Categories
Uncategorized

Privacy, confidentiality, and record keeping at walk-in notary

Even though we do not provide legal advice at Walk-In Notary, all of our notaries are lawyers that are registered with the Law Society of Ontario (LSO). That means that some of the rules and guidelines of the LSO apply to us when acting as notaries.

One of LSO’s requirements is record keeping. Lawyers are required to keep a record of the documents they notarize as well as the ID that they rely upon to identify an affiant. Therefore, when you have something notarized at our office we will be required to keep a record of your document and ID.

The good news is that the very same rules that require us to maintain a record of your ID also require us to adhere to strict privacy and confidentiality policies. Rest assured that we have never shared client information with a third party without the client’s consent. In fact, even with client consent, it is very rare that we will do so.

We do not keep hardcopies of your ID and documents. We keep a digital copy that is encrypted and stored on computers that are under lock-and-key and password-protected. Only notaries that work for Walk-In Notary have access to these documents.

There are many benefits to record keeping, including fraud prevention. By way of one example, imagine sending your document to a third party that alters the document in order to defraud you in some way. Our record is a sort of timestamp that creates evidence of exactly what you had signed and agreed to prior to sending out your document.

Categories
Uncategorized

Our covid-19 response

We take your and our staff’s safety very seriously. We were among the first businesses in our communities to close in response to the pandemic in March of this year. We have also been one of the last to reopen. All this, despite the fact that we never needed to close in the first place due to the fact that we meet the government’s mandatory closure exceptions. Rather, we chose to close out of an abundance of caution for your sake and ours.

WHAT WE ARE DOING?

PHASE RESPONSE – We wait until the Ontario government has announced at least a phase 2 in our community before reopening an office. This only occurs if the rate of transmission drops below a certain threshold.

LOCAL ASSESSMENT – We assess the level of risk on a city-by-city basis. Some of our offices open earlier than others as some of our cities are more impacted than others. We don’t reopen an office until we assess that it is safe to do so.

ENCOURAGE ONLINE SERVICE – We continue to encourage clients to use our online service when possible. This reduces the number of clients that attend our offices.

AIR PURIFIER – All of our offices are equipped with a Hepa Certified Air Purifier that is capable of capturing microdroplets which may carry the Coronavirus.

PLEXIGLASS PARTITION – All of our offices are equipped with a desktop plexiglass divider between the notary’s section of the office and the client.

HAND SANITIZER – All of our office contains hand sanitizers for the Notary as well as for the client.

EQUIPMENT SANITIZATION – We sanitize surfaces and payment machines between clients.

MASKS – All of our notaries and office staff wear masks throughout the day when serving clients.

MAX CAPACITY – We only allow a maximum of 2 people in our office, in addition to the notary, at any one time.

APPOINTMENTS – We are booking appointments in order to stagger visits from our clients to avoid having large groups of people congregating in our waiting areas.

WHAT WE NEED FROM YOU

If you suspect that you or someone that you are close to have contracted any viral infection please do not attend our office. If you are displaying any symptoms that are consistent with a viral infections (e.g. coughing, sneezing), even if you know it’s an allergy, please do not attend our office.

MASKS – Please wear a mask when attending any of our offices

NO ACCOMPANIMENT – Only people that have to be at our offices (i.e. people that have to sign a document) are allowed in. Do not bring anyone with you that does not have to be there.

COOPERATION – We ask you that you cooperate with our protocol for you safety and ours during this crises. Please keep in mind that our offices are private property. They are our personal spaces and you can only attend by invitation

Categories
Uncategorized

What is the difference between a lawyer, notary public, and commissioner of oaths?

This question comes up often. It can certainly be confusing to distinguish between the designations of Lawyer, Notary Public, and Commissioner of Oaths. Before we explain the distinction, rest assured that everyone that works at Walk-In Notary has all three of these designations, which means that at Walk-In Notary we can notarize or commission any kind of document in person, and often online as well.

All lawyers are automatically commissioners of oath. But not all commissioners of oath are lawyers. All notaries are lawyers but not all lawyers are notaries. Confused yet? We’ll try to clarify.

In Ontario when someone gets admitted to the Bar they not only become a lawyer entitled to practice law but they also become a Commissioner of Oaths. A Commissioner of Oaths is someone that administers an oath, usually for the purpose of swearing or affirming the truth of a written statement such as an affidavit or statutory declaration. What’s the difference between “swearing” and “affirming”? Swearing is religious and affirming is secular.

It is possible, however, to become a Commissioner of Oaths without being a lawyer. For example, some court clerks are provided with this designation so that they can administer an oath in court. This is not the case for Notaries, however. That is, in Ontario, in order to become a Notary Public an individual must first be a lawyer (there are exceptions to this provided to individuals such as members of parliament who require the designation to carry out their duties. However, the designation of Notary Public in this case does not entitle them to serve the public. They can only “notarize” internal documents related to their office).

