Paralegals to be commissioners for affidavits

Posted: 12/04/2012

Effective July 1, 2013, a new regulation will designate licensed paralegals as commissioners for taking affidavits by virtue of their office.

All licensed paralegals will be able to take affidavits without having to apply for a commissioner appointment and pay an appointment fee.

In addition, their commission will not expire unless their Law Society licence is revoked, surrendered or suspended.

Frequently Asked Questions

Note: These FAQs are for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. Please consult the Law Society if you have a question about how this information applies to your circumstances.

I am a licensed paralegal. How will the regulation affect me?

Under the new regulation, all licensed paralegals in Ontario will be designated as commissioners by virtue of office as of July 1, 2013.

As commissioners by virtue of office, licensed paralegals will be able to take affidavits without having to apply to the ministry for a commissioner appointment, and their commission will not expire unless their Law Society licence is revoked, surrendered or suspended.

I already have an appointment from the Attorney General naming me as a commissioner for taking affidavits. How does this change affect me?

When your existing commissioner appointment expires, you can continue to commission documents by virtue of office within the applicable limits set out in the regulation. You do not have to renew your appointment because your commissioner status does not expire while you hold your office.

Existing appointments are still valid until they expire, but your new status begins on the date specified in the regulation (July 1, 2013).

Commissioners who are currently using a ministry-authorized commissioner stamp may continue to do so until the expiry date or may choose to update their stamp to reflect their new status as of July 1, 2013.

You do not require a letter from the ministry indicating that you are a commissioner by virtue of office; the new regulation provides this authorization.

Do commissioners by virtue of office have to apply to the ministry for a commissioner appointment and pay an appointment fee?

No. Commissioners by virtue of office are legislatively granted commissioner status, so they do not have to apply to the ministry for a commissioner appointment, and they do not have to pay an appointment fee.

Do commissioners by virtue of office have to renew their commissioner appointment?

No. Commissioners by virtue of office do not have to renew their appointments because their commissioner status does not expire while they hold their office.

If my paralegal licence is revoked, surrendered, or suspended, will I still be a commissioner?

No. Once a person is no longer in the office that is conferred commissioner status by the legislation, her/his commission is no longer in effect. For example, if a paralegal’s license is revoked, s/he will no longer be a commissioner by virtue of office, and will be unable to exercise commissioner powers.

Do commissioners by virtue of office need to use a stamp?

No. Commissioners by virtue of office are not legally required to use a stamp.

Nonetheless, commissioners by virtue of office may wish to use a stamp as evidence of their authority as commissioners. A stamp will reduce the risk that affidavits and declarations will be questioned or rejected because a recipient cannot confirm the commissioner’s status.

Should a commissioner by virtue of office choose to use a stamp, the corresponding wording will not be subject to ministry approval.

Here is some standard wording as an example: Jane Doe, a Commissioner etc. for the Province of Ontario while being a licensed paralegal

The phrase “a Commissioner, etc.,…” is an abbreviation of the styling “A commissioner for taking affidavits in and for the courts in Ontario,” pursuant to the Commissioner for Taking Affidavits Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C.17, s. 4 (4).

Where can I find further information?

For further information, read this convenience copy of the regulation, or please see the links below. NOTE: These links may not yet be updated with information regarding paralegals.