What is notarization?
A notary public is a person who has been recognized by the Attorney General of Ontario as an individual trusted to commission oaths, affidavits, and other declarations; and to verify that signatures, copies of documents, and other marks are genuine. When a person becomes a licensed lawyer in Ontario, they can receive a lifetime appointment as a notary public, so it is very common for law offices to offer notary services.
Notarization is when a notary public commissions a document or verifies that a signature, copy, or other mark is genuine.
What are some examples of notarized documents?
Travel consent letters: A person may need to have their signature witnessed by a notary public if they are providing a letter of consent for their child to travel without them. In this case, a notary public would be verifying, for any border official who reads the travel consent form, that they have checked the signer’s identity, and that they witnessed the parent/guardian sign the document freely and willingly.
Declarations: A person may need to have their signature witnessed by a notary public if they are making a declaration of certain facts. In this case, a notary public would be verifying, for the reader of the declaration, that they have checked the signer’s identity, and that they witnessed the person make the declaration and sign the document freely and willingly.
Copies of original documents: A person may need to have a copy of their passport certified by a notary public as a true copy of the original if they are sending their identification to a person or organization by mail or email (for example, if someone needs to include identification as part of an immigration application). In this case, a notary public would be verifying, for the viewer of the copy of the identification, that the document is an exact copy of the original piece of identification, so that the holder of the identification does not need to part with their original copy.
In each of these situations, a notary public will write a brief statement on your document specifying what they are notarizing, they will sign and date the document, and they will affix their seal.
What can a notary public not do?
A notary public cannot:
Certify that the information contained on a document (whether an original or a copy) is true. A notary public can simply verify that a document is a true copy of an original document, or that a signature on a document was made by the person who is supposed to have signed it.
Verify that a certain person was the signer of a given document if they have not themselves witnessed that person sign the document.
Provide legal advice if they are a lawyer, but they are only providing notary services.
How can I get a document notarized at Carson Law?
Carson Law is pleased to provide walk-in notary services. If you need a document notarized, simply attend our office with a piece of government-issued photo ID, which cannot be a health card. Our receptionist will have you fill out an ID form, will take a copy of your ID, and will coordinate notarization with one of our lawyers.
In most cases, one of our lawyers will be available to notarize your document right away. Sometimes, however, our lawyers are in overlapping appointments. If you need to find a time where your document can be notarized while you wait, please call ahead at (905) 336-8940 x1000.
Our fee is $20.00 per notarial signature, which can be paid with cash or with a personal cheque. We are not able to accept card payments. If you are paying with cash, please bring exact change.
If you need a certified true copy of an original document, do not make your own photocopy. Bring the original document to our office, and we will photocopy it for you. This way, we can ensure that the lawyer notarizing your document has seen the original document. This is essential if the lawyer is to certify that the copy is a true copy of the original document.
If you need to have your signature witnessed, or if you need to have a declaration commissioned, do not sign the document before coming into our office. Bring the unsigned document to our office, where the lawyer notarizing your document will witness you sign it. Again, this is essential if the lawyer is to certify that they have verified the identity and willingness of the signer.
Ensure that you bring valid, current photo ID with you. It must be government-issued, and it cannot be a health card.
Please allow for some time to have your document notarized. It is always best to have your document notarized several days before your personal deadlines, as we cannot guarantee that a lawyer will always be available for same-day notarization.
Where can I find a travel consent form? The federal government provides a sample travel consent form, which you can find here. We are happy to notarize this form for you.
Who can I speak to about notarization at your office? If you have questions about notarization, please reach out to our receptionist at (905) 336-8940 x1000.
Do I need an appointment to have a document notarized? No, you do not need an appointment to have a document notarized. We are pleased to offer notary services on a walk-in basis, but, because of our scheduled client appointments, we cannot guarantee that a lawyer will always be immediately available to help you. We suggest that you call in advance of coming in so that we can tell you if a lawyer will be available at your preferred time.
How do I know if I need a document notarized? Most documents that require notarization contain a note specifying that the document must be notarized. Alternatively, the document may have a space for a notary public to sign and affix their seal. However, these indicators do not always appear on documents. If you are unsure about whether you need a document notarized, please call our office in advance of coming in, and we will be pleased to help you.