Everyone knows the word but not everyone knows the meaning

Published by Paragon Notary on 10th May, 2021

The general definition of an affidavit is that it is an oath or affirmation often used in a court of law as evidence. That is, it is a sworn statement stating a person's knowledge or position on a circumstance or in general that can relate to a court matter or situation.


A notary public or commissioner of oaths is able and qualified to witness, administer and sign an oath or affirmation and thereby legally qualify it as an affidavit.


In Ontario, a Notary Public is a person who is legally qualified to take an affidavit or declaration by a person to swear or affirm that what they are saying is true and correct. They are regulated by the Notaries Act issued by the provincial government.


They can also verify that signatures are true and correct so that authentic copies of documents can be verified. Further to this, in Ontario, every lawyer or paralegal is automatically qualified to be a commissioner of taking affidavits.


An affidavit is typically needed in a court of law, many times for small claims or family court matters. It is also needed when a person is desirous of transferring the ownership of a vehicle to another person after it is resold or if it is being given as a gift to someone else.


Some persons may also need an affidavit signed by a notary public if they are applying for a municipal license or under an exception to a zoning restriction or zoning variance. An affidavit is also sometimes used to access government services in Ontario such as grants or loans.


In a court, an affidavit is usually sworn and submitted or filed in the court before proceedings begin as part of evidence in a matter. Many times, if the matter is being handled by another legal professional, a notary public may charge a fee for the signing and witnessing services provided.

A Notary Public may also be needed to notarize or commission documents that are required for private and commercial transactions. Once more, a fee can be charged for this service.


In short, affidavits are sworn statements that are typically signed, witnessed and verified by a Notary Public or commissioner of oaths. At times, they are legally required and at other times, they are simply a precaution when verifying that a document is a certified copy.


If you need to speak with a Notary Public or have a document notarized, contact Paragon Notary today for more information about our services.