These are some of the roles and responsibilities of a notary public in Ontario
- Role and Responsibility of Notary Public: Our primary function as a Notary Public is to witness individuals signing documents. We are responsible for affirming that the individual known by the name on the document has indeed signed it. Our role does not extend to validating the content or the factual accuracy of the documents in question. This is primarily due to the impossibility of verifying such information and also because it is outside the jurisdiction granted to us under the Notaries Act. Consequently, the act of notarization should be understood as a testament to the execution of a document rather than an endorsement of its contents.
- Scope of Legal Advice: As an organization, we don’t offer legal advice to our clients nor do we operate as their legal representatives. It should be noted that our interaction with clients doesn’t establish a solicitor-client relationship, nor do we maintain clients in the traditional sense.
- Verification of Notarization: We do not affirm the act of notarization by discussing our verification process with external parties or third parties. Considering the high volume of documents we notarize on a monthly basis, such a process would be unfeasible. Instead, we employ the use of notary seals as evidence of notarization. This eliminates the need for additional verbal or written confirmation from us, as the seal itself serves as a standalone verification tool.
- Client Confidentiality: In accordance with regulatory bodies’ guidelines, we are obligated to maintain client confidentiality. Typically, we are unable to confirm or deny whether specific documents correspond with those in our records. However, the necessity for additional verification from us is generally non-existent. The original notarized document can be examined to establish the validity of the notarization. Physical documents containing our embossed seal are difficult to falsify, offering a reliable means of authentication. Conversely, digital documents are more prone to manipulation and forgery, which is why we place emphasis on the importance of original, sealed documents.
- Identity Verification: A core part of our practice includes verifying a client’s identity before proceeding with notarization. This means that if a document has been notarized by us, we have examined the client’s ID, recorded the relevant details, matched the name on the ID with the one on the document, and witnessed the client sign the document in person. Hence, a notarized document stands as sufficient proof that the signer’s identity has been verified, eliminating the need for additional verification from us.