Notary Public (Ontario)
Notary Public is simply someone designated as such to give official recognition to certain government or private transactions or documents. As always, we start with the enabling legislation – in this case, the Notaries Act. That Act says that an Ontario Barrister and Solicitor can automatically become a Notary Public. After getting called to the Bar, I simply had to get an embosser, fill out a form, and pay a one-time fee ($145) to the Ontario government.
Everyone else who wishes to become a Notary Public must apply. To become a Public Notary (in case you are not a lawyer), you need to be Canadian citizen. You also need to be available for examination and re-examination in regard to his or her qualification for the office of Notary Public by a judge of the Superior Court of Justice (in the area in which he or she resides). The latter must find that the applicant is qualified for the office and is needed for the public convenience in the place where the applicant resides and intends to carry on business. This is all covered under s. 2 of the Act. Finally, that person must obtain an embosser (about $60) and pay a one-time fee to the Ontario government ($110).
The power of the Notary Public is set out in ss. 2(2) and 3 of the Act. Generally, if the Notary Public is not a lawyer, then he or she may have restrictions imposed upon them.
Some of the types of transactions and documents which a Notary Public can assist you with includes:
- Administering or commissioning oaths
- Taking affidavits, affirmations, acknowledgments, or declarations
- Certifying documents as true copies
- Assisting with certain immigration documents (e.g. passport application, permanent residence card application, consent to travel documentation, etc.).
Section 5 of the Act provides that a Notary Public need not affix their seal to an oath, affidavit or declaration for it to be valid.
Overall, a Notary Public has the same powers as a Commissioner for taking Affidavits, but can actually do more things (e.g. by certifying true copies of original documents used in private commercial transactions).