common-law. If you know before hand what these issues might be you can prepare in advance and get your affairs in order so that when the time comes you have no problems proving your relationship. Muchmor Canada Magazine outlines the main problems and how you can prevent them.

When CIC accepts common-law relationships both heterosexual and gay or lesbian it has to receive proof from the couple that their relationship is real and not being used for the benefit of immigration. This means that you will need to prove that your relationship is conjugal. Evidence that you share a home, support each other financially, are in an emotional relationship and perhaps have children will all be taken into account.

This might not sound as if it could be a problem, but lets take a look at a couple of scenarios:

Scenario 1:

Jack and Ben are a gay couple who have been in a relationship for six years and have been living as a common-law couple for four years. Jack owned the property they live in before he met Ben and all the bills, mortgage etc are in his name only. Ben contributes toward the food and general living expenses as well as holidays the couple take. They each have separate bank accounts. This arrangement has worked well for them both and they have seen no reason to change.

Problem: Because on paper Ben has no connection to the property they live in there is no proof that they are living as a couple, other than their “word.” Although Ben pays as much financially into the relationship he has no bills, mortgage or household costs that can be shown to the CIC. Neither do they share a bank account and do they have no obvious financial commitment to each other. Therefore this may give rise to CIC rejecting their common-law relationship and refusing their application.

Scenario 2:

Mark and Sue have lived together for two years. Mark works full-time and is the only earner in the home as Sue is a stay-at-home mum to a daughter she has by another relationship. Mark has always looked after the bills and rent and Sue’s name is not on any of the official documentation i.e. rent, utility bills etc. They do have a joint bank account, but this is used for savings and holidays and not for the payment of household bills which come out of a bank account in Mark’s name only.

Problem: As with Scenario 1 CIC could refuse to accept their common-law relationship as on paper Sue has no connection to the joint home and cannot prove commitment to the relationship. Although they share a bank account, this does not prove a relationship as any two individuals can open a join bank account without being in a relationship. Remember all the bills come out of an account in Mark’s name.

Scenario 3:

Sally lives with her same-sex partner Amy in a rented apartment. The rental agreement is in Sally’s name as she lived there before she met Amy about 18 months ago. The rent includes all utilities, so no living expenses other than groceries and everyday living costs are payable. If they add Amy to the rental agreement it will prompt a new contract being put in place, increasing their monthly rent, so they have left things as they are. They both have separate bank accounts.

Problem: Once again one partner in the relationship cannot prove that they are in any way committed to the relationship or the property they live in. Again CIC could refuse to accept this relationship and refuse their application.

Solutions

Fortunately most of these issues can be easily rectified well in advance of you needing to supply the information to CIC. By following Muchmor Canada Magazine suggestions you can prevent problems.

The key to this is preparation and timing. As soon as you know you will want to apply for immigration to Canada you should look at mortgage or rental agreements, utility bills such as electricity, gas, water, internet, television etc. bank accounts and investments. Make a list and note who’s name is included on each.

The next thing is to try to get as many of these items in both names as possible. Some will be easier than others, but perhaps the easiest is a joint bank account which you then use to pay your bills. If you can show that both your incomes go into one account and all your expenses are paid from that account it helps prove financial commitment to one another and a shared liability for the “marital” home.

Next try to add the additional name onto utility bills. Some companies will do this readily, others may take some patience and paperwork. If you cannot get all changed over, don’t worry. As long as you can show that many of your bills are in joint names this is okay. After all even legally married couples don’t always have all their bills in both names.

The biggest obstacle will be mortgage or rental agreements as these will require a legal change and may it may be to your financial disadvantage to change them. This is something you will have to discuss with your mortgage lender or landlord. Again if you cannot easily get this changed, do not despair. As long as you can get a joint bank account in place and can prove you share all or most of the household expenses you should be good to go.

The CIC understands that not every couple married or common-law will share absolutely everything. Many married couples still have separate bank accounts or pay separate bills or only have one wage earner who pays everything. But it is taken for granted that a married couple living in the same house are financially and emotionally committed to each other. The same consideration is not extended to common-law couples who rightly, or wrongly have to prove this fact.

Because CIC require you to be in a common-law relationship for at least one year before applying, you should get all these things in order as soon as possible. The information you give on your application needs to be relevant at the time you complete it, not at the time you expect it to be processed by CIC.

Always read, re-read and read again the application criteria to make sure you are complying correctly. It is easier to start things off right than to have to correct things later which may delay your processing time, or mean it gets rejected altogether.

As with most things, preparation and planning are key.

Tips and Methods For Safer Sex

Sex is the most pleasing activity of our life. Its attractions and rewards are enormous. It is not untrue to say ‘no sex no life.’ Life without sex will certainly become a dull and bore routine, meaningless and fruitless. While this natural process is full of such tremendous excitements, it is also full of life threatening hazards.

