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The Difference Between a Commissioner of Oaths & a Public Notary Office in Ontario

Updated: Oct 17, 2023


A professional in formal attire writes on documents while holding a coffee mug.
A Person Working in an Office

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to authenticate a document or a signature in Ontario, you may come across the terms "commissioner of oaths" and "public notary office in Ontario." But what sets these two apart, and when should you seek their services? Here are the key distinctions between these roles and help you navigate your legal requirements effectively.

Commissioner of Oaths: Administering Affirmations

A commissioner of oaths is authorized to administer oaths or affirmations for people signing statutory declarations, affidavits, or affirmations. However, it's important to note that commissioners of oaths do not validate the accuracy of the information within the document. Their role is to ensure that the person signing the document swears or affirms its truth.

Commissioners of oaths can only handle documents intended for use within Ontario. A notary public is appropriate if your document needs to be utilized outside of Ontario.

Who Can Act as a Commissioner of Oaths?

Several professionals in Ontario can act as commissioners of oaths, including:

· Lawyers and paralegals

· Police officers

· Teachers

· Professional engineers

· University professors

· Service Ontario employees

For a comprehensive list of commissioners of oaths in Ontario, consult the government website.

Public Notary Office in Ontario: Versatile Legal Services

A public notary serves as a hub where you can access the services of a notary public for various legal requirements. A notary public possesses all the abilities of a commissioner of oaths but has additional powers, such as:

· Verification of signatures, signers, and witnesses.

· Administering oaths or affirmations

· Certifying copies of powers of attorney and journal entries

· Witnessing or attesting deeds, contracts, or other legal instruments

Furthermore, a notary public can administer oaths or affirmations for documents intended for use outside of Ontario or internationally. They can also provide certified translations for documents in different languages.

When Do You Need a Public Notary in Ontario?

You should consider engaging a public notary office in Ontario when you require verification, certification, or witnessing services for your documents. Common scenarios where a notary public may be necessary include:

· When your document needs to be used outside of Ontario or internationally

· When you need to certify a document copy as true

· When you must verify the identity or signature of an individual

· When you need to witness or attest to a deed, contract, or another legal instrument

If you're uncertain whether you need a notary public or a commissioner of oaths for your specific document, it's advisable to consult with the entity or individual requesting the document. Alternatively, seek guidance from a lawyer or paralegal who can provide expert advice tailored to your legal needs.

Understanding Document Verification in Ontario

In Ontario, document verification comes down to two choices: commissioners of oaths and public notary offices in Ontario. Commissioners of oaths are suitable for documents within Ontario, such as affidavits, while notary publics are essential for international or additional services like certified copies. You can find them through online searches, the Yellow Pages, local libraries, or recommendations. Remember to bring your documents and ID and check fees and availability. For straightforward and cost-effective notary services in Ontario, contact Inland Mobile Notary and book an appointment.

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