On May 12, 2023, the authorities of Canada officially submitted the documents for deposit with the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) regarding their accession to the Convention of October 5, 1961, Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents, also known as the Apostille Convention.
The event was significant for the Hague Conference as it marked the milestone of the thousandth submission of documents by an individual state to the HCCH, and thus it took place in a solemn atmosphere. The ceremony was held at the Permanent Bureau of the Conference in The Hague. Lisa Helfand, the Ambassador of Canada to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, represented Ottawa officially. She was accompanied by embassy staff and representatives from the Canadian Ministry of Justice. During the document transfer ceremony, an excerpt from a documentary film about the activities of the HCCH was shown.
Canada became the 125th state to formally join the Apostille Convention. Until now, for the legalization of documents issued by Canadian authorities or for the use of foreign documents on Canadian territory, a complex multi-step procedure of consular legalization was required. However, starting from January 11, 2024, when the Hague Convention of 1961 enters into force for Canada, it will be sufficient to affix an apostille for document legalization. The specific authority responsible for apostilling in Canada is not yet clear.
The authorities responsible for the apostille in Canada are:
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development;
- The Ministry of the Attorney General of British Columbia;
- Ministry of Justice of Alberta;
- Ministry of Justice and Attorney General of Saskatchewan;
- Ontario's Ministry of Public and Business Service Delivery
Earlier Canada could not accede to the Convention because of disagreement among the provinces. No country party to the Convention has objected to Canada's accession, so the apostille from Canada will be recognized in all participating countries.
An apostille is an internationally standardized form that contains information about the legality of a document and is provided in the form of a special stamp on a paper carrier or a digital mark. Already during the negotiations on accession to the Convention, the Canadian authorities stated that they were considering the possibility of using electronic apostilles.
The years 2021-2023 have been groundbreaking for the Apostille Convention. For several decades, five countries within the G20 had refused to join the convention. However, within just two years, the authorities of Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, China, and Canada changed their decision and agreed to adopt the apostille procedure. Currently, the only G20 country that has not joined the Convention is Iran.
According to the official HCCH website, Canada is currently a participant in five conventions within the framework of the Hague Conference on Private International Law.
What is an apostille?
What is an apostille? Why do I need an apostille? How do I get an apostille? - Our video will explain everything you need to know about the apostille.
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