Commissioner of Oaths

What is a Commissioner of Oaths?

Commissioners of Oaths have the power to administer oaths required by legislation or regulation.

In addition to the persons authorized by the Minister of Justice to act as a Commissioner of Oaths, the following, by virtue of their office, may receive oaths:

  • Clerks, Treasurers & Deputy-Clerks in all municipalities, but only within the limits of their municipality;
  • Lawyers entitled to practice Law in Ontario;
  • Members of the Assembly (M.P.P.);
  • Provincial Judge & Justices of the Peace (these Commissioners of Oaths may also commission documents).

For a complete list refer to the Commissioners for taking Affidavits Act.

Commissioner of Oath Details

Commissioners of Oaths may, during their appointment, receive oaths only in the judicial district or districts where they have jurisdiction but the oaths are valid in all courts of justice, in all judicial districts of Ontario, unless a court determines that an oath is invalid because of irregularities in the administration of the oath.

Commissioners of Oaths are not required to verify the truthfulness of the facts alleged in an affidavit being sworn, but must ensure that the affidavit is properly completed and that the person is in full possession of his or her mental faculties.

Deponents are responsible for the statement of the facts to which they are swearing. They must sign the document in the presence of the Commissioner of Oaths even though they may have previously signed it, because the Commissioner must be able to attest to the deponent's oath and signature.

The Commissioner of Oaths must be satisfied about the authenticity of the deponent's or declarant's identity and signature before a he or she can sign the document themselves. The deponent's or declarant's signature can usually be confirmed through comparing the signature on a piece of identification such as a driver's licence or on a provincial health insurance card.

You are required to present one original piece of original government-issued photo identification (no copies permitted) i.e. a valid driver's licence.

Commissioners will not sign Wills, "Living Wills", Codicils to Wills, Powers of Attorney, Divorce, Separation, Custody, Theft, Financial or Real Estate related documents.

It is recommended that you contact the office in advance to ensure a signing authority will be available.


A Notary Public and a Commissioner of Oaths are both public officials who are granted the authority to do certain things by provincial statutes.

For notaries, the governing statute is the Notaries Act (Ontario) and for Commissioners, it is the Commissioners for taking Affidavits Act (Ontario).

The powers of a Commissioner of Oaths are limited to acts involving affidavits and statutory declarations.

Notary is a public officer who receives and writes the contract, obligations, testament, transactions and other voluntary act as well as official deed. The neutrality and official deed characterizes the notary, which is different from the role of lawyer. The lawyer is not a public officer, defending the interests uniquely for his customers. The lawyer is impartial.

The Town of Penetanguishene does not have a Notary Public and cannot notarize documents or certify true copies. Documents requiring a "Notary Public services" cannot be commissioned at the Municipal Office. 

A list of Notary Publics and lawyers who notarize documents can be found in your local phone directory. Local solicitors, justice of the peace or similar vocations are eligible to notarize documents as "Notary Public".

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