How do I swear an affidavit during COVID-19?
An affidavit is a written statement that you sign after you swear or affirm an to say that the information in the statement is true. You must usually do this in front of a notary public or commissioner for taking affidavits. This person also signs and dates the form. This is called commissioning an affidavit.
Because of the COVID-19 situation, it may be difficult to swear your affidavit in-person. Under normal situations, you can usually find a commissioner at the court or a Service Ontario centre and they will commission your affidavit for free. Other people can also commission your affidavit, for example, a lawyer, notary public, judge, or paralegal. But they may charge you a fee.
This may no longer be possible. This is because the places where you would usually go to swear your affidavit may be closed, not open to the public, or have reduced hours.
As a result, some Ontario courts are allowing you to swear your affidavits in different ways.
The Law Society of Ontario
As of August 1, 2020, the Law Society of Ontario (LSO) has said that where it is not possible to commission an affidavit in person, the affidavit may be by video conference.
The LSO has developed a Remote Commissioning Checklist for lawyers and paralegals who “virtually commission” documents. For example, you can sign a document in front of a lawyer or paralegal using Skype, Zoom, or FaceTime. Then you have to send the original document to them so they can sign as a .
And where it is not possible to commission an affidavit by video conference, you may be able to an unsworn affidavit with the court. But, you may have to swear or affirm the affidavit in a telephone or video conference hearing.
All courts may not accept this process for affidavits. You must check with your local court.
More information and help
For more help with:
- Civil law matters call Pro Bono Ontario’s Free Legal Advice Hotline at 1-855-255-7256
- Family law matters call the Law Society of Ontario’s emergency family law referral line at 416-947-3310 or 1-800-268-7568
You can also call your local court for more information.