04/15/2014 23:24 EDT | Updated 06/15/2014 05:59 EDT

Government document retrieving websites risky: business bureau

Canadians are being warned to avoid online businesses that claim to be able to get you government documents, like birth certificates, fast.

The CBC’s Aaron Saltzman looked into one website called the Civil Processing Bureau (its URL is that says it can get documents, like birth certificates, without you having to go wait in line at a government building.

Saltzman spoke to one Ontario grandmother who said she thought the site — which uses official provincial forms — was an actual government site. After she applied for her granddaughter’s birth certificate online and paid $200, she said she never received it.

That’s because in Ontario, unlike some provinces like B.C., third parties cannot apply for official documents.

The BBB has received over 20 complaints about the Civil Processing Bureau and another similar website.

“Basically all they’re doing is forwarding whatever information you give to them directly to the government at a fee that’s approximately twice what the government would charge you directly,” said Ric Borski of the Better Business Bureau.

Service Ontario — the government agency responsible for documents like birth certificates — has sent it a cease and desist letter.

Websites like the Civil Processing Bureau are also concerning, Saltzman reported, because it’s unclear what is happening with people’s personal data. He spoke with the man behind the Civil Processing Bureau, who said he deletes the information as soon as he submits it to the government.

See the rest of Saltzman’s story by clicking on the video above.