A notary public is a person who can witness oaths, solemn affirmations, the signing of affidavits or statutory declarations. A notary public may also certify documents to be true copies of the original. In some jurisdictions, a notary public can also draft contracts, promissory notes, wills, mortgages and other legal documents. Almost always, the powers of a notary public in each province are derived from provincial legislation. For example: In Ontario, a notary public derives his or her authority from the Notaries Act which states: “[a] notary public has and may use and exercise the power of drawing, passing, keeping and issuing all deeds and contracts, charter-parties and other mercantile transactions in Ontario. It also involves attesting to all commercial instruments that may be brought before him or her for public protestation, and otherwise acting as is usual in the office of a notary public and having all the rights, profits and emoluments rightfully appertaining and belonging to the calling of notary public”. In requirement of a solemn declaration, the deponent must declare in the positive to the following inquiry: “Do you make this solemn declaration conscientiously considering it to be true and knowing that it is of the same force and effect as if made under oath”.
It is mandatory that the deponent be physically present before the notary public or commissioner of oaths.