Immigrating to Canada often involves providing affidavits or sworn statements that a document or a translation of a document is true and that you are the person who you claim to be. It is an essential part of verifying the validity of a document by having you swear to an oath that the information provided in the document is accurate.
Chances are that you will need an affidavit or sworn statement regarding one or more of your documents if you are immigrating to Canada. There are two types of officials in the province of Ontario that are authorized to take sworn declarations, although the functions they are authorized to perform differ slightly:
Commissioner of Oaths by virtue of office in Ontario:
This is a person who because of the office they hold is allowed to take affidavits in the province of Ontario:
- Members of the Assembly
- Judges of the Court of Appeal for Ontario, the Superior Court of Justice, and the Ontario Court of Justice
- Justices of the Peace
- Paralegals: (persons licensed to provide legal services in Ontario)
- Court Clerks.
Please note that a commissioner of oaths is not authorized to notarize documents.
This is a person authorized under Ontario’s Notaries Act to certify and notarize documents as true copies and to verify signatures. A notary public in Ontario is also usually a lawyer.
About Mary Zhang, Commissioner of Oaths
As a professional, licensed paralegal, Mary Zhang is also a Commissioner of Oaths by virtue of office and is authorized to take oaths and/or affidavits in Ontario. These include:
- Taking a sworn declaration (affidavit) regarding a common-law relationship. This is common when sponsoring a spouse, for example, and involves the following immigration form: IMM 5409.
- Form IMM 5409 is called a Statutory Declaration of Common-law Union and is sometimes needed when you are sponsoring a spouse for a family-based application.
- Taking a sworn declaration of custodianship. The form used is the following: IMM 5646
- Form IMM 5646 is called a Custodianship Declaration – Custodian for Minors Studying in Canada. It is used when a foreign-based family wishes to send a child less than 17 years old to study in Canada. Occasionally, an immigration official may even request a custodian for a youth 17 years or older. The custodian is an adult resident of Canada who agrees to take care of and give support to the youth during their studies in Canada.
- A letter of invitation
- This is used to prove the purpose of the visit of a relative from overseas who will be staying with you when they visit Canada. While you will have to write the letter yourself, guidelines can be provided, and the letter will then have to have an affidavit swearing to its authenticity.
- An affidavit taken for a translator who has translated a document into English and/or French, in which they testify that it is an accurate translation.
- This is when you use a translator who is NOT certified, in which case you will need an affidavit swearing to the accuracy of their translation.
- Travel Authorization Letter. This is an affidavit for a letter authorizing the travel of a dependent child.
- A travel authorization letter is used when a dependent child is either traveling alone or accompanied by only one parent. Canadian Border Services Agency officers will usually require one, to ensure that kidnapping or child trafficking is not involved. The travel authorization letter is signed by the parent NOT traveling with the child.
- A Statutory Declaration
- This is a written statement of facts, sworn to and signed before a commissioner of oaths (or a notary public). You generally must provide identification proving who you are.
- An Affidavit
- This is identical to a statutory declaration but is normally used within legal proceedings while a statutory declaration is generally used outside of court proceedings.
- A Sworn Declaration
- This is a list of facts that is sworn to before a Commissioner of Oaths (or a public notary) and the role of the commissioner is to confirm that your identity in your identity documents provided is the same as the identity of the person signing the sworn statement of facts. The actual content of the statement is not verified by the commissioner. That is your responsibility.
- An Affidavit of Identity
- When you lose or have stolen all your government-issued pieces of identification you will have to swear what is called an affidavit of identity in order to obtain new identity cards to replace the lost or stolen ones. The swearing process generally involves a third party who will swear that you are the person you say you are. The third party will need to prove their own identity with a government-issued ID. It is suggested you bring a family member as a third party although a close friend who knows you well is also acceptable.
- A Vehicle Ownership Transfer
- This is used when you buy or sell a car, van, or truck of some kind and there is no formal contract of sale. To ensure that you bought the vehicle in good faith and to protect the seller as well, it’s a good idea to swear to the transaction in front of a commissioner (or a notary) with both the buyer and the seller present and with government-issued ID to prove they are who they say they are.
- You must visit a Service Ontario location to register the change of ownership and bring the requested documentation. Go here for more information.
As you can see, Mary performs a number of services as a Commissioner of Oaths that you will likely need during the immigration process or during your process of settling into your new life in Canada. Buying a car might seem fairly routine, and in Canada it is.
However, if you decide to buy a used vehicle to save some money, a simple step like swearing a solemn oath with the seller in front of a commissioner of oaths will protect you from liability for owning a stolen vehicle for example. And that’s a nice protection for someone just getting used to life in Canada.
Mary Zhang provides Commissioner of Oaths services for the following areas:
- East Gwillimbury
- King City
- North York
- Oak Ridges
- Richmond Hill