Both affidavits and statutory declarations are formal, legally binding documents. But they are used for different purposes in Canada. Let’s discuss the differences between affidavits and statutory declarations and how these documents are made.
What is an affidavit?
An affidavit is a statement of facts made in writing. The person making the affidavit (the “affiant”) must swear a formal oath or make a solemn affirmation confirming that the contents of the affidavit are true. Affidavits are typically used in court proceedings. For example, an affidavit can be filed in a civil lawsuit or a family law claim as a way of providing evidence to the court. Affidavits often have documents attached to them (known as “exhibits”) to support what is stated in the affidavit.
What is a statutory declaration?
A statutory declaration is also a written statement of facts, but this document is typically used for purposes other than court proceedings. Examples include a Statutory Declaration of Common-law Union (for immigration purposes) and a Statutory Declaration of a lost, stolen or destroyed driver’s licence or passport (for the purpose of obtaining a replacement). BC’s Evidence Act and Canada’s Evidence Act set out specific wording for statutory declarations. The person making the statement (the “declarant”) must solemnly declare that they believe the facts stated to be true and acknowledge that the declaration they are making is of the same legal force and effect as if made under oath.
How do you make an affidavit or statutory declaration?
While affidavits and statutory declarations are used for different purposes, there are similarities in how these documents are made. Here is a general overview of the process for commissioning an affidavit or statutory declaration:
- You must be present before a commissioner of oaths (a BC notary public or lawyer, for example) who is permitted by law to take affidavits and statutory declarations.
- You must satisfy the commissioner of oaths of your identity, which is usually done by showing photo ID.
- The notary public or lawyer will ensure that you understand the document before the oath, affirmation, or declaration is administered to you. This is typically done by reading the document out loud.
- You must swear, affirm, or declare that the statements made in the document are true, then sign the document in the presence of the commissioner of oaths.
- The document must be dated and state the place of the signing, as well as the fact that it took place in the presence of a commissioner of oaths.
Need help making an affidavit or statutory declaration?
If you need a statutory declaration or affidavit, contact Invicta Law Corporation. Our lawyers and notaries offer same-day service to commission your affidavit or statutory declaration. We can help you draft and organize materials in support of these important legal documents.