Tracey Stock Articles

New Rules and Procedures for Alberta Commissioners for Oaths - May 24th, 2015

Categories: Business Practises, Legal Counsel
Author: Tracey Stock

Effective April 30, 2015, commissioners for oaths in Alberta are governed by the new Notaries and Commissioners Act, SA 2013, c. N-5.5, and Commissioners for Oaths Regulation, Alta Reg 219/2014. The previous Commissioners for Oaths Act, RSA 2000, c. C-20, is repealed. There are several important features of the new legislation.

Commissioners must still endorse on documents their name, the date of the expiry of their appointment, if applicable, and the revised wording, “A Commissioner for Oaths in and for Alberta as section 17(1)(b) of Act states that, “A commissioner for oaths shall, on each document… legibly print, or stamp… next to the commissioner for oaths’ signature… the words “A Commissioner for Oaths in and for Alberta”. Common precedents and existing stamps tend to use the style, “A Commissioner for Oaths in and for the Province of Alberta.” They should be updated to remain compliant. The prior statute did not speak to the point. Section 17(2) adds, “A commissioner for oaths who fails to comply with this section is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of not more than $1000.” By choosing to articulate a style in quotes and to include a $1000 penalty in the current statute, the Alberta legislature has provided new and specific direction.

There are also new restrictions on the capacity of commissioners for oaths to administer oaths outside Alberta. Section 16(3) says that most Alberta commissioners cannot administer oaths outside the province. Valid oaths may be taken outside Alberta only by: (i) provincial MLA’s and federal parliamentarians from Alberta; (ii) Canadian Forces officers on fill-time service; and (iii) those who provide services as commissioners for oaths in the Saskatchewan part of Lloydminster. By implication, this leaves most Alberta commissioners appointed under section 15 unathorized to administer oaths outside the province. This is a change as the repealed Commissioners for Oaths Act allowed Alberta commissioners to administer an oath, affidavit, declaration, or affirmation outside Alberta by styling themselves as, “A Commissioner for Oaths outside Alberta”. Every other Canadian province, including Quebec, still allows commissioners to take affidavits outside their respective provincial boundaries. Inexplicably, Alberta has gone a different way.

There is a process managed by Albert Justice for members of the public to be appointed a notary public. A notary public can act outside Alberta. Successful applications have been relatively uncommon under the prior legislation. However, the new statute and a new Alberta government may change this pattern.

Appointment of existing commissioners continues under the new Act until expiry. The renewal period remains 3 years and the renewal fee is still $50. Anyone administering an oath without appropriate authority is subject to a maximum fine of $5,000, up from the previous $500 fine.

There is a code of conduct in the new regulation. It includes expectations that commissioners:

This regulatory code of conduct is consistent with themes in many professional organization’s own Codes of Conduct, but if there was ever a conflict then the regulatory code of conduct takes precedence.


Tracey Stock is a lawyer, engineer, and landman with extensive experience in corporate and commercial law, energy and mining law, intellectual property, mergers and acquisitions, land negotiations and administration, A&D, joint ventures, midstream, economic evaluation of oil and gas assets, and information systems development and management. He is a CAPLA member and serves as a director, vice president, and treasurer.