[vocabulary watch: 'bleg' - a request (beg) for information delivered by blog]
Does anyone know of any instance where any body in Canada – private or public – asks that foreign public documents be legalized before being accepted for use here? (Legalization is a method of authenticating a foreign public document by consular officials of the country in which it is to be used. Public documents can include birth certificates and other personal status documents, school or unversity transcripts, and much else that is issued by a public authority of some kind.)
So far as I know, no one in Canada asks for legalization. That’s not how our rules of evidence work. However, I also know that some Canadian consulates abroad purport to offer legalization services for documents bound to Canada – though I do not know what client base they think they have for such services.
It matters because if Canada becomes a party to the Hague Apostille Convention (known formally as the Convention on the abolition of all forms of legalization), then it will be contrary to the Convention for anyone in Canada to ask for legalization. Instead, people here have to accept an apostille under the Convention as sufficient authentication of the documents in question. (I have written previously about the Convention on Slaw.)
If no one in Canada asks for legalization now, we can accede to the Convention based on administrative agreements among federal/provincial/territorial governments to issue apostilles under certain circumstances. But if someone does require legalization now, then we may have to legislate to ban it and to insist that an apostille will suffice. We at least have to have some frank discussions with the organizations in question. But first we have to find them – if they exist. Thus this bleg.
The Canadian Bar Association has urged the federal, provincial and territorial governments of Canada to do what is needed to ratify the Apostille Convention. The CBA says the Convention would save a lot of Canadians – individuals and businesses – a lot of time and money in dealing with foreign countries.
A number of Canadian governments are increasingly frequently asked to issue apostilles because Canadians are told in foreign countries that they need them – but we can’t issue them until we join the Convention.
Getting a firm fix on what is happening now is part of what is needed.
We would appreciate your help.