Canada’s Accession to the Apostille Convention: A Beneficial Turning Point for Our Businesses

On November 25, 2023, Posted by , In International Analysis,

Available | Disponible : French

By Mildred Bolanos-Lopez and Florence Beauregard

The recent announcement of Canada’s accession to the Apostille Convention by Global Affairs Canada represents a significant step forward in streamlining international exchanges. This Convention of October 5, 1961 abolishing the requirement for legalization of foreign public documents, which will come into effect in the country on January 11, 2024, aims primarily to facilitate the recognition of foreign public acts among member countries.

Current Legalization Process

Before its implementation, legalizing Canadian documents for use abroad remains cumbersome. The current procedures involve a complex and time-consuming authentication process. Documents must be notarized and authenticated by competent authorities, often followed by certified translation if necessary. Then, they must be authenticated by Global Affairs Canada, with considerable processing times of up to 45 days, not including postal delays. Any unforeseen issues during this stage result in restarting the process. On average, this laborious mechanism takes about three (3) months, thereby slowing down crucial legal or commercial procedures.

These colossal bureaucratic obstacles not only have temporal implications but can also cause financial and moral damages to Canadian businesses, especially when it comes to safeguarding their rights abroad. For instance, in disputes concerning intellectual property, the complex process to authenticate a power of attorney intended for a foreign legal advisor can significantly delay the protection of the company’s rights.

Advantages of the Apostille Convention

Therefore, Canada’s accession to the Apostille Convention represents a necessary advancement for Canadian businesses. It will enable direct recognition of documents in the 125 member countries of the Convention, eliminating the need for multiple legalizations for each country. Indeed, while a Canadian document may still require separate legalization for each country, an eligible document bearing an apostille will be immediately recognized and accepted in all 125 countries party to the Convention. This change will simplify international exchanges for Canadian businesses, making them more competitive on the global stage.

Furthermore, this accession also reduces bureaucratic barriers for foreign companies seeking to invest in Canada. This opens the way for a more favorable ground for foreign investments, thereby strengthening the national economy.

Looking ahead, the entry into force of the Apostille Convention in Canada is eagerly anticipated. While the Apostille is expected to shorten document recognition times, it is essential that the procedure established by Global Affairs Canada overcomes current obstacles to truly reap the benefits of this Convention. However, it is reasonable to expect a transition period before the positive impacts are fully felt.

In conclusion, Canada’s accession to the Apostille Convention represents a significant opportunity to facilitate international trade, boost foreign investments, and enhance the competitiveness of Canadian businesses on the global stage. Though adjustments are needed, this initiative marks a positive turning point for our businesses open to the world.

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