Notarization of Canadian documents for the purpose of authentication and legalization, or apostille

Published on Friday, October 18, 2013

You have found out you need to authenticate and legalize your documents for use abroad. Now you need to determine whether your documents will first need to be notarized. For more information on the authentication and legalization process itself, you may check out this helpful article “What is authentication and legalization?

What is document notarization?

A Canadian document is notarized by having a Notary Public witness the signing of the document or attest to the legitimacy of a certified true copy. The Notary Public will place their signature and stamp on the document, certifying that the signature or copy has been verified.

Are there documents that do not need to be notarized before authentication and legalization?

Certain documents do not need to be notarized before the Department of Foreign Affairs will authenticate them. This list includes:

  • Original vital statistic issued documents, such as long-form birth, marriage, and death certificates;
  • Certified Criminal record checks issued by the RCMP headquarters in Ottawa;
  • Degrees or diplomas issued by an accredited educational institution, with the signature and seal of the office of the registrar clearly visible, including a full signature, name and title.

You may find more information on the Department of Foreign Affairs website.

Who can notarize documents?

A Notary Public has the authority to add their signature and stamp to a document, certifying its validity. Most lawyers are accredited as a Notary Public and may be easily found in your area.

Can I have my document signed by a Commissioner of Oaths?

For the purpose of document authentication at the Department of Foreign Affairs you may have your documents signed by a Commissioner of Oaths.

Can you have my documents notarized for me?

There are some circumstances in which we can have a document notarized on your behalf. For case specific inquiries about notarization and our services, please contact one of our experts.

What if I have further questions?

If you have more questions about document notarization and the authentication and legalization process, please feel free to contact us at International Documents Canada (IDC). We would be happy to discuss your particular needs and point you in the right direction.

Call us toll free at 1-888-433-1011 or visit us at