Lawyers are not automatically given the “Notary Public” designation upon becoming lawyers. Rather, this additional designation is something that Ontario lawyers must apply for. This is not the case in the United States, for example, where almost anyone can become a Notary without having to go to law school and become a lawyer first. This approach enables more people to become notaries, which makes it easier to find a notary public. The Canadian approach is more prudent and is intended to mitigate the risk of fraud and malpractice by limiting the designation of Notary Public to lawyers only.

Categories
Uncategorized

Physical offices are closed (online available)

Please be advised that due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus all of of our
offices have temporarily shut down. Therefore, you cannot meet with any
of our Notaries in person.

However, we can notarized some documents online. To find out more
about this please visit our Online Notary page at:

https://www.walkinnotary.ca/online-notary/

Or simply email us at:

online@walkinnotary.com

Categories
Uncategorized

Coronavirus

We have implemented the following protocol at all of our offices to
minimize our and your risk:

    • We do not shake hands with our clients

 

    • We try to maintain a distance of 3 feet from our clients

 

    • We sanitize our offices surfaces every morning and when possible between client visit

 

We turn away clients that are symptomatic. If you have a cough or are visibly ill in a manner consistent with eh known symptoms of the COVID-10 virus please do not attend our office. We urge you to quarantine yourself and to contact health officials.

Also, please be advised that due to the nature of the outbreak and widespread closures we may have to close our office(s) with little to no notice. We may also not be able to operate in accordance with our regular hours of operation. Therefore, before attending our office please call to ensure that we are open.

Categories
Uncategorized

Get $10 off any of our services

Starting next week and throughout the month of December we will be
collecting non-perishable food items at all of our Walk-In Notary locations.
All the food will be donated to local food shelters.

Anyone that makes a donation will be entitled to a $10 discount off of any of our services.

Please help us help those in need.

Categories
Uncategorized

Affidavit exhibits

For those that are not familiar with “affidavits”, it is important to note that some affidavits contain exhibits as attachments. For an exhibit to be attached to an affidavit it needs to be mentioned in the affidavit. In some cases the notary would need to sign not only the affidavit but also the exhibits. How do you know if you need the exhibits notarized as well? Ask the person or organization that is receiving your document. The Notary would not know this or be able to advise you even if they did know (as that would be legal advice).

Please note that if your affidavit contains exhibits that the notary needs to sign then the notary will charge you a fee for signing each exhibit. For example an affidavit with 4 exhibits would require the notary to sign 5 times and as such the notary would charge you for 5 notarizations.

Categories
Uncategorized

What id do I need to bring?

We are often asked what sort of ID we require in order to notarize your documents. In most cases we only require one piece of valid government-issued identification with your photo on it. Here’s how we break that down:

Valid – This means that the ID is not expired. And is intact. Broken or torn ID is not valid.

Government-Issued – This means that the ID was issued by a government. Therefore, for example, credit cards are not sufficient ID (because they are no issued by a government nor do they contain a photo). Student ID is also not sufficient, because it not issued by a government. That said, it does not have to be the Canadian government. For example, we will accept a non-Canadian passport as ID.

Photo – The ID must bear a photo of you on it that resembles you. If the image on the ID does not resemble you, we cannot use it. This is an issue with old ID that contains an outdated photo of you. This is sometimes the case with Canadian citizenship cards as they do not expire.

Sometimes your form, document, lawyer, or third party, will require us to check more than one piece of ID. Please note this is not our requirement, it’s a requirement created by the person, organization, or government that is requesting your document. So please check your documents carefully prior to attending our office and if you find that two pieces are required, bring two pieces of ID.

Categories
Uncategorized

London walk-in notary office now open

We are pleased to announce the opening of our new Walk-In Notary Public office located at 341 Talbot Street, London, Ontario, N6A 2R5.

This location, like all the others, can be attended without an appointment during our walk-in hours, between 9 AM and 5 PM Monday to Friday.

Our London office can be reached by telephone at 226-977-8245.

Or by email at london@walkinnotary.com

There is free visitor parking adjacent to the our building. There is also plenty of street parking and several lots with reasonable rates in the area.

Categories
Uncategorized

English translation/interpretation

What happens if the person that requires our Notary service does not speak or understand English very well?

In this circumstance, an interpreter is required. And the interpreter must sign an Affidavit of Interpretation, stating that they interpreted to the best of their ability. This is required when a client comes into the office and there is a question about the level of understanding the client has regarding the Office Acknowledgment Form and the Document the client will be signing.

When signing a legal document the standard of English competency required is higher than in other contexts. For instance, when a Notary is administering an oath/declaration, the Notary must ensure the client understands this oath or declaration. Without this understanding, the oath is not valid. Drafting the Affidavit of interpretation, and administering the oath to someone who will ensure the client understands their own oath, is necessary for the validity of the Notarization. This extra step, protects both the client and the Notary against any questions of legitimacy regarding the Notarized document. The charge for drafting and administering the oath for an Affidavit of Interpretation is $89.99 plus tax. You may also draft this Affidavit yourself, therefore the charge would be $39.99 plus tax, for administering your oath. If you have any questions or require more information about this or any of our other services or policies, please do not hesitate to call us.