Imagine you’ve recently sold your home or are applying for a new or renewed mortgage. Perhaps you want to assign a power of attorney for your personal care or property. Maybe you have to go to small claims court over a conflict with your neighbor. 

These and other situations may require affidavits or official verification of information.  An approved commissioner of oath or a notary public can provide such services. These individuals can be self-employed as well as work as lawyers in private or public practice.

What are commissioners of oath?

A commissioner of oath is entitled to take affidavits. They can also administer oaths, affirmations, or declarations. Commissioners will ask you to swear or confirm that what is in the provided document is correct. 

In Ontario, Canada, commissioners are regulated by the Commissioners for Taking Affidavits Act. This act requires commissioners to be in the physical presence of those taking an oath or making a declaration. When this isn’t possible, the commissioner may administer an oath or affirmation remotely as long as certain conditions are met.

A commissioner of oath is legally entitled to:

  • witness signatures
  • commission and administer oaths
  • endorse declarations and affidavits

In many parts of the world, lawyers are automatically designated as commissioners of oath by virtue of their profession. While notaries and commissioners don’t have to be lawyers, it can be practical to hire an experienced law firm like Diamond & Diamond Lawyers at

Even if your needs are short-term, a law firm with a breadth of experience, such as theirs, can help you with a variety of different types of paperwork and legal issues. They can also provide you with legal insight and a review process to identify any possible risks.

What are notary publics?

Also known as notaries, these individuals can perform all the same tasks as commissioners of oaths. Additionally, notaries can attest that signatures and documents are genuine. Notaries in Ontario, Canada, are regulated by the Notaries Act.

A notary public is legally entitled to:

  • take affidavits
  • administer oaths
  • confirm identities
  • witness signatures
  • endorse declarations
  • commission statutory declarations
  • attest and certify deeds and contracts

We know it can be challenging to file legal paperwork correctly, and getting the proper support is an essential step. 

Should you hire a notary public or a commissioner of oaths? Who is most qualified to perform the necessary work and ensure your rights are protected? Trusted and experienced law firms can help you understand your rights and responsibilities. They’ll have answers to your questions and can help you make the best decisions for your unique needs.