January 11th, 2024 – Update
The new Apostille procedures have begun!
Click this link to determine if your destination country is a Hague member.
This will determine which process you need to follow: Authentication and Legalization, or Apostille
Official Document Services Office translation requirements – Good news! A certified translation will only be required if the document is in a single language other than English or French. If the document is dual language with English being on of the languages, then a certified translation is not required.
January 2nd, 2024 – Update
On May 16, 2023 Global Affairs Canada announced that Canada has formally joined the Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents, known as the Apostille Convention, or the ‘Hague Convention’. The convention will come into effect in Canada on January 11, 2024 and will allow public documents to be Apostilled by federally designated authorities. More information below.
Click here for updates to Changes to Authentication Services in Canada.
What is the Hague Convention?
It is an international treaty drafted by the Hague Conference on Private International Law signed at the convention of October 5, 1961, and abolished the requirement of legalization of foreign public documents. It is intended to simplify the procedure through which a document, issued in one of the contracting states can be certified for legal purposes in any other contracting states. The certification under the convention is called Apostille. Canada is now one of the contracting (signing) states.
What does this mean?
Joining the convention means that Canadian citizens and businesses will be able to submit Canadian public documents for an authenticity certificate called an ‘apostille’, which will allow the documents to be used in any of the 124 countries that are members of the convention. Basically the current two step process of Authentication and Legalization will be replaced by one step, the Apostille Certificate. More information will be provided as we approach January 11, 2024, until then the legalization process will remain unchanged!
Document Authentication + Legalization = Apostilled
Due to the current processing delays for document authentication at Global Affairs which is approximately 2 months, you may want to consider waiting until the new Apostille certification process is in place if you have a document that requires legalization through an Embassy in Ottawa.
If the destination country is not a member of the Hague Convention, the regular 2-step legalization process is required, which is having the notarized document authenticated and then legalized at a consulate or embassy.
To check if the destination country for your documents is a Hague member? Click here.
How to obtain an Apostille in Canada
Once the Apostille Convention comes into effect in early 2024, the following authorities have been designated by the Government of Canada to issue Apostilles:
- Global Affairs (the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development) in Ottawa;
- the Ministry of Public and Business Service Delivery of Ontario (the Official Document Services office) in Toronto;
- the Ministry of the Attorney of the Attorney General of British Columbia;
- the Ministry of Justice of Alberta; and
- the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General of Saskatchewan;
Are certified translations still required?
Global Affairs (Ottawa) – If a document is written in two languages (dual language), or in a language other than English or French, a certified translation must be provided.
Official Document Services (Toronto) – If a document is written in two languages (dual language) with English being one of the languages a certified translation is NOT required. If the document is written in a single language other than English or French, a certified translation must be provided.
A certified translation is a translation that is certified by a member of a recognized provincial translation agency like the ATIO (The Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario).
A certified translation is not required if:
The Canadian Notary public speaks both languages. They must add the following statements to their declaration when notarizing:
- They attest to speaking both languages
- They certify the accuracy of the translation
We are here to help!
The Apostille Convention will provide a much more streamlined and cost-effective process come January 11, 2024. We remain committed to providing the most efficient document legalization, soon to be, apostille services and will continue to monitor the situation as further information is released, which is expected later this year. It is business as usual until then!
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at 1.877.239.6616 or by fi*****@ce**************.com">email.