Canadian Legal FAQs

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What is an oath?

An oath is a solemn declaration 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 Commissioners for Oaths Act in the Statutes of Alberta, Chapter C-19.

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

What does a Notary Public do?

In Alberta, a Notary Public is defined by the Notaries Public Act in the Statutes of Alberta, Chapter N-11.

A Notary Public has the power to administer oaths, and take and receive affidavits, declarations and affirmations, 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 also has the power to issue certificates under the Guarantees Acknowledgment Act, another Alberta statute.

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.

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 a person who is lawfully admitted into Canada for permanent residence and resides in Alberta.

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, and a Canadian citizen who resides in Alberta or a person who is lawfully admitted into Canada for permanent residence and resides in Alberta.

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.

Do I have to take a course to become a Commissioner for Oaths or a Notary Public in Alberta?

No.

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

To obtain an application package for a Commissioner for Oaths or a Notary Public, you can contact the Official Documents and Appointments branch of Alberta Justice at (780) 427-5981 in Edmonton (or dial 310-0000 for toll-free connection anywhere in Alberta).

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. 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.

The term is for two years from December 31st of the year in which the appointment is made.

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.

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

The Commissioners for Oaths Act and the Notaries Public Act are available on the Queen's Printer website(Search Laws Online).


See Also

For more information, see these other Canadian Legal FAQs.

External Resources


This page was last updated in September, 2010.


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