A spouse in Toronto, Canada can seek a divorce at any time by filing a petition in the appropriate court in Ontario Province, although it is only granted after the parties have been separated for at least one year (or sooner if adultery or domestic violence are present). A divorce court can order temporary support during the pendency of the case.
The relevant law is national, but the relevant court is part of the provincial court system.
Abandonment or separation from a spouse is not a concept recognized by criminal law in Canada, and abandonment has no relevance to entitlement to a divorce in Canadian divorce law which simply asks if parties are currently living together or not as a factual matter (although it may go to need for maintenance payments or access to property). If they are not living together, then they are separated, something that requires no court approval.
Upon divorce, and during a separation (in fact) of the spouses prior to a divorce, a Court can enter orders regarding property division or maintenance (and child support, if relevant) if the husband can be served with process, and as to any property that the Court can gain control over.
UPDATE: Contrary to my previous answer to this question, apparently there is a relevant criminal statute that I previously failed to locate because it was in part of the criminal code where I didn't expect it to be, which states in the pertinent part (the language in bold has been held unconstitutional and has no legal effect).
§ 215 (1) Every one is under a legal duty . . . (b) to provide
necessaries of life to their spouse . . .
(2) Every one commits an offence who, being under a legal duty within
the meaning of subsection (1), fails without lawful excuse, the proof
of which lies on him, to perform that duty, if (a) with respect to a
duty imposed by paragraph (1). . . (b), (i) the person to whom the
duty is owed is in destitute or necessitous circumstances, or (ii) the
failure to perform the duty endangers the life of the person to whom
the duty is owed, or causes or is likely to cause the health of that
person to be endangered permanently . . .
(3) Every one who commits an offence under subsection (2) . . . (a) is
guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term
not exceeding five years; or (b) is guilty of an offence punishable on
summary conviction and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding
(4) For the purpose of proceedings under this section . . . the fact
that a spouse . . . is receiving or has received necessaries of life
from another person who is not under a legal duty to provide them is
not a defence.
Canadians call this crime criminal neglect. Some interpretative material and case law is provided here, although all of the easily accessible case law cited at the source involves child neglect rather than spousal neglect.
More interpretations of the statute and procedural issues are explored here. Notably, the summary offense statute of limitations is six months.
Under the statute:
"Necessaries of life" are necessaries that "tend to preserve life and
not necessaries in their ordinary legal sense".
According to a case involving failure to provide medical care to a child who was also physically abused. Other cases have held that:
Where the duty is found, the crown must prove:3
the culprit acts or omissions which led to the failure to provide
necessaries of life were a marked departure from the conduct of a
reasonably prudent person in similar circumstances, and it was
objectively foreseeable that the failure to provide necessaries would
lead to a risk of danger to the life or permanent endangerment to the
health of the person to whom the duty is owed.
The accused's conduct is to be considered on an objective standard and
so the individual characteristics and experiences of the accused are
Neither abandonment nor separation are concepts involved in the statute which merely involves a "failure to provide."
The lion's share of the cases involve what could be called child neglect (about half of the reported cases) or elder abuse, not infrequently involving an adult child and a severely unhealthy dependent parent. (These cases also hold that the spouse's duty to provide necessities takes priority over the child's.)
"Lawful excuses" are a matter of common law and are not itemized in the statute.
The decision to charge the crime as a "summary offense" (basically a misdemeanor) or an "indictable offense" (basically a felony) appears to be up to the prosecutor and there is no mandatory minimum sentence.
In a couple hours of searching, I have not been able to locate any Canadian case under Section 215 with a fact pattern similar to that of the question. The elder abuse cases don't tend to involve spouses and involve neglect of personal care that a person cannot provide themselves or a lack of medical care, by and large. So, it seems that the conclusion, that one should bring a divorce action, still appears to be the correct one. It seems unlikely that this situation would be prosecuted when a civil action could secure another result. Also, incarceration of a spouse will ordinarily prevent the spouse from earning any income.