What is a Notary Public?
What is the difference between a notary public and a commissioner of oaths?
A commissioner for taking affidavits (also called a commissioner of oaths) only has authority to administer oaths and take affidavits. The authority is given under the Commissioner for Taking Affidavits Act. A notary public has much broader authority.
A notary public can “notarize” copies of documents (verify as a true copy). Under section 3 of the Notaries Act, they can also:
“…exercise the power of drawing, passing, keeping and issuing all deeds and contracts, charter-parties and other mercantile transactions in Ontario, and also attesting of all commercial instruments…”.
Barristers and solicitors in Ontario are automatically commissioners for taking affidavits. They also have the automatic right to be notaries public; however, in order to exercise the notary public function they must apply for and obtain a notary public seal.
How do you Apostille documents in Canada?
You cannot apostille documents in Canada. Canada is not a member to the international treaty that allows for the apostilling of documents. The alternative to apostilling documents in Canada is a three step process.
- Getting the document notarized with a notary public.
- Getting the Notary Public’s seal authenticated.
- Taking the document to the consulate general or embassy for the country that you need it for and getting it legalized.
Do I need to be present for the notary public to make a certified copy?
Not you, but your document does. When making and certifying copies of an original document, the notary public only needs to see the original of the document being certified. You can make arrangements with us to have your documents sent to us.
What is a certified or notarized copy?
A notarized copy is a photocopy of an original document that has been certified by a notary public to be a true and accurate copy of the original document. A notarized copy is sometimes referred to as a certified copy.
What is an oath or solemn declaration?
An oath is when a person swears that a statement is true and correct. A solemn declaration is when a person solemnly declares that a statement is true and correct. An oath and a solemn declaration have essentially the same legal effect.
The person making the oath or solemn declaration is called a deponent. The act of administering an oath or solemn declaration is called commissioning an oath.
It is not necessary that the deponent hold a religious book, or raise his/her hand to undertake an oath or solemn declaration.
A person may be prosecuted criminally for knowingly making a false oath or solemn declaration.
How does a notary public commission an oath or solemn declaration?
- A notary public will verify the identity of the deponent (usually by examining photographic identification);
- The notary public will then verify that the deponent has read and understands the document being commissioned.
- The deponent will then affirm or swear that the contents of the document are true and correct.
- The deponent will then sign the document in front of the notary public.
- The notary public will then sign the document, seal the document, and certify on the document that an oath or solemn declaration has been duly commissioned.
A notary public does not certify that the statement being made is true. Rather, a notary public only certifies that an oath or solemn declaration has been administered (commissioned).
No legal advice is given during a commissioning of an oath. In most cases, a notary public will not need to read the document being commissioned.
When attending the notary public’s office the document being commissioned should be complete. The document should be read and understood by the deponent. The deponent should not sign the document being commissioned until the commissioning.
Does the oath or solemn declaration have to be commissioned in person?
Yes but not always. Usually a deponent must take an oath or solemn declaration in front of a person, such as a notary public, who is qualified to take oaths. In light of pandemic shutdowns some jurisdictions, including Ontario, have allowed for commissioning of oaths to be performed via video conference.
Notarizations over the telephone are not permitted.
Certifying copies of documents can be accomplished through mail or courier, but not by video conference.
Can a notary public witness a private agreement?
What identification do I need to bring for notarization?
For notarization, you will need to provide valid, government-issued photo identification. Examples of acceptable identification include a driver’s license, passport, or other government-issued ID card. Expired identification will not be accepted.
Can a notary public refuse to notarize a document?
Yes. A notary public can refuse to notarize a document if they have reason to believe the signer does not understand the document, is being coerced, or if the signer’s identification cannot be verified. Additionally, if the document appears to be fraudulent, incomplete, or if the notary public is not qualified to notarize the specific type of document, they may also refuse to notarize it.
Can a notary public provide legal advice?
No. A notary public is different than a lawyer and is not authorized to provide legal advice or draft legal documents. Their primary function is to authenticate signatures and documents, and administer oaths and affirmations. If you require legal advice, you should consult with a licensed lawyer.
How long is a notary public’s commission valid?
The duration of a notary public’s commission varies depending on the jurisdiction. In some areas, a notary public’s commission may be valid for a specific number of years, while in others, it may be for life. It is important to check with your local notary public or the governing body responsible for notary public commissions in your jurisdiction to determine the validity of a notary public’s commission. Generally speaking, lawyers in Ontario that are appointed as notaries public are appointed for life.
