Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions & Answers
- What does it mean to have a document “notarized”?
An Ontario Notary Public’s seal on a document indicates that you are saying that the facts contained in the document are true, and has the same effect as swearing to tell the truth under oath in a court of law. In Ontario, a lawyer licensed Notary Public is also a Commissioner of Oaths (also called a Commissioner for Taking Affidavits). Notary Public Ottawa offers both services.
- Which documents need to be notarized?
Not all documents require notarization, but many do. Foreign embassies, Canadian banks, other financial institutions and the court system often require documents to be notarized. Letters to be sent abroad generally require notarization to verify the identity of the sender.
- What is the role of an Ontario Notary Public?
An Ontario Notary Public’s role to verify the identity of the person signing the document. A notary public is a third-party witness to not only the signature of a document but also the fact that all parties who signed did so willingly and under their own power. The Notary will also confirm the signatory understands the meaning of what she or he is signing. The act of notarizing a document or witnessing a signature is the core function of a Notary Public.
- What are the steps for a notarization?
- You must present valid identification (a valid piece of government issued photo ID with another piece) to your Notary.
- Your Notary will then ensure you understand and can attest to what you’re about to sign.
- The Notary Public then witnesses your signature.
- Once you have signed the document, the Notary will affix her or his stamp (or “seal”) to the document. The document is now notarized.
- What is a Commissioner of Oaths?
A commissioner of oaths (also known as a Commissioner of Taking Affidavits) is a person who can legally administer an oath, affirmation or declaration, for example, to a person making an affidavit.
- Why is it important to have my document notarized?
Having a notary public witness a signature is a powerful risk management tool to prevent fraud and identity theft.
Getting agreements notarized adds a layer of verification that the people who signed the document are the people they say they are. Notarization not only makes it more likely that signors are who they say they are but also is mandatory in most provinces for certain agreements, such as deeds, mortgages, easements, powers of attorney and living wills.
- Can witnesses sign before the appointment?
No. We do not accept any pre-signed documents. There are no exceptions. The role of the Notary Public is to personally view and witness all signatures.
- Can Notary Pro Canada provide witnesses?
No, for the most part. Witnesses are occasionally available at some locations, however we cannot guarantee this. As a general rule, we ask clients to bring witnesses if their documents requires additional witnesses to sign (in addition to the Notary Public).
The Notary Public generally should NOT be one of the witnesses (this can complicate the situation).
- Can the witness be a family member for my Will or my Power of Attorney (PoA)?
No and this is not recommended. Ontario law prohibits beneficiaries from being witnesses to a Will.
- Can the witness be my child for a Will or PoA?
No if they are not a legal adult (18 years of age or older), and no if they are a beneficiary or Attorney under either document.
- Can my spouse / wife / partner bring the document for me if I sign it in advance?
No. No exceptions. We do not accept any pre-signed documents. Ever.
- Can my spouse / partner sign in advance and then I will sign in front of the notary (i.e. a document requiring both spouse’s signatures)?
No. See answer above.
- Do you provide printing or photocopying?
No. As a general rule, we do not provide printing or copying services. Some notaries are equipped with printers and can provide emergency printing for $1 per page.
- Do I need to bring the original document in order to get a certified true copy?
Yes, they must always bring the original document in order for the Notary Public to view the document and confirm that the copy is a Certified True Copy.
More questions? Check out our blog here.