The Role of Official Document Translation in International Activities

Perhaps you need to sell real estate in Argentina, and you need to appoint someone via a Special Power of Attorney to take care of the closing for you. To be accepted in Argentina, that Special Power of Attorney must be translated into Spanish. Maybe you want to retire in the Dominican Republic, and all your documents required by the authorities there are in French and need to be in Spanish.  Perhaps you want to enrol in an educational program in France, and your transcripts must be in French to complete your application. You plan on getting married in Cuba, and your wedding planner has just advised you that your birth certificate and Affidavit of Single Status need to be in Spanish.

Downtown Notary has recently added Official Document Translation services to its roster of service offerings after receiving many requests from people who find themselves in the situations set out above, or in a myriad of other circumstances requiring both individuals and companies to have documents translated from French to English, Spanish to English, English to French, English to Spanish, Spanish to French and French to Spanish. 

Official document translation is the translation of documents issued by government entities and other officially recognized institutions. Official documents comprise a large variety of documents, a non-exhaustive list of which can be found here. Certified translations mean that the translation is also certified by the translator preparing a certificate of accuracy that is attached to the front of the translation. A certified translation can be prepared by a certified translator, i.e. a translator who has been certified by the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario, or other accrediting body, or a non-certified translator who affixes the certificate of accuracy.  Notarized translations are certified translations that have also been notarized by a notary public. A notary public does not confirm the contents or accuracy of the translation, rather, they witness the translator’s statemen of accuracy.  Most governments, embassies, consulates, and other major institutions such as banks, educational institutions, religious organizations, and employers require translations to be certified before they will be accepted outright, or in order to proceed to the next steps of authentication and legalization.

Please note that it is important that the translation be prepared in accordance with the specifications set by the recipient institution to ensure acceptance.  Downtown Notary will work with you to ensure those requirements are met.

We offer a one-stop shop for clients with personal matters and business in French- and Spanish-speaking countries by providing official documents translations, certified translations, notarized translations, notarizations, authentication, legalization and drafting of documents required by embassies and consulates, such as affidavits. We can assist with translating and notarizing documents for use in all French- and Spanish-speaking countries.

To obtain a free quote, go the Downtown Notary website at and submit the requested information.

This blog post was prepared by Suzanne E. Deliscar, Lawyer-Linguist, Downtown Notary Guelph and Brampton. This blog post has also been cross-posted on the Intersecting Law and Languages Blog which can be found at

Notarize Your microFIT Program Documents Before the IESO 2017 Deadline

We have recently had several requests to notarize documents for contractors, consumers and other organizations applying to the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) microFIT renewable energy program.

Here we lay out what you need to know and how Downtown Notary can help you complete the application requirements before the deadline.

What is the microFIT Program?

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The microFIT Program supports the development of small renewable energy projects, including home and business solar panel installations. Program participants, such as home owners and others, are paid for the power they produce at a guaranteed rate. The Program aims to help them earn a return on their investment and contribute to a cleaner environment. 

What you need to know for your microFIT application  

For applicants to the microFIT program, there are some documents that must be taken to a Notary Public or Commissioner for Taking Affidavits. Downtown Notary can provide these services to help you submit your application quickly. The forms required by the IESO can be found here and include the Applicant Declaration, or Representative and Applicant Declaration Package.

The IESO will accept applications under the microFIT Program up to and including Thursday, December 28, 2017, or until the 150 MW procurement target is reached, whichever is earlier*. As of Friday November 24, 2017, the IESO’s bi-weekly microFIT report showed that 2 MW of the Program’s target were remaining.

To have your IESO documents notarized quickly and at a cost-effective price, call or book your appointment online now. 


* Source: IESO microFIT Program Update – November 14, 2017

Airport Mobile Notary Services: Now at Ottawa and Pearson International

It can happen to anyone. You're at the airport and realize that you need a consent to travel letter, power of attorney, emergency passport application, or another kind of notarized document.

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Fortunately, crisis can be averted. Downtown Notary is pleased to offer mobile notary services to the Ottawa/Macdonald-Cartier and Pearson International Airports on Saturdays and Sundays. Our mobile services are there to help as quickly as possible. The price is $200 plus the cost of notarization or commissioning.

If you're at the Ottawa Airport, call us at (613)707-2944.

For Pearson International in Toronto, call us at (647)799-3531.

Make sure you have time to catch your flight. Contact Downtown Notary today. 

The Notary’s Role in Ontario Real Estate Transactions: What we can and can’t do

Condo Sale_Downtown Notary

Ready to buy or sell property in Ontario? Property laws vary by province, and so does the extent of what role the notary is able to fulfil in transactions. 

