The purpose of witnessing an oath or having it witnessed by a certified Notary Public
Published by Paragon Notary on 17th May, 2021
The Ontario Evidence Act requires a commissioner of oaths or notary public to administer oaths, affidavits, declarations and affirmations where permitted or required by law. In Ontario and many other provinces, a lawyer or paralegal automatically becomes a commissioner of oaths and can therefore apply to be a Notary Public.
A qualified Notary Public in Ontario can do more than just witness oaths, they can also certify copies of documents to be true copies of an original. At times, they may be called in at establish that the oath, affirmation or declaration that they witness was genuine and the signature of the declarant was true.
When witnessing an oath, the Notary Public must hold themselves liable and accountable if it is not done in accordance with the federal law in Ontario. To contact a qualified Notary Public to have an oath witness, call Paragon Legal today to book an appointment.
Furthermore, the Criminal Code of Canada makes it an indictable offence which is punishable by up to 2 years in prison to sign an oath, affidavit or declaration that was not sworn before the person certified to witness it. The notary public must only witness an oath sworn before them.
There is also a certain manner in which the oath must be witnessed and this is set out in the Commissioners for Taking Affidavits Act. This Act also sets out the fines and punishments involved in improperly administering an oath or witnessing it as a commissioner.
Witnessing an oath is simple once the following steps are followed:
- Verification of the signature of the declarant to be genuine and proof of the person's identity must be provided
- Administering the oath or witnessing it in accordance with the solemn declaration set out in the Evidence Acts of Ontario and Canada
- The declarant must declare the oath that is being witnessed to be binding and speak to the their conscience so that they understand the consequences of declaring to a false statement
- The oath must be completed when the Notary Public certifies and signs it to be a true declaration after witnessing the swearing of the document, the signature and the valid identification of it.
It should be noted that the declarant must be in the presence of the commissioner of oaths in order for it to be duly administered or sworn to. Otherwise, an organization may refuse to accept such an oath as not being genuine and sworn to correctly.
According to the provincial government, clients should be encouraged to make in-person swearing of oaths and commissioners should also be partial to witnessing oaths that are sworn in person before them.