In British Columbia, Commissioners for Taking Affidavits are appointed under section 56 of the Evidence Act, RSBC 1996, c.124.
The Ministry of Justice administers the commissioner appointment program through the Order in Council Administration Office.
Most appointed commissioners are restricted in the types of services they provide and the circumstances in which services are provided. Commissioner appointments only permit commissioners to do what is stipulated in their appointment forms. Their services must be directly related to the business of their employer or volunteer organization.
To be appointed as a commissioner for taking affidavits, an applicant must have a legitimate requirement for the appointment, based on their employment or connection with a volunteer organization.
Is this the same as a Commissioner of Oaths?
Yes. A Commissioner for Taking Affidavits may administer oaths and affirmations and take affidavits and statutory declarations as permitted or required by law.
Under section 29 of the Interpretation Act, RSBC 1996, c. 238, 'oath' includes an affirmation, a statutory declaration or solemn declaration made under the British Columbia Evidence Act , RSBC 1996, c 124, or the Canada Evidence Act, RSC 1985, c. C-5.
Please Note: An appointment as a Commissioner for Taking Affidavits does not authorize a person to certify or verify documents.
Where Can I Find a Commissioner?
Lawyers and notaries public are always commissioners. Usually at least one person at the government agent's office is also a commissioner.
Effective September 1, 2015, (B.C. Reg. 142/2015) designates the following groups of employees as Commissioners for Taking Affidavits for British Columbia because of their office or employment:
- Family Justice Counsellors appointed under section 10 of the Family Law Act
- Child Support Officers and Local Managers employed in the Family Justice Services Division of the Justice Services Branch of the Ministry of Justice
- Family Search Officers, Managers and Directors employed in the Maintenance Enforcement and Locate Services Division of the Justice Services Branch of the Ministry of Justice
- Customer Service Representatives and Senior Customer Service Representatives employed in the Service BC division of the Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services
- Local Managers, Regional Managers, Assistant Deputy Wardens, Deputy Wardens, Wardens, Deputy Provincial Directors and Provincial Directors employed in the Corrections Branch of the Ministry of Justice
- Under the regulation, articled students within the meaning of the Legal Profession Act may also act as commissioners.
As a result, these groups will automatically be designated as Commissioners for Taking Affidavits and will no longer have to apply through the Order in Council Administration office for a commissioner appointment.
You may also access Commissioners for Taking Affidavits in Service BC offices throughout the province.
Can Registrars Act As Commissioners?
It is appropriate for registrars to act as commissioners for taking affidavits if the documents are for use in a matter currently before the BC courts.
However, registry staff are cautioned to not perform a double role - for example, by swearing an affidavit in support of a garnishing order and then issuing the garnishing order as the Registrar.
As long as the affidavit is sworn by a registrar other than the one who actually issues the process, there would be no conflict of interest.
The cost is $40.
Source: Supreme Court Registrar's Newsletter, Supreme Court Civil Rules, Rule 22-2
Ministry of Justice, Commissioners for Taking Affidavits.
Ministry of Justice, Applying for an Appointment as a Commissioner for Taking Affidavits.
Ministry of Justice, Information and Instruction Guide for Commissioners for Taking Affidavits for British Columbia