Frequently, once a document has been notarised, some further formalities must be undertaken before it can be used overseas; these formalities may include consular legalisation (often referred to simply as “consularisation”) or certification by apostille in accordance with the 1961 Hague convention abolishing legalisation.
Ontario does not provide an apostille certification service. However, some countries still require notarial documents to be legalised and the document must in these circumstances be presented to the consulate or other diplomatic representation of the country where the document is to be used.
The Province offers useful guidelines online:
How to get a legal document authenticated for international travel or business purposes. The Official Documents Services (ODS) department issues the Certificate of Authentication.
If you are doing business or travelling abroad, you may need proof of authentication for official documents issued in Ontario.
Consulates and embassies ask for these certificates to ensure that various documents are valid.
ODS authenticates documents by verifying the seal, stamp and signature of notaries public in Ontario and commissioners for taking affidavits who have been appointed by the Ministry of the Attorney General. ODS does not validate the contents of documents.
What documents can be authenticated
ODS can authenticate notarized or commissioned documents such as:
birth, adoption, marriage or divorce certificates
property ownership documents
school, college or university admission papers and transcripts
business and commercial import-export documents
contracts dealing with incorporation, partnerships, product standards and distribution, fiscal matters
approval certificates for customs
other government official documents
How to get a document authenticated
Contact the appropriate consulate/embassy to verify their requirements.
Have your document notarized by a notary public, or commissioned by a commissioner for taking affidavits in Ontario.
For documents more than one-quarter inch (or 7 mm) thick, have 2 holes punched in the upper-left-hand corner, where the authentication certificate can be attached.
Include the appropriate fee:
Document typeFees payable in Canadian dollars only (all taxes exempted)
Notarized legal document$16
Commissioned legal document by a commissioner for taking affidavits$32
An Ontario government official document$32
A status of good standing for a notary public$16
Accepted forms of payment
Cash, Visa, Mastercard, debit, certified cheque or money order.
Certified cheque or money order.
Cheques and money orders are to be made payable to: The Minister of Finance.
Step 5: Mail the request or deliver it in person to:
Official Documents Services
222 Jarvis St
Toronto ON M7A 0B6
Office hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., except statutory holidays.
Faxed applications will not be accepted.
ODS authenticates your document by comparing the signature and seal or stamp on the document against the information on file from the notary public/commissioner for taking affidavits.
ODS does not validate the contents of documents.
Authentication will only proceed if:
all parts of the signature, seal and/or stamp of the notary public or commissioner for taking affidavits are clearly displayed on the same page of the document — if not, it has to be re-notarized or re-commissioned;
the notary public or commissioner for taking affidavits is registered with ODS;
the name, seal and/or stamp is identical to that on file at ODS.
You will be issued a Certificate of Authentication attached to each document.
If your information is not complete, payment is missing or a document is not notarized — it cannot be authenticated.
Standard processing time
Your documents can be authenticated while you wait. Standard wait time is about 30 minutes if your documentation is complete. If you have more than one item for authentication, you may be required to wait longer.
We will return the documents, by Canada Post, within 15 business days of receipt. You can use a courier service of your choice if you enclose a pre-paid envelope with your request.
An apostille is the authentication of official documents of foreign origin for countries that are signatories of the Hague Convention.
Canada is not a signatory of the Hague Convention and therefore does not fall within its requirements.
Instead, Canada is required to provide a Certificate of Authentication.