We all know the alarming situation of sexually transmitted diseases, where AIDS or HIV is more dominant and deadly. The toll is rising fast since people seek illegitimate sexual outlets where you do not know your sexual partners’ standing (perhaps you are not the only one having sex with him or her); you do not know with what diseases he or she is suffering from. The answer to such a question is, avoid unprotected sex with new partners or while having sex outside the marriage boundary. But how safe is the use of condom, is it 100% safe?

The safest mean, of course, is the sexual relations between a husband and wife. This is what we consider the natural limits. When we cross any limit set by the nature, it will certainly punish us. Anal sex and sex between two identical sexes, all are like crossing the nature’s boundary that invites certain punishments. As a result of crossing the limits set up by the nature, we find the rising cases of sexually transmitted diseases, and the life threatening hazards of AIDS or HIV.

Unprotected sex invites negative consequences, such as incurable diseases (HIV, AIDS, Hepatitis, and Herpes), curable diseases (Syphilis, Chlamydia, Gonnorhea), Infertility, Cervical cancer, unwanted pregnancy and other complications associated with its termination, etc.

It is not fair and logical to advice to stay away from sex to save oneself from getting any sexually transmitted disease. Sex is a great gift of the nature which has to be enjoyed as much as possible. You can’t stay away from sex and yet find the life enjoyable. Of course legitimate sex between a wife and husband is the safest mean to enjoy with this precious gift, but it is, of course, not always possible. We should, therefore, try to find more tips and methods for safer sex.

The use of condom prevents you from acquiring many sexually transmitted diseases; but this method is not 100% safe, be careful.

Put on the condom carefully; pinch the air out of the top when putting it on otherwise the condom can break. If you have to use lubricants, use a water-based one, otherwise other lubricating media like body lotion, butter, petroleum jelly, etc can break down latex condoms.

Use condoms of very high quality and only certified ones. Ensure condom’s health (validity, proper storage, etc).

Avoid having sex with completely strange people. Remember, condoms are not 100% safe.

While engaging in oral sex, do not forget the hygienic side. Both he and she must clean the private parts before the act.

Avoid anal sex at all (don’t forget nature’s punishment).

Avoid anal and vaginal penetration during the course of single intercourse session.

Avoid using uncertified oils (in case of vaginal dryness), and other substances for lubrication; this is essential to prevent fungal and other infections.

Avoid having sex with sex workers, for the very apparent reasons which we all know. Do not rely on condoms.

Sex is a natural drive which, if done properly while taking care of the necessary precautions, can give you the pleasure which no other act can offer.

Sex and Drugs: Effects of Addiction on Sexuality

Sex and drugs always seems like a hot topic in the media and in nearly all social circles, but the reality of the situation is that sex and drugs can pose serious, lifelong consequences to those who engage in such behaviors simultaneously. There are always inherent risks associated with drug abuse, and unfortunately there are also serious risks involved with sex. This is true of each behavior independently, and it is a significantly exacerbated truth when the two are combined.

Some people might claim that sex and drugs “feel good” together, and for some this might be temporarily true. However, the fact of the matter is that this suggestion involves using drugs – a significant moral, health and legal dilemma in the United States. Additionally, most drugs of abuse are highly addictive, posing a serious problem for the short term and long term sexual health of the addict.

Ultimately, when drug abuse leads to addiction and sex is involved, the already inherent risks of both actions are greatly amplified, and could have lifelong consequences for those who engage in these behaviors. This can include unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, rape and sexual assault, prostitution and other violent crimes. If you’re having sex and you have a drug problem, then you’re at serious risk and should take immediate action to get help now. Sexuality is far too important of a human function to risk damaging permanently.

Libido – the Primary Impact of Sex and Drugs

Think using drugs will boost your libido? Think again.

One of the most common misconceptions about sex and drugs is that a person’s libido can be increased by abusing various substances. While this might be true of certain supplements and pharmaceutical drugs, it is not at all true of street drugs – including ecstasy. (Ecstasy deserves special mention because many people see it as a sex-enhancing drug, but these effects generally wear off quite quickly and leave the user uninterested in sex or incapable of performing or achieving orgasm.) There are three primary reasons that drugs negatively affect a person’s libido:

1.) Emotional Distress and other Substance Abuse Related Stress

When occasional drug use or drinking leads to addiction, sex is almost always affected. People with drug or drinking problems often struggle with emotional disorders such as depression or bipolar. While drug use appears to allow a way to self-medicate, it actually only worsens pre-existing conditions. Additionally, because drug abuse has moral, professional and legal taboos associated with it, there is a great deal of stress attached with using drugs.

Because stress decreases the average person’s libido, it’s perfectly logical to argue that drug and alcohol abuse will ultimately have a negative effect on human sexuality.

2.) Drug Seeking and Using is Exhausting, Time Consuming Behavior

Most people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol spend a significant portion of their time – perhaps all their time – finding drugs, actively using, hiding their drug use, and generating income (often illegally) in order to support their habit. All of this is extremely time consuming, and unless the drug user’s partner is also using drugs, most of these behaviors will necessarily need to occur away from any non-using partner. And because drug use itself is so exhausting and often leads to “passing out,” the opportunity and desire for sex may be significantly decreased.

