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Paralegal as Commissioner for Taking Affidavits

COVID-19 UPDATE: Paralegals seeking guidance on commissioning documents in the context of COVID-19 should consult the Law Society’s Frequently Asked Practice Management Questions regarding COVID-19. 

A commissioner for taking affidavits may take affidavits and administer other legal oaths, affirmations, or declarations in accordance with the provisions of the Commissioners for Taking Affidavits Act (the “Act”).   Section 1 of the Act and paragraph 4.1 of subsection 1(1) of O. Reg. 386/12 (made under the Act) provide that paralegals are commissioners for taking affidavits in Ontario by virtue of their office.  As a result, paralegals are not required to apply for a commissioner appointment or pay an appointment fee.

A paralegal who pays their annual fees at a lower fee category (i.e., 25% or 50%) or who is under a fee exemption (i.e., the paralegal has applied to the Law Society and been approved for a fee exemption because he or she is retired from providing legal services and over 65 years of age) may act as a commissioner.  No matter what the paralegal’s status, the paralegal should ensure that he or she does not provide any legal services when exercising his or her authority as a commissioner unless the paralegal is authorized to do so.

There are certain circumstances in which a paralegal may not act as a commissioner for taking affidavits.  If a paralegal surrenders his or her licence, or if the paralegal’s licence to provide legal services is suspended or revoked, the paralegal is no longer entitled to provide legal services and therefore may not continue to act as a commissioner for taking affidavits.  In addition, the paralegal’s commissioner status may also be revoked in accordance with the Act.

 Additional Resources:

Paralegal as Notary Public
Mobile Commissioning
Lawyer as Commissioner for Taking Affidavits
Lawyer as Notary Public

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