At Downtown Notary we often get requests to prepare real estate transaction legal paperwork for buyers and sellers in British Columbia, Florida and many other places. It can be confusing to know what notaries can do, when in BC or Quebec, for example, a notary has the authority to prepare the legal documentation. The rules for Ontario notaries are different and we want to help you by providing information on what we can and cannot do. 

Here is what Ontario notaries can do:

  • Witness the signing of the real estate transaction paperwork, prepared by a lawyer 
  • Send the notarized documentation back to the lawyer in the other province/state

What Ontario notaries can’t do:

  • Prepare the legal documents, such as an Agreement of Purchase and Sale, Statement of Adjustment, etc.
  • Conduct and review the title search
  • Request other relevant searches, such as work orders, zoning, tax arrears, etc.
  • Receive, review and respond to requisitions
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To complete the above, buyers and sellers will need to retain the services of a real estate lawyer licensed to practice in the province of Ontario. 

At Downtown Notary we can witness the signing of your prepared documentation. We can also send it back to the real estate lawyer you have engaged outside of Ontario.

To have your documents notarized quickly and cost effectively, call or book your appointment online today. 

The Students' Guide to OSAP Affidavits - Updated 2017


Sad to say, but summer is winding down. For the post-secondary students amongst us, it's time to think about course selection, dorm room decor, and something decidedly less fun: OSAP.

The Ontario Student Assistance Program provides student loans and grants to post-secondary students, and for many an OSAP loan is essential for getting through the academic year. But for a student to get their loan, they have to go through the application process, which is about as fun as being in a forest without a compass. If you're like I was and go to a school that has a financial services department that is as organized as a five year old, then it is even less fun: like being in a forest riddled with poison ivy without a compass and WINTER IS COMING.

So how can you make the OSAP application process go as smoothly and stress-free as possible? Here are some tips:

  1. Read the application guide CAREFULLY AND CLOSELY to understand what supporting documents your application requires.  Unsure what you need to submit? Contact your university or college's financial services department. 
  2. If you have applied to OSAP before, make sure you have copies of the supporting documentation you provided with your previous applications.  I was asked to provide the same darn letter three years in a row and being able to print it and send it off saved me time and stress.
  3. PAY ATTENTION TO DEADLINES.  OSAP is not forgiving if you miss the application deadline, so make sure you know when everything needs to be submitted and follow through. Again, if you aren't sure about what deadlines apply to you, contact your university or college's financial services department.

In certain circumstances, you will be asked to submit an affidavit with your OSAP application as proof of your marital or parental status. An affidavit is a document that is sworn (i.e., that the contents of the affidavit are true) and signed before a notary public, like Downtown Notary. 

OSAP applications require affidavits if you are any of the following:

  • In a common-law relationship: You will need to provide an affidavit that is sworn and signed by you and your spouse confirming that you have been living together in a conjugal relationship for at least three years or are living together in a conjugal relationship and raising any children of whom you are both the natural or adoptive parents.
  • Separated: If you are separated but do not have a separation agreement, you will need to provide an affidavit detailing the date of separation. If you also have children, the affidavit must include the names and birth dates of your child(ren), the custody arrangements for your child(ren) and confirm that your child(ren) will be living with you full-time during the academic year.
  • Widowed: You will need to provide an affidavit confirming that you have children who will be living with you full-time during the academic year and includes the name and date of birth of your child(ren).
  • Single Parent/Guardian: If you have never been married but are a single parent or guardian of your child(ren), you will need to provide an affidavit confirming that you have children who will be living with you full-time during the academic year and includes the name and date of birth of your child(ren).

Affidavits sound more complicated than they really are, but unfortunately, OSAP does not provide any sample or blank affidavits that you can fill in yourself.

If you require assistance with an affidavit for an OSAP application, Downtown Notary can help. We can draft and notarize your OSAP affidavit for $45 (this includes a 25% student discount). Save time, money and hassle with our one-stop shop for OSAP affidavits - contact us today!

Back to the Future: Why Notaries Have to Watch You Sign in Person

One of the things that we here at Downtown Notary HQ get asked a lot is: Does the notary really need to witness the person signing in person, or can it be done remotely? Isn't there an app that could be used instead? Couldn't the notary witness the person signing over Skype or FaceTime or some other wonder of the 21st century?

The answer to all of those questions is no. While the laws in some other jurisdictions permit notaries to do things like witness electronic signatures or conduct notarizations remotely, the law in Ontario requires that a notary witness signatures in person or inspect the physical copies of documents in order to complete any notarization.

