When you need to visit a notary for one of your important documents, finding one can feel complex. It may seem like looking for a needle in a haystack. But it is actually easier than you think. You just need to know who is a notary in Canada, meaning which industries tend to support notaries. As an example, one question that may come to your mind is, “Are all lawyers notaries?”
Notarization provides you with a sworn statement of facts. This affidavit bears your signature and that of a licensed professional empowered to witness your signing in an official capacity. These professionals are entrusted with legal clout, just as the documents bearing their signature and stamp are also regarded as truth. In fact, notarized documents hold up as evidence in court.
Who are Canadian notaries?
In Canada, lawyers and notaries both act as witnesses for affidavits. A good example of this is during a divorce. You can rely on your divorce lawyers to witness many of the documents requiring a notary at this stage in life.
Who can notarize a specific document differs. Some documents require a lawyer or notary public. Others can be notarized by other professionals. In Canada, a range of licensed professionals bear this public trust. Professionals who can notarize documents include:
- Notary public
- Divorce lawyers
- Medical doctors
- Embassy officials
- Police officers
- Professional engineers
- Social workers
- Justices of the peace
- Municipal clerks
- Commissioners of oaths
- Chartered accountants
Who can notarize your specific document depends on the document type. Many of the above professionals have limitations in what they can notarize, particularly relating to documents from their field of work. However, you can find empowered notaries who can sign all types of documents. These options include notaries and lawyers.
About the Notary Powers of Lawyers and Notaries
As said before, lawyers and notaries have the power to sign most documents requiring a witness under oath. Obviously, the two work differ in their work capacities. They also differ in convenience and cost.
A notary public will prove much more affordable for everyday documents requiring a notary. But if you already have a lawyer under retainer or working with you, it is convenient to have them notarize some of your paperwork. Notaries also have more convenient scheduling, typically offering last-minute services or accepting walk-ins.
Notaries go under legal scrutiny before being empowered to notarize documents. They must prove they are impartial in the eyes of the court. Once provided with the right to notarize, they provide their services for a broad range of documents. Because being a notary public is, for some of these professionals, a standalone service provided to the community, they typically provide accommodating scheduling. They are typically affordable and friendly, too. Using a notary is cost-effective.
Notary Public and Lawyers Compared
Although all notaries are not lawyers, the majority of notaries in several provinces are lawyers. This is true in Ontario, for example. However, not every lawyer is a notary public.
A lawyer must elect to become a notary and is not automatically assigned this power or trust. The lawyers who do select to become notaries often focus on specific uses of this power, such as in serving their client base. They may not advertise their services to the general public toward taking walk-ins or fulfilling notary needs exclusively.
At the same time, a notary does not provide legal advice. They serve the community by witnessing signatures, certifying documents and administering oaths. A lawyer, on the other hand, can provide legal advice and representation.