What is JLAC and what does it have to do with a Canadian apostille?

Published on Tuesday, August 13, 2019

If you have researched the Canadian apostille process you probably have seen the term “JLAC”. JLAC seems important to the apostille process, but how? This article answers the questions we frequently hear about JLAC from our clients. We also do a quick review of the Canadian apostille process, to help explain how JLAC fits in.

About the Canadian apostille process

The Canadian apostille process is used when you have a Canadian document that you need to have officially recognized in another country. The apostille process confirms the authenticity of this document, so that it will be accepted as legitimate outside of Canada.

There are three steps to the Canadian apostille process:

Step 1 – Preparing your document for processing. This step may require having your document notarized, having a certified true copy made, having the document translated by a certified translator if it is not in English or French, and preparing supporting documents.

Step 2 – Authenticating your document at Global Affairs Canada. Your prepared document then needs to be submitted to Global Affairs Canada in Ottawa. If satisfied that your document meets their requirements, Global Affairs Canada will place a large red stamp directly on your document, confirming that it has been authenticated.

Step 3 – Legalizing your document at the appropriate embassy or consulate. After your document is authenticated at Global Affairs Canada it needs to be submitted to the embassy or consulate of the country in which you will be presenting your document. The consular staff will ensure your document meets their specific requirements and then will place a stamp or sticker directly on your document. Your document is now legalized, and will be officially recognized in this country.

What is JLAC?

JLAC is the section within Global Affairs Canada that has been tasked with authenticating Canadian documents. When submitting documents to Global Affairs Canada it is the JLAC section that will actually be processing your documents. The name “JLAC” does not mean anything specific. Rather, these four letters are a departmental identifier (kind of like an address) that are now commonly used as the name of the section. The official name of the JLAC section is the “Authentication Services Section”.

What does JLAC have to do with a Canadian apostille?

JLAC is where Canadian documents are submitted for authentication (Step 2 above). Documents can be submitted by mail or in person. When documents are submitted by mail, JLAC will typically process them within 3 – 5 weeks, assuming all is in order. When documents are submitted in person, JLAC will process them on the spot, again assuming everything is in order.

What JLAC is doing is ensuring that the signature on your document is authentic. If your document was issued by a public agency JLAC will usually have a record of the signature of the signing official on file. Documents in this category include birth certificates and RCMP certified criminal record checks. If your document was not issued by a public agency you will first need to have the signature on the document notarized by a notary public before submitting it to JLAC. JLAC has a copy of the signature of all notary publics in good standing in Canada. To authenticate your notarized document JLAC will compare the signature of the notary public to the signature they have on file. If the signatures match then JLAC will place a large red stamp directly on your document, authenticating that the signatures are legitimate.

More info on JLAC

The address to submit documents in person to JLAC for processing is:

JLAC- Authentication Services Section
111 Sussex Drive, First Floor
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1N 1J1

The hours for submitting documents in person to JLAC are Monday to Thursday from 10 am until noon, and from 2 pm to 3 pm in the afternoon.

The address for JLAC for mail-ins is:

Global Affairs Canada
Authentication Services Section (JLAC)
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, ON Canada
K1A 0G2

Where can I find more information?

Visit the Global Affairs Canada website for information on document authentication.

Our company specializes in providing expert apostille services, and we process many thousands of documents through Global Affairs Canada on behalf of our clients every year. Our website has a wealth of information on the Canadian apostille process. Or better yet, our friendly staff is available to discuss your specific situation. Our experts will explain the Canadian apostille process to you, answer your questions and clearly outline your options. No pressure and no obligation. Phone us toll-free at 1-888-433-1011, or fill out our quick form and we’ll get right back to you.