Toronto Notary


Notary duties to a client with disabilities

  Notaries, on occasions are required to check/verify the identity of an individual and witness their signature. However, some clients may have disabilities which prevent them from performing the act of signing.
The following two provisions of the Ontario Human Rights Code clarify the rights of an individual in this situation,
Section 1, “…… everyone has the right to access publicly available services without discrimination based on disability…..”; and
Section 3 - “Every person having legal capacity has a right to contract on equal terms without discrimination because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, marital status, family status or disability.”
While providing services which are free from discrimination, Notaries need to be cognizant of the fact that the Ministry of Attorney General has not released any guidance relating to these issues.
A disabled client can simply make a mark or use a signature stamp. In these circumstances, a Notary may consider making a note beside the signature stating, “[insert person’s name] is a party under disability and has made their mark in the signature area. I have confirmed their identity and witnessed them signing their mark indicating their intent to be bound by the contract.”
Alternatively, a Notary can request that the client/signer be accompanied by a witness. In the presence of the Notary and the witness the client may simply affix their “mark” or use their signature stamp on a document. The Witness should then swear an affidavit stating:
1.  Who they are.
2.  That they witnessed the person make the mark.
3.  That the client/signer indicated they were intent on being bound by any provisions in the document being signed.
4.  Other pertinent details such as dates, times, locations etc.
The Notary would then require the Witness to swear an oath finalizing the affidavit. The Notary would affix their seal as usual while stapling the affidavit to the document.
Either process should be sufficient and is largely dependent on the preferences of the individual Notary.
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