In Person or Remote Notary
and Commissioning Services
Harry is a Commissioner for taking oaths and affidavits, and a Notary Public in Ontario. With COVID-19 came new processes for verifying documents in Ontario. For the first time, remote, virtual commissioning and notarizing services are permitted providing that the rules are followed. However, there is no requirement for a Notary or Commissioner to provide services remotely, nor is there a requirement for the receiving party to accept a document that was remotely commissioned or notarized. For instance, at our office we will not do virtual certification of true copies virtually.
Remote commissioning still follows the same authentication and signature requirements for taking affidavits, but the actual procedure is done through the use of audio-visual technology instead of in person. For example, a paralegal could meet with a client through video conference to witness the client signing the legal document. Once done, the client would send their signed document(s) to the paralegal to sign as commissioner.
People will often confuse having a document notarized and having a document commissioned. Understanding the difference between a notary public and a commissioner for taking oaths can be confusing. This misunderstanding can lead to spending money needlessly, and encountering delays in completing documents.
The Commissioners for taking Affidavits Act in Ontario allows for people to be appointed to be a commissioner for oaths. A commissioner for oaths is able to take and receive affidavits, affirmations and declarations in and for Ontario. Notaries public are governed by the Notaries Act.
The main difference between a notary public and a commissioner for oaths is where a document is to be used as well as what a person needs. For a simple taking of an oath, both a notary and commissioner are acceptable if for use and made in Ontario. Once outside the province, a notary is required. A Notary Public is also able to verify that signatures, marks and copies of documents are true and genuine.
Another difference between a notary public and a commissioner for oaths is that a notary can also commission contracts and agreements, and only a notary can make a certified true copy of a document, attest an oath or certify the execution of a document.
Finally, a commissioner or notary is not there to provide legal advice with respect to a document, or verify the truthfulness of the contents of a document. People wishing to get independent legal advice should consult with a lawyer or paralegal.