Commissioning or Notarizing? Which Do You Need?

Commissioning or Notarizing? Which Do You Need? | One80Law Group

What’s the difference between commissioning and notarization? You may have come across these legal terms and are unsure about what they really mean, and when they apply. Read on to find out more. 

What is notarization? 

Notarization refers to the act of validating signatures on documents, authenticating documents, administering oaths and taking affidavits and statutory declarations.

The kinds of documents that need to be notarized are legal documents with serious consequences. An example of this is a Will. A Will has the power to pass all your assets to another person, so notarization helps reduce the risk of fraud. Other documents which require notarization include Powers of Attorney, medical documents, sworn statements, affidavits, deeds and trusts.

At One80 Law, we’re able to notarize documents via virtual signing, conducted on video call. Contact us to arrange your notarization and we’ll arrange a convenient time. 

The process allows us to witness your signature on your documents. We’ll also check your identity to confirm you are who you say you are. Once you’ve signed the document, we’ll record the notarization in our journal to confirm the document was notarized. Then we’ll arrange for our seal to be affixed to your documents. 

What is commissioning?

A different qualification of person is able to act as a Commissioner. In Alberta, they’re known as a Commissioner of Oaths. In BC, they’re known as a Commissioner for Taking Affidavits.  

Commissioners are able to take affidavits, affirmations and declarations. This is a different class of responsibilities than a notary public. Importantly, a Commissioner cannot certify documents, in that whether there is truth in the statements contained in the document or whether the primary document is genuine to begin with.

If you’re unsure which service you need, speak to One80 Law and we can help you understand what’s required. We’ll help save you time and navigate the legalese of getting the correct type of certification arranged.  

Who is a notary public in Alberta? 

In Alberta, notary publics carry out important legal responsibilities. These responsibilities include: 

  • Administering oaths
  • Taking affidavits, affirmations or declarations
  • Certifying copies of documents
  • Witnessing execution of documents

A person becomes a notary public because of their job or by being appointed. Examples of people who are notaries public because of their job are: 

  • Judges
  • Lawyers
  • Students-at-law
  • Members of the Alberta legislature
  • Members of the Parliament of Alberta
  • Canadian senators who were resident of Alberta when they were appointed

Other people can apply to become a notary public. These people must be over 18 years old, residents in Alberta, Canadian citizens or permanent residents, and not have a criminal record. 

Who is a notary public in British Columbia?

The requirements in British Columbia are stricter than in Alberta because they are able to practice non-contentious law. A person who is not a lawyer and yet wants to become a notary public will need to undertake a Master of Arts in Applied Legal Studies or a law degree in Canada. 

The other group of people who are notaries public in BC are lawyers.  

Who is a Commissioner of Oaths in Alberta? 

People can be appointed by the Alberta Government to act as Commissioner of Oaths. It’s easier to be appointed a Commissioner of Oaths compared to a Notary Public, and their reduced scope of responsibilities is reflected in this. 

In addition, the following people can act as Commissioner of Oaths: 

  • Judges
  • Lawyers
  • Students-at-law
  • Some politicians
  • Police officers
  • Notary publics

What about Commissioners in British Columbia? 

In BC, they’re known as Commissioners for Taking Affidavits. They are essentially the same as Commissioner of Oaths. They are able to take oaths and affirmations, as well as affidavits and statutory declarations.

If you have questions or are needing further information, contact One80 Law Group. Whether you’re looking for notarization or commissioning services in Alberta or BC we’re always happy to help.