Please note that all of our offices are in buildings that share a common reception desk. The receptionist’s job is to let us know that you have arrived at our office. That is all. The receptionist does not technically work for Walk-In Notary. Therefore, the receptionist cannot answer questions about notarization, our pricing, when the notary will be ready to meet with you, etc. Therefore, we ask that you please refrain from asking the receptionist questions of this sort.

Furthermore, we understand that some of you may have an urgent matter and that you may be in a rush to be seen by a notary and have your document notarized. We ask that you wait in our lobby patiently. Most of our clients do not have to wait at all, or very long. However, because we are a walk-in it’s possible that, by chance, several people could walk-in at the same time or just before you and that means that you may have to wait a few minutes.

“Walk-in” means fast. And we are very fast indeed. But it does not mean immediately. Not always.


**update** – application for authorization and statutory declaration for the purposes of entry into canada for extended stay – covid 19

In our previous blog post we mentioned that we noticed a problem with this form. It appears that a lot of other people and organizations also noticed the problem. The government has also admitted to making a mistake in formatting this form. They have since corrected the form, which can be downloaded here:


Application for authorization and statutory declaration for the purposes of entry into canada for extended stay – covid 19

We have been seeing this form come up lately. Please note that, in our opinion, the form contains a formatting error. It is not clear where the client needs to sign. Worse, section 5 implies that the notary is supposed to state that the contents of the document are true. It should be the declarant (i.e. client) that states this, not the notary. The notary’s role is to ask the declarant to declare that statement in the notary’s presence. We have had to modify this form to comply with this rationale. We draft a note at the signature sight on the form explaining our modifications. We urge our clients to call and bring this issue to the attention of the recipient.


Notarizing Wills

We are often asked to Notarize wills.

The problem is that there are many ways to notarize a document. Sometimes clients ask us to “just stamp it”. Please note that our seals and stamps are not arbitrary. They must always be accompanied by some sort of statement. We cannot “just stamp” a document.

Let’s explore all the ways that a Will can be notarized:


In limited cases, we can notarize an original will by stating that we witnessed the Testator sign the will. This only applies to wills that will be used outside of Canada and where the client is certain that additional witnesses are not needed and affidavits of exection are not needed. For this to happen, the Testator has to attend our office with government-issued photo ID and sign in front of us, ideally along with one other witness.

2) AFFIDAVITS OF EXECUTION ONLY (our preferred method)

If a will has already been witnessed by two individuals then those witnesses can attend our office to sign affidavits of execution. An affidavit of execution is a document where someone swears that they saw someone else sign a document (in this case, a will). The notary will commission the affidavits and stamp the will with an exhibit stamp, making the will an exhibit to the affidavits.

This is usually the only option available in cases where the testator is not available, usually because the testator has died.


In this case we would make a photocopy of an original will and state on the photocopy that the copy is a true copy of the original which we have seen. Anyone can bring the original will for us to certify because we do not need to witness anyone’s signature.

Which is the right method? Should you choose 1, 2, or 3? Or all?

This depends entirely on what you are trying to accomplish and/or what a third-party has requested from you. For example, banks often require a certified copy of a will for their records. They might instruct you to “Notarize the will”. If that is the case, seek clarification. Ask: “Do you want me to have a notary witness the signature of the testator or do you want me to have the notary make a copy of the original will and certify that the copy is a true copy of the original?”

Please note, that in the example above, the Notary will not know what the bank wants from you. You have to find out. At Walk-In Notary, we do not contact third parties (i.e. the recipient) on your behalf. And without communicating with the recipient there is no way to know exactly what they require. You can read more about our policies and requirements on our instructions page.

For information regarding the administration of wills, we recommend carefully reviewing Ontario’s website on this topic.


What should I notarize?

Clients frequently ask us questions such as “Should I have this notarized?”
or “Do you know what I need notarized?”

Unfortunately it isn’t something that we can answer. Rather, we take our instructions about what to notarize from our clients, not the other way around. That is, we notarize documents that our clients tell us to notarize.

Whether or not the document needs to be notarized is not up to us. It’s up the client or whoever the client is submitting his/her documents to (i.e. the recipient). Therefore, it is best to ask the recipient whether the document needs to be notarized.

We often have to explain this to our clients. Sometimes the response we receive is “But you should know. You’re the notary. You deal with these documents all the time.”

This statement stems from a confusion. We are certainly experts at notarization. This means that we know the standards and rules we need to apply in order to correctly notarize a document. However, that does not mean that we can know what it is that needs to be notarized in your particular case.

There are several reasons for this:

1) We can’t know the requirements of every organization and third-party recipient to whom our clients send documents to. We see thousands of different kinds of documents every year and they are destined to thousands of different destinations and recipients, many of whom have different requirements. And some of these requirements change over time.

2) Even if we knew the requirements of every recipient, we might not know that in your particular case the recipient requires additional documentation. Keep in mind that there is no global standard for submitting documentation to a third party. It is NOT the responsibility of the notary to find out what applies in each particular case. This falls completely outside the scope of the service we provide.

3) Even if we knew the requirements of every possible recipient and we knew the special requirements in your particular case, we still would not be able to advise you. This is because at At Walk-In Notary we do not provide legal advice. This includes any advice that resembles legal advice, such as what it is that you should have notarized. This is the reason that our fees are a flat rate and much lower than that of a lawyer’s office. Legal advice costs money by the hour. It is not a service that we provide.

Therefore, if you do not know what you need notarized please find out by contacting the recipient. If you do know what you need notarized, instruct us to do so and we will notarize your document in minutes.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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:

Or simply email us at:



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.