Requirements for Taking an Affidavit or Statutory Declaration
Many people think they just need a signature however Notary Publics have the responsibility to ensure certain requirements prior to notarizing documents.
1. Identity of the Person Making the Statement
Whether administering an oath, affirmation or declaration, the Notary must be satisfied as to the identity of the person making the written statement. The person is required to produce some reliable means of identification (such as a government-issued ID that includes the person’s name, current address, signature and photograph).
2. Capacity of the Person Making the Statement
The Notary must also be satisfied that the person making the written statement understands the contents of the document and appreciates the significance of making the affidavit or statutory declaration. If the person does not understand the contents of the statement or does not appreciate the significance of the undertaking (or is not acting of their own free will), the Notary cannot proceed. If an apparent lack of understanding is due to a language barrier, the affidavit or statutory declaration may be taken with the assistance of an interpreter.
3. Administering the Oath, Affirmation or Solemn Declaration
The person must solemnly swear (affirm or declare) that the contents of the affidavit are true to the best of the deponent’s knowledge, information and belief. Under the Criminal Code of Canada, it is an offence (with a maximum penalty of two years of imprisonment) to sign a document purporting to be an affidavit or statutory declaration sworn or declared before a Notary Public or Commissioner of Oaths, when in fact the document was not so sworn or declared.
4. Signature of the Person Making the Statement
The person must then sign the affidavit in the Notary’s presence. A Notary cannot take an affidavit or statutory declaration if the person signing the affidavit or declaration is not present. The Notary must actually view the act of signing and so it must occur in the Notary’s presence.
5. Completing the Jurat (Ordinary Form)
The jurat is the part of the oath, affirmation or declaration that must be completed by the Notary. The jurat should include the date the statement was sworn (affirmed/declared), the place where the statement was sworn (affirmed/declared) and the signature of the Notary before whom the statement was sworn (affirmed/declared).
What is an affidavit?
An affidavit is a legally binding written statement in which the deponent (also sometimes known as the affiant) swears that certain assertions are true. Affidavits are often used in court proceedings, but they may also be utilized in a wide variety of other contexts. While signing an affidavit, you must keep in mind the following points:
- You must remember that whatever you say must be truthful.
- You’re not saying what you think; you’re saying what you already know. Facts should be presented here.
- Making an assertion about what you think to be true is permissible only if your statement makes it clear that it’s just your own opinion.
Statutory declarations are similar to Affidavits but their form is set by the government agency or body that requires their presentation in accordance with a specific law (or statute, hence the name). Examples of common Statutory Declarations are declarations for construction progress payment, declarations for refund of builders’ lien holdback, custodianship declarations for a minor foreign student, declarations of common law status, or ICBC declarations related to proof of loss.
Certified True Copies of Documents
Whenever a certified true copy of a document is required, a Notary can produce such a copy by making a photocopy of the original document, signing it and putting their stamp on it, declaring the copy to be “true” copy of the original. Whether it is a copy of your diploma, passport or birth certificate that you need, going to your Notary is a simple and easy way to obtain your certified true copies.