A Complete Guide To International Service in Canada

Process Serving In Canada

Although the US has a close relationship with our neighbor to the north, process service to Canada is still “international.” As with any foreign country, you must follow specific rules in order to effect service properly.

Canada is a part of The Hague Convention. Each jurisdiction has its own rules for service, so everything depends on the individual jurisdiction. The Hague Convention allows us to request a foreign nation to serve an individual or business located in their country.

The Hague Convention also works in reverse: a Canadian person or company can serve a defendant that is located in the US.

How It Works

Comply with the Hague protocols. Ensure all documentation is prepared and gathered correctly. Some Hague forms will need to be signed by a lawyer, a court official, or someone who is commissioned by the court. Non-lawyers cannot sign the Hague forms.

When completed, you’ll need to send it to the appropriate Central Authority (Canada Has 13 C.A’s) in the province or territory where your defendant is located. Depending on the location, the documents may be required to be translated into French Canadian.

Service In Québec
Even though it’s part of Canada, if your defendant is to be served here, it’s still different, since it’s not a common-law province.

  • Canada’s declaration to Article 5(3) states that all documents must be translated into French, the official language of Québec, even if the recipient’s first language is English. This includes the summons and the complaint.

Why the difference? Québec was a French outpost until the British took over in the 1760’s. Its laws are based on civil law, not common, and French is still the predominant language. When submitting documentation to the Québec central authority, everything must be translated into French Canadian, or it will be refused and returned. Translation to French Canadian is required even if the defendant speaks and understands English perfectly.

Alternative Service (Get Service Done In A Week?!)

Yes, that’s right! we can assist in getting your documents served extremely fast.

There are a few forms of service allowed under The Hague Service Convention, Article 5 and Article 10, both of which are permitted throughout Canada. Article 5, is the formal method explained above but Article 10, allows us to use a certified agent to serve your documents directly! We have over 600+ certified agents worldwide, that can deliver documents directly to your defendants, so please give us a call, and we can provide you a quote.


  • Typically, Cheaper Than Formal Method
  • Much Faster Turnaround Time (1-2 Weeks, Compared to 1-3 Months for Formal Method)
  • No Translation Required (If Defendant Speaks English & Is Located In Québec you Don’t Have To Translate)


  • If you are seeking a monetary judgment then, we typically don’t recommend going through this route. This is the informal method which why it’s only recommended to clients who don’t expect the opposing counsel or Judge to question the validity of the service.

Certified Legal Translation

Even if you’re serving someone in the English-speaking part of Canada, you must still make sure that the documentation is in a language they understand. That means if your Canadian defendant is, say, Japanese, you may be required to serve papers translated into Japanese as well as English.

But because French is the official language of Québec, all documents must be translated accordingly, no matter the primary language of the recipient.

A legal translation is more than just taking documents written into English and turning them into French (or other language as required.) It’s the process of translating a type of documents, whether legal, medical, engineering, or other type of specialty documents into a second language and ensuring that it’s correct. Our certified legal translators are experts that handle specific types of documents and can translate them accordingly.

By Legal Pros. For Legal Pros

Do you or your firm need to serve someone in Canada, in another city, or right in your city? Judicial Process and Support is ready to help no matter where you need service of process. Based in Miami, we work with clients worldwide to ensure that your process service is completed in accordance with the state or country’s requirements.

International Service of process is important in any case, so don’t risk a refusal and return. Make sure that your service is correctly carried out, no matter where the other party resides. You can call us today at 1-800-852-5002, or email us at Global@JudicialSupport.com. We’re happy to answer all your questions and get you the services you need quickly.

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