3.) Physical Effects of Drugs can Cause Sexual Problems

Some drugs cause physical problems that may make it difficult or impossible to have sex. This can be something as benign as being unable to achieve erection as a result of alcohol consumption, to a complete lack of physical sensation, to other serious problems like pulmonary distress associated with use of opiates, or paranoia/fear associated with marijuana use. Severe issues like these can make it impossible to function normally from a sexual standpoint.

Sex and Drugs Lead to High Risk Sexual Behavior

Addiction and alcoholism are often breeding grounds for dangerous sexual behaviors

Just attend any AA or NA meeting, and you’ll hear countless horror stories related to sex and drugs. Because the drive for sex is nearly as powerful in a non-addicted person as the drive for drugs in some drug abusers, the two behaviors can often mix with damaging consequences including:

*Unwanted Pregnancies

Lowered inhibitions as a result of drug or alcohol abuse often coincide with reckless sexual decision making, such as the choice to not use a condom or other contraceptive. And when women who are addicted to drugs get pregnant, the person who suffers the most is often the unborn child. This is evidenced by recent reports that babies born addicted to drugs have skyrocketed in the United States in the last several years. This is because many women who are addicts do not seek out prenatal care and instead continue using drugs throughout their medically-unassisted pregnancy. Ultimately, women in this situation who successfully carry their babies to term (they often don’t) put their child at risk of being born addicted.

In many cases, babies born addicted to drugs are taken from their mother and placed in state care. Mothers can face criminal charges that may result in years behind bars.

*Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Sexually transmitted diseases spread rapidly through addict and drug abuser communities. Lowered inhibitions, desperation, unsanitary conditions and more can lead to an environment where drug users are significantly more prone to contract an STD than people who do not use drugs and have sex. And because many STDs are incurable, even one occasion of mixing sex and drugs or sex and alcohol can lead to a lifetime of medical complications.

*Prostitution

Drug addiction is expensive. Many addicts spiral down into a hole created when they exhaust their savings, sell their belongings and then begin stealing from others in order to support their habit. But for some people, these actions either aren’t an option, or there’s nobody left in their lives to steal from. This makes it all too easy to turn to prostitution in order to continue to purchase and use drugs.

Prostitution also comes with a naturally increased rate of transmission of STD, unwanted pregnancies and sexual and drug related crimes.

Sex, Drugs and Violence

It happens. A lot.

When people mix sex and drugs or sex and alcohol, things often go terribly wrong. While this could be any of the things discussed earlier, it could also be any number of violent sexual acts or behaviors. This is especially true for addicts who engage in promiscuity or prostitution in order to feed their drug addictions.

People who use drugs are much more susceptible to rape and sexual assault. Because drugs are involved, it’s easy to become incapacitated and taken advantage of. And as a result of the illegal nature of drugs, many victims are too scared to report the crime because they fear repercussions themselves. Additionally, there is an unfortunate tendency by law enforcement and others to discount or dismiss reports of sexual crimes against drug addicts or alcoholics.

In a large number of cases the sexual damage from a rape or other sexually-related assault can present complications for years – or even permanently. This is important for current drug abusers to consider, because these problems are likely to still be present long after they’ve stopped using drugs and achieved sobriety.

Sexual assault and sexual violence against drug users isn’t gender specific – both men and women become promiscuous, practice prostitution and possibly become the victims of sexual attacks. If drugs are involved, the dangers are always much more significant.

Long Term Consequences of Sex and Drugs

If you engage in these behaviors, you could affect your sexual health for life

When it comes to sex and drugs, the risks simply do not justify what vague benefits are sold to people in order to continue this type of lifestyle. In effect, a person could ruin their sexual health permanently – even if they only used drugs for a short time. The following are the four most prominent long term consequences of sex and drug abuse:

1.) Disease

Sexually transmitted diseases like Herpes, Hepatitis and AIDS cannot be cured. Addicts who contract these diseases will be forced to cope with them for the rest of their lives. This is a serious consideration for people who are addicted now and keep saying that “one day” they’ll quit. That one day could be one day too late.

2.) Injury

Sexual assault and other sexual violence can result in permanent injuries that can impact a person’s sexuality.

3.) Sexual Disconnection

Years of drug abuse and sex may desensitize a person to the point that sex while sober isn’t appealing anymore. Additionally, sexual trauma or other bad experiences during active drug use periods may cause severe emotional damage that may make it hard for a person to become close to another person in a healthy sexual manner.

4.) Loss of an Important Relationship

Promiscuity, prostitution and infidelity during active drug use can lead to the loss of an important romantic and sexual relationship that you might not be able to repair once you’ve become sober. Additionally, drug use alone is often enough to end a relationship, so if you have someone that you care about now and you’re still using drugs, perhaps it’s time to stop, before you lose them…