Canada joining The Hague Apostille Convention: What does it mean?

Canada are joining the Hague Apostille Convention, which is going to have a big impact on those looking to move over there or do trade with the country.

Big news in the legalisation world – Canada are officially joining The Hague Apostille Convention!

In this blog we’ll talk through what that means and how it might affect you if you’re thinking of emigrating to the land of Avril Lavigne, Bret Hart and Mr Lahey.

A beautiful, scenic image of a river in Alberta, Canada. Trees line the river, and there are some striking mountains in the background against a blue sky.

What’s document legalisation?

Before you can understand the significance of Canada joining the Hague Apostille convention, you’ll need to understand what document legalisation is.

You can’t present or use your documents in a foreign country without legalising them first. It’s the process of taking documents that were issued in one country and making them legally recognised in another.

At its bare bones it means getting something called an Apostille attached to the document. That’s a certificate that’s attached by the government (of the country in which the document was issued) confirming the validity of the document. Think of it as a little stamp of approval – when officials in a foreign country see an Apostille, they know the document is legit.

Most countries have extra steps to their legalisation process – an Apostille is just one of those steps. Depending on where you’re going to (and where your document was issued) there are a range of hoops you might also need to jump through; you might need your documents translated, certified by a solicitor or stamped at the country’s Embassy, to give you just a few examples. These extra steps make the process longer and complicate things. They can turn the legalisation process into a bit of a nightmare.

If only there was some sort of, say, agreement between countries to simplify the process by cutting out all of the extra steps.

An aerial view of a harbour in Vancouver at dusk for the Canada joining the Hague blog.

What is the Hague Apostille Convention?

The Hague Apostille Convention is a treaty, made up of countries from all over the world, that agree to simplify the legalisation process by making it Apostille-only. The whole point is to make the document legalisation process easier by cutting out the extra steps.

Not all extra steps will be cut out, though – there are some that are unavoidable. For example, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) require certain documents, such as educational certificates, to be certified whether the country is a member of the Hague or not.

Why is Canada joining the Hague Apostille Convention significant?

Generally, whenever a country joins the Hague Apostille Convention, you can safely assume that they’re looking to open themselves up to trade more, increase immigration and boost their economy. Why else would they go out of their way to make it easier to deal with documentation?

It’s an exciting prospect if you’re a business owner looking to expand your horizons internationally or you’re considering a move to Canada. By joining the Hague, they’re signalling that they’re looking to open up.

But, in this case, I don’t think it’s necessarily going to get any easier to legalise documents for use in Canada. It’s easy enough anyway. Canada haven’t even joined the Hague yet and they’ll often accept Apostille-only documents. They’re pretty lenient about legalisation.

So, in theory, while trading with and emigrating to Canada should become easier once they’re members of the Hague Apostille Convention, there’s no guarantee that’ll happen. From what we see day-in, day-out as a document legalisation company, it looks like it’s going to be more of the same.

An image of Toronto, Canada. The city can be seen in the distance, mirrored by the reflection in the water. The CN Tower is the focus on the image. On the left, in the foreground, is a small, green island overflowing with bushes and trees.

When are Canada joining the Hague?

Canada officially join the Hague Apostille Convention on January 11th, 2024.

Whether you need your documents legalising now or after Canada joining the Hague, we can take care of it for you – just send us your documents and we’ll take care of the rest. We’ll put them through all the proper channels, have them certified if they need to be, get an Apostille applied, and send them straight back to you, ready to go!

While you’re here, why not keep up to date with all the latest comings and goings by following us on social media?

Declan Ramsden
Declan Ramsden

Declan is a Content Creator at Vital Consular. He studied English Literature for 4 years before joining the company. Outside of work, he enjoys listening to retro music and reading classic novels – particularly Charles Dickens!

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  1. Can a parenting order made by the Family Court of Australia be registered and therefore enforceable in Alberta

    • Hey Barbara,

      Unfortunately we’re not best placed to comment on whether or not you would be able to register it or whether it would be enforceable once legalised. You’d need to check that with the Canadian authorities. We could certainly check if the document could be legalised for you, though – if you send a photo / scan of your document to and explain the situation, we’ll be able to check with one of our partners in Canada. Hope this helps!

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