Just as there are various types of legal documents that can be filed with the court in Canada, there are several different types of individuals available to certify these documents. Two of the most common types of individuals called upon to certify legal documents are a Commissioner of Oaths and a Notary Public.
While you might think that these two are interchangeable, there are some key differences when it comes to the rights of each office. Here are 3 questions you can ask yourself to determine whether you need a Commissioner of Oaths or a Notary Public in the future:
1. Where will I be filing my legal document?
The Commissioner of Oaths is appointed by a provincial official, which limits their scope of power to the province in which they were appointed. If you are drafting a legal document that will be certified and filed in the same province, then a Commissioner of Oaths will suffice.
Documents that will be filed in another province, or with a court in the United States, must be signed by a Notary Public in order to become valid. When you understand the limited scope of power than a Commissioner of Oaths possesses, you will be better able to determine if the services of a Notary Public are required instead.
2. What type of document am I trying to certify?
Just as the Commissioner of Oath's scope of power is limited to his or her appointing province, these officials cannot certify certain types of legal documents. If you are attempting to file an oath, affidavit, or statutory declaration, then a Commissioner of Oaths has the authority to certify your document.
If you need to certify a copy of an original document as valid, execute a contract, or file an official deed, then a Notary Public must sign your document in order to make it valid. Identifying the type of legal document you are trying to file will help you determine whether you should contact a Commissioner of Oaths, or a Notary Public.
3. Do I need advice when it comes to the content of my legal document?
A Notary Public is considered a legal professional, and this gives them the right to advise the public on real estate law, business law, financial planning, or family law matters. If you are unsure whether or not your document is correct, then you must see a Notary Public.
The Commissioner of Oaths does not have the authority to dispense legal advice, so you will be unable to obtain help when it comes to the content of your document if you visit one of these officials in the future.
Although a Commissioner of Oaths and a Notary Public share some common privileges, there is a great deal of separation between these two offices. Understanding the differences between these two offices will help you better utilize their services in the future.