Commissioning vs. Notarizing a Document


Understanding the difference between commissioning and notarizing a document can save money and avoid delays.

Commissioning a document means taking oaths or declarations from a person who signs an affidavit or a statutory declaration. Only certain individuals, by their position or through application, are authorized by the Province of Ontario to act as Commissioners of Oaths, also called “Commissioners for taking Affidavits”. Section 1(1) of the Ontario Commissioners for Taking Affidavits Act states that lawyers have automatic authority, by their profession, to act as commissioners.

To commission an oath or affidavit, a lawyer must first verify the identity of the deponent to satisfy themselves that the deponent’s signature is true. After the deponent has read and understood the text of the affidavit or declaration, the lawyer asks if he or she would prefer to swear or affirm its contents. Once established, the lawyer asks the deponent to swear or solemnly affirm and declare the truth of the contents of the document, while holding a religious book or raising their right hand. The deponent then signs the affidavit in the commissioner’s presence.

Unlike commissioning, notarizing a document, which is verifying it to be a true copy of an original document, does not require a client’s presence. A notary public attaches a completed and signed notarial certificate to the front of the copy of the original document, and affixes a seal next to their signature.

Unlike a commissioner for taking affidavits, a lawyer is not automatically authorized to act as a notary public by virtue of their profession. Lawyers however, are permitted to become a notary public without further examination upon application and payment of fees to the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services Official Documents Services.

Jasmine Daya & Co offers both commissioner and notary services. Call us at 416-967-9100 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.