The Minister of Justice can appoint certain people to act as commissioners for oaths. The commissioners can then administer oaths throughout Québec and, if their appointment allows it, in another province or territory of Canada or in another country.
Commissioner for oaths have the official title of “Commissioner for Oaths for Québec” or, as the case may be, “Commissioner for Oaths for Québec and for outside Québec”.
In addition to the people appointed by the Minister of Justice as commissioners for oaths, the following may, by virtue of their position, administer oaths:
- clerks of a court of justice and their deputies ;
- advocates and notaries ;
- mayors, clerks and secretary-treasurers of a municipality, but only in the territory of the municipality ;
- the Secretary General, the associate secretaries general and the associate secretaries of the National Assembly ;
- justices of the peace.
Powers and restrictions
For a proceeding or document intended for use in Québec, a commissioner for oaths may:
- administer an oath in Québec (and outside Québec, if authorized to do so);
- charge a maximum fee of $5 per oath.
Commissioners for oaths may not
- receive, under oath, an affidavit made by a close relative (father, mother, brother, sister, spouse or child);
- as part of their duties, attest that a copy of a document is identical to the original. The person presenting the copy can make an oath before a Commissioner that it is identical to the original, but this does not make the copy an authentic document. Only the person having custody of an authentic document (such as a notary, in the case of a notarized will, or the registrar of civil status, in the case of an act of birth) can attest that a copy of such a document is also authentic.
Commissioners for oaths are not required to verify the accuracy of a statement sworn under oath; the person making the oath is responsible for the content of the resulting document.
However, commissioners for oaths may refuse to administer an oath if they note that:
- the document is not in the required form, is visibly incorrect or contains gratuitous or offensive statements;
- the person making the oath does not appear to be in full possession of his or her faculties or does not appear able to express his or her wishes.
Commissioners for oaths must require the person making the oath to sign the document in their presence, since the commissioner must be able to attest to both the oath and the person’s signature.
A court may rule that an oath is without value if irregularities have occurred in the performance of the commissioner’s duties.
To become a commissioner for oaths
Any person may become a commissioner for oaths. A prospective commissioner must complete and sign the form Application to be Appointed as a Commissioner for Oaths , available on the website or from the customer service division of the Register of Commissioners for Oaths.
To change contact information
A commissioner for oaths can notify a change of contact information (new address, new E-mail address, etc.) using the form Change of Contact Information Application, also available on the website of the Register of Commissioners for Oaths.