The HCCH celebrates its 1000th treaty action – Canada accedes to the 1961 Apostille Convention

Today, 12 May 2023, Canada deposited its instrument of accession to the Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents (1961 Apostille Convention).

This accession marks a historical milestone: it is the 1000th treaty action relating to an HCCH Convention or Protocol (ratification, accession, approval or other instance in which one of the HCCH Conventions or Protocols is about to be brought into effect in a State or other Contracting Party). In light of its exceptional character, the ceremony was held at the Permanent Bureau in The Hague. Canada was represented amongst others by H.E. Ms Lisa Helfand, Ambassador of Canada to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and Mr Thomas Gagnon, Second Secretary at the Embassy of Canada to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, who attended in person, as well as by Ms Kathryn Sabo, Deputy Director General and General Counsel (International Private Law), and Ms Valérie Simard, Counsel, from the Department of Justice of Canada, Beatrice Maille, Minister-Counsellor (Social & Human Rights) and Legal Adviser at the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations, Ms Olivia Howard, Treaty Analyst at Global Affairs Canada, and Mr Diego Matteo, Manager at the Authentication Services Section of Global Affairs Canada.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, depositary of the HCCH Conventions, was represented by Mr Rieks Boekholt, Legal Officer at the Treaties Division, while the Permanent Bureau of the HCCH was represented by Dr Christophe Bernasconi, Secretary General, and Ms Melissa Ford, Secretary.

Since its establishment as a permanent organisation in 1955, each treaty action relating to an HCCH instrument has contributed to expanding and strengthening the international legal frameworks established by the HCCH, allowing more individuals and business entities to enjoy the benefits of its Conventions and other instruments, and ensuring greater universality and inclusiveness in steering and enriching the Organisation’s work and future direction.

To mark this significant moment, the Permanent Bureau of the HCCH screened an excerpt of a short documentary developed on occasion of the 1000th treaty action. The documentary is currently in the final stages of production and will be released later this month.

With the accession of Canada, the 1961 Apostille Convention now has 125 Contracting Parties. It will enter into force for Canada on 11 January 2024. More information on this Convention is available on the Apostille Section of the HCCH website. 

Canada has been a Member of the HCCH since 1968 and is now a Contracting Party to five HCCH Conventions.