What are the fees for notary public services?
Fees for notary public services vary by notary public and the type of service provided. It is best to check with your local notary public for their specific fee schedule. Some notaries may charge a flat fee per document, while others may charge based on the number of signatures or other factors.
Can a notary public notarize a document in a foreign language?
A notary public may be able to notarize a document in a foreign language if they are fluent in that language and can understand the document’s content. If the notary public is not fluent in the language of the document, they may still be able to notarize it if a certified translation is provided alongside the original document. However, it is always best to consult with your local notary public to determine their ability and willingness to notarize a foreign language document.
Can a notary public notarize a document for a family member?
It is generally not recommended for a notary public to notarize documents for close family members, as it may create a conflict of interest or the appearance of impropriety. However, regulations regarding notarizing for family members vary by jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions may expressly prohibit notarizing for certain relatives, while others may allow it under specific circumstances. It is best to consult your local laws and regulations or seek an impartial notary public to avoid any potential issues.
What is a mobile notary, and how do they differ from a regular notary public?
A mobile notary is a notary public who travels to the location of their client to provide notary services. They offer convenience for clients who may have difficulty traveling to a notary public’s office or who need notary services outside of regular business hours. Mobile notaries perform the same functions as a regular notary public and must adhere to the same rules and regulations. However, they may charge additional fees for travel and convenience.
What is a notary public’s liability?
A notary public can be held liable for any damages resulting from negligence, misconduct, or fraud in the performance of their duties. This may include, but is not limited to, notarizing a document without properly verifying the identity of the signer, or knowingly participating in fraudulent transactions.
What is virtual comissioning or e-notary?
An electronic notary, or e-notary, is a notary public who is authorized to notarize documents electronically. This involves the use of digital signatures, electronic notary seals, and secure technology platforms to complete the notarization process. E-notarization is becoming more common as technology advances and is accepted in many jurisdictions. However, the specific requirements and regulations for electronic notaries vary by jurisdiction, and not all types of documents can be notarized electronically.
Can a notary public refuse to notarize a document if the signer does not speak English?
A notary public may refuse to notarize a document if they cannot effectively communicate with the signer to ensure that they understand the contents of the document and are signing voluntarily. If a signer does not speak English, it may be necessary to use an interpreter or find a notary public who is fluent in the signer’s language. However, the notary public must be cautious in these situations and ensure that the interpreter is impartial and accurately conveying information between the signer and the notary public.
What is a jurat, and how is it different from an acknowledgment?
A jurat is a type of notarial act in which the signer swears or affirms under oath that the contents of a document are true and accurate. The notary public administers the oath or affirmation and witnesses the signer’s signature on the document. In contrast, an acknowledgment is a notarial act in which the signer acknowledges that they have voluntarily signed the document for its intended purpose. In an acknowledgment, the notary public verifies the signer’s identity but does not administer an oath or affirmation.
What is a power of attorney, and can a notary public prepare one?
A power of attorney is a legal document that grants one person (the agent or attorney-in-fact) the authority to act on behalf of another person (the principal) in various matters, such as financial transactions or healthcare decisions. A notary public is not authorized to draft or prepare legal documents, including powers of attorney. If you need a power of attorney, it is recommended to consult with a licensed lawyer who can provide legal advice and ensure that the document is prepared correctly. Many of the notaries public listed on TorontoNotary.com are also lawyer who can prepare such documents.
Can a notary public notarize their own signature or documents?
No. A notary public is prohibited from notarizing their own signature or any documents in which they have a personal interest or stand to benefit. Doing so would represent a conflict of interest and is considered a breach of notary public duties.
What is the difference between a notary public and a civil law notary?
A notary public is a public officer authorized to perform specific notarial acts, such as administering oaths, witnessing signatures, and certifying true copies of documents. In common law jurisdictions, like the United States and Canada, notary publics have limited legal authority and do not provide legal advice or draft legal documents.
A civil law notary, on the other hand, is a legal professional in civil law jurisdictions, such as most European and Latin American countries. They have a more extensive scope of authority and may draft legal documents, provide legal advice, and represent clients in certain legal matters. The education and training requirements for civil law notaries are often more rigorous than those for notaries public.
What is a notary public seal, and why is it important?
