Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
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Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

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Appointment of Chargés d'affaires, a.i. and Acting High Commissioners

Circular Note No. XDC-0038 of January 6, 2011

The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (Office of Protocol) presents its compliments to Their Excellencies the Heads of Diplomatic Missions and Chargés d’affaires, a.i. accredited to Canada and has the honour to clarify the process of notification of the appointment of a chargé d’affaires, a.i. in Canada. The expression "chargés d'affaires, a.i." includes acting high commissioners.

Bearing in mind Article 19 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, heads of mission, which includes chargé d’affaires accredited to the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs1 may notify the appointment of a chargé d’affaires, a.i. as long as they are within the territory of Canada.

In the event that the head of mission is unable to notify the appointment prior to his or her departure from Canada, whether such departure is temporary or permanent, the Department expects that the notification will be addressed from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the sending State to either the Department or the Canadian Embassy accredited to the sending State.

Similarly, should a duly appointed chargé d’affaires, a.i. be required to leave the country for any reason, he or she cannot appoint anyone else as chargé. The appointment of a chargé under these circumstances must be in the form of a Note from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country concerned addressed to the Department or the Canadian Embassy accredited to the sending State.

As only members of the diplomatic staff can be appointed chargé d’affaires, a.i., the Department will not accept the appointment of a consular officer based outside the National Capital Region (NCR) as chargé d’affaires, a.i. unless he or she effectively moves to the NCR during the appointment period and holds a diplomatic rank by appointment from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the sending State.

The Department’s Office of Protocol is responsible for ensuring the validity of each Note received dealing with the appointment of a chargé d’affaires, a.i. and for recording all absences of heads of mission. All queries regarding this policy should be directed to the Manager, Accreditation and Registrar, Diplomatic Corps Services, at 613-944-0096.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (Office of Protocol) avails itself of this opportunity to renew to Their Excellencies the Heads of Diplomatic Missions and Chargés d’affaires, a.i. accredited to Canada, the assurances of its highest consideration.

OTTAWA, January 6, 2011


1 Chargés d’affaires accredited to Ministers for Foreign Affairs, a class of heads of mission pursuant to Article 14(1)(c) of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, are also referred to as Chargés d'affaires en pied.

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Date Modified:
2012-10-15