Authenticate a document for use outside Canada

How to get a legal document authenticated for international travel or business purposes. The Official Documents Services (ODS) department issues the Certificate of Authentication.

Note: The Official Documen​ts Services offices moved to a new location on February 21, 2014. The offices are located on the north side of the building.

Overview

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

Ste​p 1:

Contact the appropriate consulate/embassy to verify their requirements.

St​ep 2:

Have your document notarized by a notary public, or commissioned by a commissioner for taking affidavits in Ontario.

St​ep 3:

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.

Ste​p 4:

Include the appropriate fee:

Document type Fees 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

In person

Cash, Visa, Mastercard, debit, certified cheque or money order.

By mail

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
Main Floor
222 Jarvis St
Toronto ON  M7A 0B6

Tel: 416-325-8416

Office hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., except statutory holidays.

Faxed applications will not be accepted.

Authentication process

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

In person

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.

Mailed documents

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.

Find a notary public

Consult your local Yellow Pages or look online for a notary public in your area. ODS does not have an in-house notary public.

Apostilles

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 requires, and is required to provide a Certificate of Authentication.

Updated: July 31, 2014