Are Notaries Lawyers?
In many countries of the world notaries are also lawyers but in Canada there are notaries who are not lawyers.
A person may apply to be appointed as a Notary Public if they are at least 18 years old, are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and reside in Alberta.
Notaries Public in our province are allowed to provide the following services:
- Administer oaths and take affidavits, affirmations or declarations
- Certify true copies of documents
- Witness or certify and attest the execution of documents
What are Notaries allowed to do?
The work of Notaries Public must be authorized by the Notaries and Commissioners Act (new in 2015). The Act provides that anybody acting as a Notary Public without authorization can be liable for a fine of up to $5,000. Lay Notaries Public are not authorized to do types of work usually done by lawyers such as conveyancing i.e. buying or selling your home.
Only lawyers (and judges) have the authority to witness or certify and attest deeds, contracts (this includes any contracts or agreements between you and your spouse) and commercial instruments and issue a certificate under the Guarantees Acknowledgement Act.
What if I have a document to be used outside of Alberta?
When an affidavit or a statutory declaration is intended to be relied on outside of Alberta, the law in that jurisdiction must be followed. Other jurisdictions may have different formalities that need to be complied with to ensure the validity of the document.
When I act as a Notary Public signing documents from outside Alberta, I request that you ensure that the document you wish to have notarized is in accordance with the laws of your country by contacting your country’s consulate in Canada.
Is Authentication or Legalization necessary?
You will need to book an appointment to have a document notarized and my fee is $100. Documents executed before a Notary Public in Alberta are not usually acceptable in other countries (including the United States of America) unless accompanied by a Certificate of Authentication. This certificate is signed by an official of the Deputy Provincial Secretary who authenticates the appointment, signature and seal of the Notary Public (refer to the Alberta Justice and Solicitor General website for more information).
What is an Affidavit
It is a written statement formally confirmed by swearing an oath or affirming before a competent authority such as a Notary Public. Affidavits are used as evidence in Court. They can only be used when a statute or regulation authorizes the use of an affidavit. A person who makes a false affidavit or statutory declaration can face a maximum penalty of 14 years of imprisonment under the Criminal Code.
What is a Statutory Declaration?
It is another type of statement of facts made in a prescribed form that legal force similar to an oath (or affirmation). It is used when no law authorities the use of an affidavit.
What is an Exhibit?
Exhibits are frequently attached to affidavits. They are records that support a person’s affidavit. e.g. Income Tax Returns to prove your income.