Revolutionizing Document Authentication: Canada Embraces the Apostille Convention for Global Business Ease
On May 16, 2023, a significant development was announced by Global Affairs Canada concerning document legalization procedures. Canada has officially become a party to the Apostille Convention, a treaty aimed at simplifying the authentication of documents used abroad. This convention is set to be implemented in Canada starting January 11, 2024.
The incorporation of Canada into the Apostille Convention marks a significant change, particularly for business activities within the country. With this new system, the need for Canadian public documents to be legalized by the consular officers of the destination country’s embassy or consulate in Canada will be eliminated. Instead, selected federal government authorities will be able to issue an apostille, a type of authentication certificate, making these documents valid in the 124 countries that are also part of the Apostille Convention.
The Apostille Convention aims to streamline the use of public documents across its member countries. It replaces the more complex legalization process with a single apostille issuance. The apostille, issued in the country of the document’s origin, verifies the authenticity of that document when presented in another member country, though it does not verify the content of the document itself. It certifies aspects such as the authenticity of the signature, the capacity of the signatory, and the seal or stamp on the document.
“Public documents” under the Apostille Convention include a range of documents, though the term is not explicitly defined within the convention itself. Typically, these include governmental, administrative, and court documents, as well as notarial acts and official certificates. If a document required legalization before the convention’s implementation or is to be used in a non-member state, it likely falls under the “public document” category.
In Canada, obtaining an apostille will require visiting designated government offices, as per Article 6 of the Apostille Convention. The Canadian government has currently appointed certain authorities for issuing apostilles, including the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, and ministries in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario. This list may be updated over time.
This transition to the Apostille Convention system is poised to offer a more efficient and cost-effective method for businesses in Canada to certify documents for use in the convention’s member countries. Until its implementation, existing authentication processes remain in place. Businesses are advised to stay informed on the upcoming changes and how they might impact their operations.
At Walk-In Notary, we are ready to provide comprehensive notarization services for documents that are intended for use abroad. Note that all of our Notaries are lawyers that are registered with the Law Society of Ontario and other government branches that provide us with the authority to notarize documents to make them eligible for apostille. please feel free to contact our team with any questions you may have about this.