Commissioners for Oaths and Notaries Public (Alberta)

Who appoints Notaries Public and Commissioners for Oaths and who watches over them?

The Minister of Justice and the Solicitor General administers both programs for members of the public who wish to apply. It sets the criteria for applications and takes care of renewals, when necessary. The Alberta Department of Justice has established a Code of Conduct for both Notaries and Commissioners. The Code sets out that Notaries and Commissioners must act with honesty, integrity and dignity and treat all people with courtesy and respect, along with other requirements. The Notaries and Commissioners Act sets out penalties if an appointed person contravenes the Act.

What is an oath?

An oath is a solemn declaration accompanied by swearing to a supreme being or something sacred to the person taking the oath that a statement is true. An oath must be taken before a Commissioner for Oaths or a Notary Public for it to be valid. Oaths are often used to confirm a written statement, known as an affidavit, for use in court, estate, or land title transactions.

What does a Commissioner for Oaths do?

In Alberta, a Commissioner for Oaths is defined by the Notaries and Commissioners Act (see link below) in the Statutes of Alberta, Chapter N-5.5.

A Commissioner for Oaths administers oaths, and takes and receives affidavits, declarations, and affirmations that will be used in Alberta.

Commissioners must endorse their names, the date of expiry of their appointment if applicable, and the words “A Commissioner for Oaths in and for Alberta” on documents.

What does a Notary Public do?

In Alberta, a Notary Public is defined by the Notaries and Commissioners Act  in the Statutes of Alberta, Chapter N-5.5.

A Notary Public has the power to administer oaths, and take and receive affidavits, declarations and affirmations in Alberta, elsewhere in Canada and internationally, just as a Commissioner for Oaths can.  However, the Notary Public may do several things that a Commissioner cannot.  A Notary Public may deal with documents that will be used outside of Alberta (for example, an affidavit to be used in a lawsuit being conducted in the United States).   A notary public who is a judge or lawyer may also witness, certify or attest deeds, contracts and commercial intruments, such as a promissory note.

Every document that a notary public deals with must bear the seal of the Notary Public, contain in his or her name the words “Notary Public” and “Province of Alberta”.  On each document, the notary public must legibly sign his or her name, the date on which the appointment will expire, or if the notary public is a judge or lawyer, that occupation or status.

Where can I find a Commissioner for Oaths or a Notary Public in Alberta?

You can find Commissioners for Oaths and Notaries Public in the yellow pages of the telephone book or online at YellowPages.ca. (see link below)  All practicing lawyers are notaries public.  Commissioners for Oaths can be found in law offices and many real estate offices.  Police Officers, MLAs and Municipal Councillors are also Commissioners for Oaths.

What are the qualifications to become a Commissioner for Oaths in Alberta?

To qualify, you must be at least 18 years of age, and a Canadian citizen who resides in Alberta or have permanent residence status, resides in Alberta and no criminal record.

Lawyers, students-at-law, police officers, judges, full-time commissioned officers of the Canadian Forces, members of the Legislative Assembly, members of a municipal council, members of a board of trustees of a school district or division in Alberta, and justices of the peace are automatically Commissioners for Oaths.

What are the qualifications to become a Notary Public in Alberta?

To qualify, you must be at least 18 years of age, a Canadian citizen who resides in Alberta or have permanent resident status and reside in Alberta, and have no criminal record.

Lawyers, students-at-law, judges, members of the House of Commons, members of the Legislative Assembly, and members of the Senate who were residents of Alberta at the time of their appointments are automatically Notaries Public. It is possible for some people, for example lawyers, to be both Commissioners for Oaths and Notaries Public.

To apply for appointment as a Notary Public, you must:

  • Complete an application for appointment/renewal as a Notary Public.
  • Submit a Criminal Record Check (must be from a recognized police agency).
  • Provide a current/recent letter of support.
  • Provide samples of documents to be notarized.
  • Applications are scheduled for review by the Notaries Public Review Committee and a letter to the applicant will be sent advising of the results.  (The Committee meets 3 to 4 times per year).
  • Individuals wishing to renew their appointments will be sent a renewal application to the last current address on file in August of the year in which their appointment expires.
  • The completed renewal and application fee must be submitted to the address noted below by no later than November 15th of the year of expiry, along with a criminal record check, letter of support and samples of documents that have been notarized.

Further information about the application process, please contact:

Official Documents & Appointments
111, 9833 109 Street
Edmonton, Alberta  T5K 2E8
Tel: 780.427.5069
E-mail:  [email protected]

How do I apply to become a Commissioner for Oaths or a Notary Public in Alberta?

The Ministry of Justice and Solicitor General administers the Commissioner for Oaths program for members of the public who wish to be appointed as Commissioner for Oaths in Alberta.

The procedure for applying for an appointment of a Commissioner for Oaths consists of:

  • Completing an application for appointment/renewal as a Commissioner for Oaths.
  • Studying the Information and Instruction Booklet and attending upon a lawyer to be examined on the duties and powers of a Commissioner for Oaths appointment.
  • Submitting the fee of $50.00 by cheque or money order payable to the Government of Alberta.
  • Applications normally take 2-3 weeks for processing.  Once approved, a Certificate of appointment will be mailed to the applicant.
  • Those wishing to renew their appointments, a preprinted renewal form will be sent to the last current address on file 8 weeks before the expiry of your current appointment.  The completed renewal and application fee must be submitted to the address below a minimum of 2 weeks prior to expiry of the current appointment.

Further information about the application process, please contact:

Official Documents & Appointments
111, 9833 109 Street
Edmonton, Alberta  T5K 2E8
Tel: 780.427.5069
E-mail:  [email protected]

How long does it take to be appointed a Commissioner for Oaths or a Notary Public in Alberta?

To become a Commissioner for Oaths, the process generally takes two to three weeks. The process to become a Notary Public is substantially longer.

How much does it cost to become a Commissioner for Oaths?

In Alberta, the fee to become a Commissioner for Oaths is $50 payable by cheque or money order. The following are exempt from paying a fee:

  • employees of the Government of Alberta or Canada or an agency of either of these governments;
  • members of the Métis Settlements General Council or a Métis Settlement;
  • employees of a municipality in Alberta; or
  • employees of any social service organization in Alberta.

This appointment expires on the third anniversary of the Commissioner’s birthday after the date of the appointment.

How much does it cost to become a Notary Public?

The fee to become a Notary Public in Alberta is $75. No fee is payable for the appointment of

  • an employee of the Government of Alberta or Canada, or
  • a member of the Alberta police force.

Do I have to pay a fee to have something signed by a Commissioner for Oaths or a Notary Public?

Yes, you will have to pay a fee for services provided by a Commissioner for Oaths or a Notary Public. However, there is no set fee for these services.  You should ask about fees when you make an appointment o at the beginning of your consultation.

Where can I find the legislation regarding Commissioners for Oaths and Notaries Public in Alberta?

The Notaries and Commissioners Act is Chapter N-5.5 of the Revised Statues of Alberta.  It can be found through the Alberta Queen’s Printer at http://www.qp.alberta.ca.  Copies of the Revised Statues of Alberta can also be found in any public library or courthouse library.

 

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This page was last updated in September, 2010.

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