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How do I swear an affidavit during COVID-19?

How do I swear an affidavit during COVID-19?
April 15, 2020

An affidavit is a written statement that you sign after you swear or affirm an oath 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.

Ontario Superior Court of Justice: Civil and Family law affidavits

If you can’t swear your affidavit in person, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (SCJ) is letting you file an unsworn affidavit. You will then have a telephone or video conference where you swear or affirm that the information is true.

Section B.6 of the notice from the SCJ has more information.

The Law Society of Ontario

The Law Society of Ontario (LSO) has developed a Virtual 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 witness.

Courts may not accept this process for affidavits. You must check with your 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.

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