What to do if I have a document to be used in China or in Hong Kong? What is notarization, authentication and legalization?

Globalization leads a growing number of people moving to Canada from all over the world. We can also find significant number of newcomers coming from China and Hong Kong recently, which further strengthen the well and long established Chinese Community in Manitoba.

Be that as newcomers, settled immigrants, second or third generation of immigrants or simply a Canadian, you may have legal matter to deal with or documents required to be used in China or Hong Kong. Appointing a Power of Attorney for disposing your property in China or Hong Kong SAR? Having Manitoba Death Certificate to obtain a Grant of Probate in Hong Kong? Notarizing a Statutory Declaration or commercial documents for use in China or Hong Kong. We, PKF Lawyers can definitely provide assistance to you.

If you have a legal document to be used out of Manitoba or even out of Canada, you may need the same to be notarized by a Notary Public.  A Notary Public has all the powers of a commissioner for oaths, i.e. to administer and witness the swearing of oaths, take and receive affidavits, statutory declarations and affirmations. A Notary Public can also verify that signatures, marks and copies of documents are true or genuine. A Notary Public is frequently asked to make a notarial copy of a document for official purposes.

Commissioner for Oaths and Notary Public Office of Manitoba administers authentication for Manitoba which provides Authentication Certificate that certifies a Notary Public’s signature and seal on a Canadian document are genuine to send abroad. However, it is often advised that you have to ensure that an embassy or consulate will accept the documents in the format you require and also not all documents would be issued with an Authentication Certificate. An example is documents to be used in Hong Kong. To obtain an authentication of Canadian documents for use in Hong Kong, you will have to contact the Authentication Services Section of Global Affairs Canada in Ottawa.

Oftentimes, people may be confused and under the impression that no further legalization of an authenticated document is required before the document to be used overseas. That is generally true if the country or region issuing the document and the country or region where the document to be used are both members to the 1961 Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement for Legalization for Foreign Public Documents. This convention replaced legalization, in member states, as the default procedure with a system of apostille. Apostille is widely accepted and recognized by 120 countries or region around the world. However, Canada is not a member to this Convention and Canadian documents may not be recognized just after being authenticated. Legalization is still required.

For documents to be used in China, legalization will be submitted to the Chinese Consulate in Toronto which looks after all consular authentication applications from Ontario and Manitoba.  If all or part of your document is written in a language other than Chinese, a certified/ notarized translation may be required and attached to document depending on your local requirement.

For documents to be used in Hong Kong, having similar jurisdictional requirement, Chinese Consulate in Toronto does not look after consular applications for documents authenticated by the Global Affairs Canada. In the circumstances, legalization of authenticated documents for use in Hong Kong shall be submitted to Embassy of China in Ottawa.

Having documents to be used in China or Hong Kong is not a straight – forward process. Elaine Chan is a Notary Public in and for the Province of Manitoba and having dual practicing status as Manitoba Lawyer and Hong Kong Solicitor. She has been providing this nature of services for many years and working closely with Commissioner for Oaths and Notary Public Office of Manitoba and the respective Consulate or Embassy offices.

If you need notarization, authentication and legalization of documents for use in China or Hong Kong; or if you want to make further enquiries on legalization of your documents for use in China or Hong Kong, you can call 1-204-956-0490 or email to for further assistance.


Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice. Please contact Elaine Chan of PKF Lawyers for legal advice.