Introduction: What is a notary public and why do you need one?
In all areas of the world, a notary public has been commissioned by the provincial or territorial government to authenticate the execution of legal documents or administer oaths. The role of a notary public is to act as an independent and impartial witness to document signing, and to certify whether the individuals involved are who they say they are and to see if the documents have been signed willingly, and last but not least to Certify True Copies of original documents..
A notary public’s signature on a document ensures authenticity, which is important in certain legal situations. In Canada, the laws governing the role and responsibilities of notaries public vary by province and territory, are some jurisdictions allow notaries public to perform a wide range of services while others limit their role.
What does one require to become a Notary Public in Canada?
A Notary Public needs to meet certain education and professional criteria, making it essential to pass a written examination. Once they have been commissioned as a notary public, they are authorized to perform a variety of legal services, which include the following:
- Witnessing the signing of documents
- Administering oaths and affirmations
- Taking and certifying affidavits and statutory declarations
- Certifying copies of documents
- Authenticating the execution of documents
Certain procedures and protocols have to be followed to perform these aforementioned services and ensure that documents are executed properly. This may involve verifying the identity of individuals involved, making sure they understand the documents they are signing and confirming that they are willingly doing all of this.
Why is a Notary’s signature important on legal documents?
There are several reasons why a notary’s signature might be required on official documents in Canada:
- Protection and Verification of Identity:
With a notary’s signature, the identity of the person signing the document is verified, which helps prevent fraud or any illegal activities, including identity theft.
- Authentication of Documents
By affixing the notary’s signature and seal to the document, you ensure that the authenticity and verification of the document has not been altered.
- Evidence of an Oath
The notary’s signature further serves as evidence that the oath or affirmation was administered and that the person signing has pledged to tell the truth
- Increased Legal Weightage
A notarized document is given more legal weight than an unnotarized document, and this is especially important in legal proceedings or court matters
Can a notary ever attest a fake document and what are the legal repercussions?
A notary public is not allowed to attest to the authenticity of a fake or fraudulent document, therefore, if the notary believes (for any reason) that the document is not authentic, they are required to refuse to notarize it.
However, a notary public isn’t responsible for verifying the accuracy or truthfulness of the information contained in the document as their role is simply to ensure that the document is properly executed and that the person signing it is who they claim to be. If a notary senses fraud, they are required to report it to relevant authorities immediately.
In many jurisdictions, it is a crime to knowingly present a fake document to a notary public. This can be charged as a form of fraud or as a separate offense, such as ‘offering a false instrument for filing’ or ‘perjury’. Penalties for these crimes may include fines, the loss of professional licenses and even imprisonment.
The Bottom Line
In some cases, not notarizing a document may not be a constraint and the document may still be accepted, but in other cases, not notarizing a document and then submitting could result in unforeseen consequences. Essentially, notarization may be required or necessary in order to give any document legal weight and to ensure its authenticity.
As a leading notary public in Mississauga and Brampton, The Notary Guy consists of a team of professionals dedicated to providing quick, affordable, and reliable notary services. Our experienced notaries will handle your documentation with the utmost care and efficiency, ensuring that your process is seamless and secure. Start your notarization process with us today.