Notarization serves an important role in Canada's legal system. When you have a document notarized, you are getting a third party to say that they believe it is truthful, trustworthy, and reliable. It also offers proof that all involved parties signed the document under their own free will, disproving that anything occurred under duress. Figuring out exactly what you need to have notarized, however, can be a bit more difficult. In this article, you'll learn about four of the most common documents that you should always have notarized.
If you've never dealt with the court system, you may not know what an affidavit is. This legal form is often used to swear a statement within a court case. The Supreme Court of Canada often requires an affidavit any time victim-given information is submitted to the courts. Civil courts also use them when you submit witness statements within a civil suit.
Affidavits must be notarized in order to be admitted as evidence in any Canadian court. At least three people must be present during the notarization--the witness giving the statement, the notary, and a third party who can act as a witness. Before signing, the notary will request that the witness swear the information is true. If he or she is satisfied that the person is telling the truth and not under duress, they will sign off on the document.
Certified True Copies
Certain documents, like birth certificates, lose their legitimacy when photocopied. Unfortunately, it's not wise--or realistic--to mail in your original copy when one is requested by a business or service provider. Instead, a notary can photocopy the document for you and certify it as a legitimate document on the spot. This is what's known as a certified document copy.
A certified true copy is required in a broad range of situations--far too many to outline in a single article. They are commonly used when copying any or all of the following:
- Government-issued I.D.
- Birth certificates
- Social Insurance Numbers
- Tax documents
- Criminal record checks
- Diplomas or transcripts
- Professional certification
In general, if a document can be called into question legally, all copies should be certified. As with most notarizations, you'll need a notary, the copy, yourself, and one other individual to witness the signing.
Parental Consent to Travel
If your child travels with only one parent, a relative, or a sports team regularly, filling out a parental consent form is important. This document outlines your child's identification information, passport number, and parental contact information. It also identifies the person who is caring for them. This is not the same as a permission slip; rather, it's an advanced document that is suitable for extended travel. You should use this document if:
- Your child will be traveling with a spouse who has part-time custody
- Your child is leaving the country
- Your child will be in the care of a coach or camp leader
- Your child is expected to travel through several areas at a time
Of each of these situations, crossing the border is most important. Canadian border officials can and will reject copies of this document if it isn't notarized and may prevent you from crossing. The Canadian government makes a default printable copy of the Parental Consent to Travel document available here.
Power of Attorney
When you give power of attorney to someone, you consent that they make any or all decisions on your behalf. It is most commonly used when an individual is judged incapable--or undesirous--of making important financial and legal decisions for themselves. Seniors and people with physical or mental health concerns sometimes give power of attorney to an individual they trust so that they may handle their affairs for them.
It's important to understand that acting as a power of attorney requires a great deal of responsibility. You will be enabled to file taxes, handle banking, and even take out loans on behalf of the individual in question. As an unscrupulous individual could easily take advantage of this fact, most banks, medical providers, and legal institutions will not accept the form unless it has been notarized.
If you wish to set up a power of attorney form, an easy, printable questionnaire is available here. It allows you to specify the basic information found on the document before you print it.
Whether you're printing a copy of your birth certificate to apply for a bank account or you're taking on power of attorney for a child, having reliable legal documents is important. Never assume that a hastily-printed copy is enough to support your needs. For questions about notarizing the forms listed above, or to have a form notarized, contact a local notary from a firm like Integra Law Group.