Certifying and notarizing documents before their authentication

Before documents can be authenticated by the Government of Canada they need to be certified or notarized.

Authenticating a document is free. It proves that the signature, the position of an official and the seal on a certified document are genuine. Other jurisdictions or countries will recognize your authenticated document as a valid copy.

Authentication is also called legalization or apostille.

Complete list of documents that can be authenticated

The rules for certification of documents and who qualifies as a Canadian notary public change between provinces and territories.

The best way to find a Canadian notary public in your province or territory is to check listings for Canadian notary public.

Once you have your document notarized or certified return to this website.

What does notarized or certified mean?

Notarized or certified means that a Canadian notary public or commissioner for oaths has signed or put a seal on your document or on a separate certificate that they have prepared, signed and attached to it.

In doing so, they may, for example:

The notary public will advise you on what he/she is able to do to notarize or certify your document.

A commissioner for oaths may not be able to provide services in relation to documents intended to be used outside their province or territory of appointment.

A commissioner for oaths does not have the power to make certified copies.

Check with the commissioner for oaths about what they can do in relation to your document, or with the provincial or territorial authority responsible for regulating commissioners for oaths in their province or territory.

Definition of a notary

An impartial public official who can administer oaths and affirmations, take declarations, witness signatures, and certify copies of documents. A notary is independent and may not give legal advice.

*Please note: A Canadian notary public can also certify a translation to be true if they speak both languages. Should that be the case, please ensure they write on the document that they attest to speaking both languages and certify the translation to be true, accompanied by their signature and stamp.

Commissioner for oaths

A formal appointment or commission that provincial and territorial governments give to individuals empowering them to certify the oath of another for documents, such as affidavits.

Certified true copy

A photocopy of an original document produced and certified by a person authorized to do so.

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