Yes, we know that this is extremely old-fashioned and that Ontario needs to get with the times. The last time the Ontario Notaries Act was revised was in 2001, when electronic signatures and video calls were still years away.

So, what can you do when you want an easy and convenient way to get something notarized that won't take hours of time? Call Downtown Notary. Our flexible hours, convenient locations and quick and easy processes make getting something notarized simple and painless - even when it's done the old-fashioned way. Contact us for more information - we're here to help!

Why You Need a Power of Attorney - Yes, You!

Usually, we here at Downtown Notary attempt to be somewhat humorous in our blog posts, because let’s be honest, notary stuff is typically not the most interesting.  In this blog post, we are going to take a more serious turn to discuss something that is very important to us: powers of attorney.

A power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone else - your “attorney” - the power to act on your behalf.  In Ontario, there are three kinds of powers of attorney - a power of attorney for personal care, a continuing power of attorney for property and a non-continuing power of attorney for property. In this blog post, we will only be discussing powers of attorney for personal care and continuing powers of attorney for property. 

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A power of attorney for personal care lets your attorney make personal care decisions on your behalf if you become mentally incapable of making them for yourself.  Your attorney becomes your substitute decision-maker for making personal care and medical decisions, such as whether you will receive or decline certain medical treatments. A power of attorney for personal care ensures that a person you trust is making important decisions about your care, and will also hep to make sure that your personal care wishes are respected.

A continuing power of attorney for property lets your attorney manage your financial affairs and allows the person you name to act for you even if you become mentally incapable. This includes managing your bank accounts, making bill and rent payments and making purchases on your behalf. A continuing power of attorney for property means that a person you trust will be able to oversee your finances when you are unable to.

For many of us, ourselves included, talking about, let alone planning for, some of the more difficult stuff in life - what happens to us when we get sick or otherwise become unable to care for ourselves - is very hard. Maybe we feel that we have lots of time to figure that out, or perhaps there is a bit of denial that we will ever need to deal with a situation like that.  Maybe it’s just not something we want to think about.

Unfortunately, not taking the time to plan for the what-ifs when we are most capable of planning for them often means that by the time our situations change and we need someone else to take care of our personal care and finances, making powers of attorney may be very difficult or no longer possible. The result is that we or our friends and family are left scrambling to figure out how to pay our bills or make sure our medical care wishes are respected. This makes difficult situations even harder for everyone.

We here at Downtown Notary want to encourage you, maybe even challenge you a little bit, to start talking and planning for the what-ifs now. A great place to start is making powers of attorney. Creating powers of attorney is a very easy and simple way to start planning for the more difficult what-ifs in life, and will give you piece of mind knowing that someone you trust will be able to take care of your personal care and finances when you are not able to.

In Ontario, the Ministry of the Attorney General has created a free, very simple, easy to use power of attorney kit that contains templates for both a power of attorney for personal care and a continuing power of attorney for property.  All you need to do is properly completed and sign the documents and have them witnessed by two people who are not your family members and they will be legally binding.

We recommend that you have your powers of attorney witnessed and notarized by a notary public. Firstly, notarizing your powers of attorney assures others that the signature on the documents is genuine and the documents are legitimate. Secondly, many financial institutions will not accept powers of attorney for property unless they are notarized. We suggest that you contact your bank or financial institution for more information on their specific requirements for validating continuing powers of attorney for property.

This is a very high level overview of powers of attorney. For more detailed information, we suggest you read the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee’s “Powers of Attorney and Living Wills: Some Questions and Answers”.  Please also be aware that this blog post does not in any way constitute legal advice and is not a substitute for speaking to a lawyer. You may wish to speak to a lawyer regarding any specific questions you may have about powers of attorney.

If you want to have powers of attorney notarized, we can help! Contact us or book your appointment online.

Does the Notary Have to Watch Me Sign? And Other Jurisdictional Issues

In most jurisdictions, including Ontario, the law requires a notary public to witness the signing of a document in person before he or she can notarize the document. Usually, this is pretty easy. 

But what if you are outside your home town, province or country and you need to get a document notarized for use back home? For example, you’re visiting Vancouver but need to sign closing papers for a house you bought back home in Toronto. 

Or what if you need something notarized for use in another town, province or country? For example, you are selling property you own in Florida but you live and work in Toronto and can’t get down to Florida in time to sign the selling documents. 

Luckily, the solution is still pretty easy: simply visit a notary wherever you are and have them notarize the documents for you and send the documents to where they need to go.  This is also known as “notarizing a document for use in another jurisdiction.” If you are in another country, you may need to have the notary’s signature authenticated for use outside of that country - check with the notary and your lawyer (if applicable) to see if this is required and what the process is.

