Being a notary public in Canada is an excellent way to gain more legal experience, expand your networks, and connect with new and potential clients. Lawyers pursuing a notary public profession allow them to get to know more people who can be helpful in their future ventures or cases.
It also helps that you have notary public experience since you can do tasks such as witnessing oaths, signing affidavits, and certifying documents as the original copies of the original.
This opens many new opportunities to lawyers since this can be a new source of income for you. Many businesses and individuals draft and sign affidavits for various uses, be it for a name change, for wills and testaments, and for business transactions. Notary public lawyers or paralegals can do more things than their non-practising counterparts.
This article tells you all the things you need to know about becoming a notary public in Ontario, and how to notarize a document in Ontario.
Duties and Responsibilities
As mentioned above, when you are a notary public, you can do tasks that are not open to regular lawyers. Some of these tasks include verifying if signatures are genuine or forged.
They can also check and mark copies of documents and determine if they are certified true copies. Also, they are allowed to legally administer oats, statutory declarations, and affirmations. These tasks and responsibilities are set out by the Ontario Notaries Act.
There are also other things notary public lawyers can do in Ontario. They are also commissioners for taking affidavits, as set out by The Ontario Commissioners for Taking Affidavits.
As part of the advancements in technology, notary public lawyers in Ontario can also provide commissioning services virtually. These are known as e-notary services, remote electronic notarization, and also online notary services.
However, certain things Ontario notary public lawyers cannot do, as stipulated in the acts mentioned above. Some of those include providing legal services. Unless they are in a solicitor-client relationship, they cannot provide legal assistance as most practising lawyers do.
Aside from that, they are also not allowed to prepare and execute documents intended to be used to sell and purchase a property. Lastly, they are also not allowed to prepare wills and powers of attorney in Ontario.
However, keep in mind that in other provinces such as Quebec and British Columbia, they can provide those not allowed to be practised in Ontario.
Suppose you are a lawyer or a paralegal licensed by the Law Society of Ontario. In that case, you are eligible to become a notary public. They can apply to the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General for a notarial appointment. This is a lifetime appointment as long as you are a member with good standing of the Law Society of Ontario.
Lawyers and paralegals who are not currently practising can still be considered a member in good standing if they continue to pay the applicable and required annual licensing fee.
Steps on Applying to be a Notary Public
Here are the steps you need to follow when you are applying for a notarial appointment.
First, you must download and then complete the online application form that you can get from the Government of Ontario’s website. Next, submit the completed application form to the Official Document Services and pay $145. The process usually lasts for two to three weeks.
Once the application is processed, you will receive your very own Certificate of Notarial Appointment together with a specimen form. Sign the specimen form, then send it with your seal from the embossed notary seal of your own back to the Official Documents Services.
It is crucial to complete your specimen form. Official Documents Services keeps your specimen on file to authenticate any documents you notarize afterward. ODS won’t be able to authenticate your notarizations if you do not send the form to them.
Notarizing Your Documents in Ontario
To notarize documents in Ontario, there are several steps you should follow.
First, you must see the original document that your customer wants a copy of. Then, photocopy it yourself, or if they brought a photocopy with them, compare the two papers to each other.
Then, fill out and attach a notarial certificate to the copy. Fill in your name as the person who notarized the document, along with your signature and date and the seal that the copy is a true certified one.
Next, seal the certificate using a seal sticker. Finally, press an imprint on the seal on the copy of the said document.