A notary public seal is a stamp or embosser used by a notary public to authenticate notarial acts. The seal typically includes the notary public’s name, jurisdiction, commission expiration date (if applicable), and an identifying number. The use of a notary public seal is important because it serves as an official mark of the notary public’s authority and helps deter fraud. In many jurisdictions, the use of a notary public seal is required by law for certain notarial acts, and the absence of a seal may render the notarization invalid. In Ontario, a seal is not required to notarize a document.
Can a notary public in Ontario notarize a document for use in another province or country?
A notary public in Ontario can notarize documents intended for use in another province or country. However, the receiving jurisdiction may have additional requirements, such as authentication or legalization, to ensure that the document is recognized as valid. It is important to consult the laws and regulations of the receiving jurisdiction or consult with a local attorney or the relevant consulate or embassy to determine any additional steps required for the notarized document to be accepted.
How do I find a notary public near me?
You may use the Find a Notary Public Near Me feature on this site. Additionally, you can ask for recommendations from friends, family, or colleagues, or contact your local law society or legal aid office for a referral.
What is the role of a notary public in witnessing a will in Ontario?
A notary public in Ontario can serve as a witness for the signing of a will, ensuring that the testator (the person making the will) is of sound mind and signing the document voluntarily. The notary public’s role in witnessing a will is to confirm the testator’s identity, ensure that they understand the contents of the will, and watch as the testator signs the document. The notary public may also be asked to sign the will as a witness, along with another witness as required by law.
It is important to note that while a notary public can witness a will, they cannot provide legal advice or draft the will. If you need assistance with creating a will or have questions about the legal requirements, it is recommended to consult with a licensed estate planning lawyer.
Can a notary public help with immigration documents in Ontario?
A notary public in Ontario can help with notarizing immigration documents, such as certifying true copies of passports, diplomas, or other required documents. However, a notary public is not authorized to provide legal advice on immigration matters or represent clients in immigration proceedings. If you need assistance with an immigration matter, it is recommended to consult with a licensed immigration lawyer or a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC).
What is a letter of invitation, and can a notary public in Ontario help with it?
A letter of invitation is a document used in certain immigration and visa applications where an individual in Canada invites a friend, family member, or business associate from another country to visit them. The letter typically includes information about the person being invited, the purpose and duration of the visit, details about the relationship between the inviter and invitee, and any financial arrangements for the visit.
A notary public in Ontario can help with notarizing the letter of invitation by verifying the identity of the person issuing the invitation and witnessing their signature on the document. The notary public may also be asked to certify that the letter of invitation is a true and accurate representation of the inviter’s intentions. While a notary public can help with notarizing the letter of invitation, they cannot provide legal advice on immigration matters or draft the letter on your behalf.
Can a notary public in Ontario help with travel consent letters for minors?
Yes, a notary public in Ontario can help with notarizing travel consent letters for minors. A travel consent letter is a document that grants permission for a minor to travel without one or both parents or legal guardians, usually for vacation or other temporary purposes. The letter typically includes information about the minor, the parents or guardians, the trip details, and contact information for the accompanying adult(s).
A notary public in Ontario can help by witnessing the signature(s) of the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) on the travel consent letter and notarizing the document. This process helps to confirm the identity of the signing parent(s) or guardian(s) and ensures that the document meets the requirements of airlines, border officials, or other authorities. While a notary public can help with notarizing the travel consent letter, they cannot provide legal advice or draft the letter on your behalf.
What happens if I lose my notarized document?
If you lose a notarized document, you may need to obtain a new original document and have it notarized again. A notary public in Ontario is required to maintain a record of all notarial acts they perform, but they do not typically keep copies of the notarized documents themselves. In some cases, a notary public may be able to provide a statement or affidavit confirming the previous notarization, but this may not be sufficient for all purposes.
It is important to keep notarized documents in a safe and secure location to prevent loss or damage. If you need a replacement notarized document, you should contact the original issuer of the document and the notary public who performed the notarization to discuss your options.
Can a notary public in Ontario help with affidavits and statutory declarations?
Yes, a notary public in Ontario can help with affidavits and statutory declarations. An affidavit is a written statement of facts made under oath, while a statutory declaration is a written statement of facts made under a solemn declaration. Both affidavits and statutory declarations are used for various legal purposes, such as court proceedings, insurance claims, or government applications.
A notary public in Ontario can help by administering the oath or solemn declaration, verifying the identity of the person making the statement (called the deponent or declarant), and witnessing the signing of the document. The notary public will then sign, seal, and certify that the affidavit or statutory declaration has been duly executed. While a notary public can help with the notarization process, they cannot provide legal advice or draft the affidavit or statutory declaration on your behalf.