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Canada Adopts the Apostille Convention

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Canada Adopts the Apostille Convention Martin February 13, 2024

Canada Adopts the Apostille Convention

On January 11, 2024 Canada finally joined the Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents, commonly referred to as the Apostille Convention. The Apostille Convention expedites the process for the authentication and legalization of  documents destined to be used outside of Canada.  The Apostille Convention applies to private documents such as powers of attorney, as well as public documents issued by the Government of Canada (i.e., birth and marriage certificates).

Prior to adopting the Apostille Convention, the authentication of Canadian documents was a time-consuming multi-step process: it required notarization by a notary public, authentication by Global Affairs and then legalization at the consulate/embassy of the country where the documents were required. As a party to the Apostille Convention, Canadians and Canadian businesses can now submit notarized public documents to their province’s competent authority and obtain a one-step certificate called an Apostille. The competent authority is determined by the province in which the document is issued and the province in which the document is notarized.  For example, documents issued in Ontario and notarized in Ontario are to be sent to the Ministry of Public and Business Service Delivery of Ontario and documents issued and notarized in Québec are to be sent to the Ministère de la Justice du Québec.  Once the document(s) receive an Apostille Certificate from the proper competent authority, individuals and businesses can bypass consular legalization. 

Notably, not all countries are party to the Apostille Convention.  Therefore,  the expedited process will only benefit individuals or businesses dealing with one of the 124 countries in which the Convention is in effect.  Canadian individuals or businesses dealing with non-party countries will continue to use the three-step process outlined above.

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