Hague Convention – Intercountry adoptions

As a country that ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991, Canada is committed to making sure that the best interests of the child is the top priority in all domestic and international adoptions.

Canada is a party to the Hague Convention of 29 May 1993 on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoptions. The Hague Convention aims to protect children and their families against the risks of illegal, irregular, premature or ill-prepared adoptions abroad.

To do this, the Hague Convention puts:

  • safeguards in place to make sure that all intercountry adoptions are in the best interests of the child and respects their human rights,
  • a system in place of cooperation among countries to guarantee that these safeguards are respected, and to prevent the abduction, the sale of, or traffic in children.

Adoption is a handled by the provinces. All of Canada’s provinces and territories have laws implementing the Hague Convention and Central Authorities.

What you need to know about international adoptions and the Hague Convention

  • Whether or not a child’s country of origin is a party, the provincial and federal governments in Canada follow the principles of the Hague Convention as much as possible.
  • The adoption authorities in your province or territory manage each adoption file. They can explain the rules you need to follow under the Hague Convention and for adoptions from a country that is not a party to the Convention. Find an intercountry adoption authority in Canada.
  • For Hague adoptions, the Convention states that the authorities in both countries agree to go ahead with the adoption as per the Convention. For non-Hague adoptions, requirements may vary from one country to another.
  • The Hague Convention forbids private adoptions in the child's home country.
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