Downtown Notary has helped many clients with signing documents for use in many other jurisdictions, including mortgage documents, powers of attorney, affidavits, etc. We can liaise with your lawyer, mortgage broker or other professional to help you quickly and easily complete your documents. Contact us today to learn how we can assist you.

Downtown Notary's 2nd Anniversary

They say time flies when you're having fun, and it's hard to believe that two years have gone by since the start of Downtown Notary. What started as a "some day" idea in the mind of an intrepid law student became a small scale notary service with one location which turned into a collective of notaries operating in six locations in Toronto and in three other cities (soon to be four!).  We have helped over 2000 people with their notary and commissioning needs - so what have we learned along the way?

First, anyone who says being a notary is boring is WRONG. Yes, it's a lot of paperwork. Well, it's all paper work, and some of us like paperwork. But beside that, there are hundreds of different kinds of documents that need notarizations - every week there is something new that we haven't seen before. It's also helpful that our clients are great - every week we get to help people by providing easy and affordable notarizations that save them time and hassle.

Second, being a great notary is not just about signing and stamping documents, although that's obviously a large part of it! Being a great notary means providing great customer service to every client. That means being flexible, helpful and friendly. Let's be honest: getting a document notarized isn't high on everyone's list of fun things to do.  Despite this, we aim to make your experience with our notaries a good one.  Every time one of our clients says to us, "That was so easy!", we know we are meeting our high standards for our customer service.

We want to thank all of our amazing clients over the past two years for supporting Downtown Notary. It's been an amazing journey, and we can't wait to see where we go next.


What (or Who) is a Guarantor for a Passport?

We often get asked whether our notaries can be guarantors for passport applications. Yes, we can - but you probably don't need one!

A guarantor is someone who guarantees something.  To answer our own question, a guarantor for a passport application is someone who confirms the identity of the person who is applying for a passport.

Until just a few years ago, a guarantor had to be someone who was in one of the professions or occupations accepted by Passport Canada, like a doctor or lawyer.  Passport Canada would be able to verify the identity of the guarantor through membership directories of those professional or occupational groups.  

Passport Canada now allows persons who are 18 years older and hold valid Canadian passports to be guarantors.  A guarantor has to have known the applicant for two years and be accessible to the passport program to answer verification questions.  

Easy, right? Well, mostly.

Sometimes, it's impossible to find a a person who meets the requirements to be a guarantor for a passport application. In these cases, it's still possible to get a passport - but you'll need to complete a form PPTC 132 "Statutory Declaration in Lieu of Guarantor".  The form is not available online (we learned this the hard way), but can be picked up from any passport office.  The "Statutory Declaration in Lieu of Guarantor" form must be sworn to or declared before, and signed by, a notary public or commissioner for taking oaths.

For more information on how to get a Canadian passport, visit the Government of Canada's webpage on passports.  Want to know more about our notary services? Call us at 647-799-3531 or email us at  

What is a Certified True Copy?

This is a question that we get asked a lot. Like many legal-ish terms, it seems pretty straightforward but is just unclear enough that it’s hard to be sure.

A certified true copy of a document is a copy that has been verified by a notary as an exact copy of the original document. Common types of certified true copies are copies of identification, like birth certificates, passports and driver’s licences, and are frequently required for applications for immigration and professional certification.

It works like this: the notary closely compares the original document and the copy. Once the notary is satisfied that the copy is real, they write (or stamp) on the document “Certified True Copy of Original Document”, sign it, date it and stamp it with their notary seal. Voila, a certified true copy.

Need a certified true copy? Let Downtown Notary help! Call us at 647-799-3531 or email us at


Downtown Notary is Growing - Again!

The notary world is generally not full of exciting announcements, but we think this one is pretty special: Downtown Notary is expanding! Specifically, in Guelph, Brampton, and Orangeville! 

We will be welcoming Suzanne Deliscar, an experienced lawyer-linguist and notary public, who will be offering notary public services in Guelph, Brampton and Orangeville. She will also be offering certified official document translation services, as well as notarization for documents to be used in Argentina. Suzanne shares Downtown Notary's dedication to excellent customer service. To learn more about Suzanne, please visit her website.

We are really looking forward to offering our convenient and affordable notary public services to more and more communities across Ontario.

To learn more about our new locations, please visit the new Downtown Notary website.  If you have any questions about our new locations, please email us at

We will be continuing to add new notaries to our network as we grow across Ontario.

