Well, I feel alot better informed now. It's a shame the consulate of Ecuador in Toronto couldn't have explained things to me. Last year, when I needed to get my degree and TESL legalized by the consulate of Mexico, they gave me a written list of exactly what to do. I took the documents to a notary public to have the copies notarized, took them down the street to an Ontario government office to have them authenticated by the government and then took them over to the Mexican consulate where I left them for a couple of days and got what I thought was called an "apostille". This assumption of mine about what an "apostille" actually is is actually the main source of my confustion.( I might mention here that, in fact, I never even got my work visa in Mexico. I was starting the process of it over there when I left my job and took on casual work while on a tourist visa. In Mexico, tourists can stay for six months and renew. I renewed by doing a visa run in Belize.)
So, back to the Ecuador situation. My employer had originally sent me a link to the Government of Canada website under the section of Authenticating Documents.http://international.gc.ca/about-a_propos/authentication-authentification_documents.aspx?lang=eng#A1
On the site, it says that the process takes seven weeks. Seven weeks!!!! It also mentions that if you show up in person, they can do it for you while you wait. Ottawa is five hours away, so at first I tried to think of ways around this. I decided to check with consulate to see if that was actually what I needed to do.
I asked the Ecuador consulate if that's what I needed. They said that it wasn't. They said that y ou only do this if your documents are from a country other than Canada. They said only the Ecuadorian consulate could legalize them. (This information was not accurate at all, as I would later discover)So- I figured the process would be something like what I did for Mexico. I figured I would go to a notary public, get whatever copies notarized and bring them to the consulate to be legalized.
The only problem at that point was figuring out whether the translations had to be legalized along with the originals. I also was still unsure about whether I needed a police clearance check legalized and my son's birth cert. legalized.
I finally found the website for the Embassy of Ecuador in Ottawa. I had been vainly searching online for it for days. Here is the link: http://www.embassyecuador.ca/english/index.php . So, finally, I could see exactly which documents I would need to get legalized. Yes- if you have a dependent with you, a child or a spouse, you must get the birth certificate (or marriage certificate if it is your spouse) legalized. You also need a police check, although it did not say that this needs to be legalized. Also, of course, your diploma/degree pertaining to the work you will be doing.
In an email with my employer, she mentioned that I must make sure to get an apostille for my TEsL and then to get it legalized at the consulate. This really confused me alot because my understanding of "apostille" was that it was what the consulate gave you. Now, I realized the the apostille is actually something from the home government, not the consulate as I had thought.
In a fit of inspiration, I remembered reading in Alix's post, something about her typing in a google search of "apostille services in the UK", so following her lead, I typed in a search on "apostille services in Canada". Well, it turns out that "apostille" is not even the correct term in Canada because the Canadian government does not do apostilles. Canada did not sign the Hague Apostille Convention. Anyway, though it doesn't really matter, it just means that "apostille" here means "authentication"- okay, same diff, I know.
What I did find, and it really threw me off for a while- was that companies of notary publics offer the services of doing the whole legalization and authentication for you. I wanted to get my police clearance check, my son's birth certificate and my TESL. So, they give you a quote, including notarization fees, rush delivery to Ottawa, some other fee, and in the end, the quote came to something like 600 dollar! !!!!! Hmmmmm. Okay, I do accept that I will be working for four dollars an hour and I am willing to do that for all sorts of reasons- ie. being in beautiful Ecuador, being a part of a cultural experience, a low cost of living, etc. etc. etc. But to start paying mega bucks for the privelege of earning a meagre salary started to look less and less appealing.
I emailed my employer with my concerns and suggested that, perhaps I would forgo all these costs and see if I could simply renew my tourist visa one time, for a total stay of six months.
Then, in another fit of inspiration- I did what I should have done in the first place! I went back to the site she had sent me to begin with. I realized that the Canadian Government authentication services are free. Since I don't have seven weeks to wait, I can go to Ottawa and do it in person. My son's birth certificate (long form) does not have to be notarized first, so that gets rid of that expense. The police check and TESL certificate will have to be notarized first, so should be a little over twenty bucks.These notary public firms are really despicable, in my opinion- making people believe that we should pay them hundreds of dollars for something we could do ourselves. This is big lesson for me! It's like, everyone talks about corruption in Latin America- we can see it on our own front door steps even in first-world countries!
I quickly emailed back my employer to tell her "wait! Hold the phone! I see my mistake now!". I then looked into train tickets to Ottawa and decided to combine it with a trip to Montreal (an hour and a half away from Ottawa) to visit my brother and his family.
This morning, I received an email from my employer in response to my first frantic email. She was very confused by the costs I was talking about. She is probably so sick of me by now! Anyway, she said that if I only come for six months I can't teach at the colegio and will have to find alternative schooling for my son who is supposed to go there at a discounted fee. She also assured me that she can do the translations for me, so I can also save money there.
Anyway, it seems that I have walked miles in the wrong direction to arrive at a point quite close. I sincerely hope that this post will be helpful to any Canadians who are trying to figure out the authentication and legalization process. Unless of course, this post is actually quite confusing and I sound like a madwoman! LOL
The great thing is that I feel alot more at ease about what I need to do.