If you are doing business or travelling abroad, you may need proof of authentication for public documents issued in Ontario.

Consulates and embassies ask for these certificates to ensure that public documents (such as a birth certificate or diploma) are valid prior to sending document abroad.

Official Documents Services (ODS) will verify the validity of the document by checking if the signatures and seals on the documents match their own records. If the signatures and seals match, they will authenticate the document by attaching a “Certificate of Authentication”

Difference between authentication and apostille

An apostille is an authentication of public documents utilized by countries that are signatories of the Hague Apostille Convention, Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation of Foreign Public Documents.

Canada is not a signatory of the Hague Apostille Convention and therefore does not fall within its requirements.

Canada at this time will not issue an apostille. Instead, Canadians are required to provide a Certificate of Authentication.

Documents eligible for authentication

Use the document authentication portal to see if your document is eligible for authentication at Official Documents Services. Through the document authentication portal, you will also be able to submit the authentication request after eligibility has been confirmed. 

Generally, ODS can authenticate:

  • notarized documents (notary public must be appointed in Ontario)
  • certified copies of birth registration, marriage and death certificates
  • business Documents issued by the Business and Personal Property Branch, including those issued through the Ontario Business Registry

Examples of notarized documents that ODS will authenticate include:

  • 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 we authenticate a document

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, commissioner for taking affidavits is 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 Official Documents Services
  • a hard copy of the document is provided. Soft copy (electronic) documents will not be authenticated

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.

ODS reserves the right not to authenticate your documents if they are considered fraudulent or suspicious.

Submit a request for authentication

Step 1: Verify your requirements

Contact the appropriate consulate or embassy to verify their requirements. The consulate or embassy of your document destination may require additional legalization and may not accept all public documents.

ODS is only responsible for authentications and is unable to provide information about consulate or embassy requirements.

Step 2: Check your eligibility

Determine your documents eligibility on the document authentication portal. Through the document authentication portal, you will also be able to submit the authentication request after eligibility has been confirmed. 

Step 3: Find a notary public

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

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

The following documents do not require notarization:

  • original long form Vital Statistic documents (for example certified copy of birth registration, marriage and death certificates) issued by The Registrar General of Ontario (through ServiceOntario)
  • business documents issued by the Ontario Business Registry (Companies and Personal Properties Branch)

Step 4:  Prepare your documents

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.

Step 5: Submit your service request

You can submit a service request either online through the document authentication portal or by completing a service request form for mail-in or in-person submission.

If you submit online, you will receive an email confirmation of submission with a service request number. To complete your service request, you are still required to submit the authentication service request number, along with your documents and form of payment to ODS.

Mail your service request

You can mail a printed copy of your online service request number or completed request form, documents and payment to the following address:

Official Documents Services
222 Jarvis St, Main Floor
Toronto, ON M7A 0B6

Once ODS receives your document, they will validate the signatures and seals and attach certificate of authentication within 15 business days.  This is the only location that will process mail-in applications.

Submit your service request in-person

Effective July 4, 2023, four additional ServiceOntario locations will be providing in-person authentication services:

  • Ottawa
  • Thunder Bay
  • Sault Ste. Marie
  • Windsor

You can submit your service request number or form, documents and payment method in-person to the ODS office or one of the following regional locations.

Office hours for all locations are Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., except for statutory holidays:

Official Documents Services
222 Jarvis St, Main Floor
Toronto, ON M7A 0B6

110 Laurier Avenue West,
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 1J1
(Ottawa City Hall)

101-420 Queen Street East,
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario P6A 1Z7

205-400 City Hall Square East,
Windsor, Ontario N9A 7K6
(Windsor City Hall)

113-435 James Street South,
Thunder Bay, Ontario P7E 6T1

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.

Cost and payment

Authentication cost

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

Fees apply to each document authenticated. For example, if you have two notarized documents that need to be authenticated, the fee is $32 ($16 x 2)

Payment methods

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.

Contact us

Help us improve our service

Fill in a 5 minute survey to tell us how we are doing and to suggest any improvements in our process.

If you have any questions, please contact us at:

Official Documents Services
Main Floor
222 Jarvis Street
Toronto Ontario M7A 0B6
Tel: 416-325-8416

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

Note: Access to the Office is on the north end of the building. Parking on the North side is currently closed due to construction.