Virtual Witnessing and Execution of Documents in British Columbia: Notary Pro’s Secure Remote Notary Service

As of May 20, 2020, the Provincial Government of British Columbia issued two emergency orders that permit the virtual witnessing of Wills and Powers of Attorney via remote online notary services.

As Canada’s first online notary public and commissioner service, Notary Pro welcomes the BC government’s changes as a critical step to protect and promote public health objectives, while modernizing notary services.

The BC emergency orders temporarily suspend in-person (face to face) execution requirements for wills and personal planning instruments, including documents such as representation agreements and enduring powers of attorney.
Notary Pro has provided safe, secure and online virtual witnessing services for clients in Ontario for over 2 months. Through encrypted video conferencing, clients can safely sign their essential legal documents from the comfort of their home.

These orders resolve serious concerns raised by the legal community, including the regulatory bodies and representative associations for lawyers and notaries public, as well as by the public, with respect to the “face to face” requirement of signing legal documents in person.

Notary Pro’s proven virtual witnessing process benefits everyone, particularly seniors and immuno-compromised people who are hesitant to travel into populated areas during the COVID-19 pandemic. This secure process also helps British Columbians and all Canadians who live in rural and remote areas and also want to limit travel outside of their communities.

Under the orders, which are effective as of May 19, 2020, careful safeguards have been established to reduce fraud, including ensuring legal professionals (lawyers and notaries public) are involved in remote execution; prescribing the circumstances in which documents can be executed remotely; and providing strict parameters and requirements around remote execution.

The emergency orders are tied to the BC provincial state of emergency and will expire when it is lifted.

Read the emergency orders here:

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