What is a Notary Public?
In British Columbia it is either a legal officer appointed with specific judicial authority and has membership in The Society of Notaries Public of British Columbia, or a public officer appointed under authority of law, all of whom are empowered to administer oaths and affirmations for affidavits, to take declarations or other documents and to take acknowledgments, depositions or testimony. In British Columbia, these two different groups also have very different responsibilities and obligations in the performance of their duties.
Notaries who have been admitted as members of The Society of Notaries Public of British Columbia have undergone a rigorous course of studies for two years prior to being examined, both academically and by the Supreme Court of British Columbia.
Some of the duties of a Notary Public are to prepare wills, mortgages, powers of attorney, land transfers, business asset transfers, commercial leases and many other legal documents. Notaries also have access to provincial registries, which means that obtaining searches of public registries and submitting documents for registration, are among the services provided.
Notaries also provide official authentication or witnessing of signatures, certification of land related documents, certify a document as a true copy, provide affidavits of lost documents, name changes, Notarial certificates and certify protests relating to ships and cargo while at sea.