Downtown Notary is an excellent way for lawyers to expand their practices. It's also ideal for new lawyers who are interested in learning new skills and gaining legal experience.  Notaries who work with Downtown Notary are able to set their own schedules and locations of work, making it a great option for lawyers who require a lot of flexibility in their schedules.

The ideal candidate is:

  • A motivated problem-solver with an attention to detail;
  • Enjoys working independently but is not afraid to ask colleagues for help;
  • An excellent communicator, with strong interpersonal skills and the ability to deal with difficult situations with tact and kindness;
  • Flexible and able to accommodate the diverse needs of clients; and
  • Committed to excellent customer service.

Applicants must be members in good standing of the Law Society of Upper Canada and notaries for the Province of Ontario, or in the process of getting their notarial certification from the Government of Ontario.

If you are interested in joining the Downtown Notary, please send an email to outlining your qualifications, why you want to be a part of Downtown Notary and describing a situation in which you provided excellent customer service.

Hello, Davisville!

Our customers love how easy and convenient Downtown Notary's services are.  We pride ourselves on striving to work around our clients' needs, not the other way around.

To serve our customers even better, Downtown Notary is excited to announce that we will be offering our notary public services in Davisville at Yonge Street and Davisville Avenue. This location is conveniently located right at Davisville Station, and just one subway stop away from Yonge and Eglinton and and Yonge and St. Clair. Appointments will be available from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 9 pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 12 pm to 6 pm. As always, we will continue to offer mobile and house call notary services in midtown Toronto. We are looking forward to being a part of this thriving and vibrant neighbourhood!

Meet the Notaries: Kristen Lai

Q. How did you end up working in law?

My undergraduate degree was in business and during my time in university I noticed that there were strong ties between the corporate and legal world. I decided to pursue a law degree after I graduated because of my interest in legal and corporate relationships. While in law school I ended up favouring constitutional law and civil litigation, and human rights. As a result, I worked with the Ministry of the Attorney general for a while and got to work on a ton of exciting cases where I felt I was making a difference in the public sector.

Q. Why did you become a notary?

I became a notary because I wanted to work closely with individuals and get to know them on a more personal basis.

Q. What's the best thing about being a notary?

The best thing about being a notary is being able to help people in a variety of different situations.

Q. Why do you work with Downtown Notary?

I work with Downtown Notary because I believe that the process of notarizing and commissioning documents doesn't have to be difficult, expensive, or inconvenient. So many clients are surprised by how easy and quick it is!

Notary Services at Toronto Pearson International Airport

Downtown Notary is pleased to offer mobile notary services to the Toronto Pearson International Airport on Saturdays and Sundays. Whether you need a consent to travel letter, an emergency passport application, or any other kind of notarized document, we will be there to help.  Mobile services to Pearson Airport are $200 plus the cost of notarization or commissioning. Call us at 647-799-3531 and never miss a flight again!

Hello, Leslieville!

Since opening in October 2014, Downtown Notary has helped hundreds of people with our affordable and easy notary services. In just over a year, we have grown from one location on Queen Street West to four locations all across Toronto to meet the needs of our clients.

To serve our customers even better, Downtown Notary is excited to announce that we will be offering our notary public services in Leslieville at Queen Street East and Logan Avenue. Appointments will be available from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 9 pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 12 pm to 6 pm. As always, we will continue to offer mobile and house call notary services in east Toronto.

 Hello, Leslieville!

Hello, Leslieville!

How to Find a Lawyer

Here at Downtown Notary, we provide quality, affordable notary public and commissioner for taking oaths services.  What we don't do is provide legal advice.  We are often asked if we can recommend or refer our customers to a lawyer for things like wills or sales of property. 

One of the best ways to find a lawyer in Ontario is to use the Law Society of Upper Canada's Lawyer Referral Service. The Lawyer Referral Service will give you the name of a lawyer or licensed paralegal who will provide a free consultation of up to 30 minutes to help you determine your rights and options. The Service can be accessed via their website, or you can call them at 1-855-947-5255 or 416-947-5255, Monday to Friday between 9 am and 5 pm.

If you have a question regarding a document that needs notarizing or commissioning, please contact us and we will be happy to assist.

Meet the Notaries: Mario Delgado

Q.  How did you end up working in law?

I had been part of the debate team in high school and really enjoyed it in addition to having always had a passion for reading and writing so I went to law school and here I am.

Q. Why did you become a notary?

I thought it was an important service that is needed by the public and I thought as I lawyer I was in a position to provide it.

Q. What's the best thing about being a notary?

Having the chance to to out and about in the city and enjoying the sunshine and fresh air as I shuttle between appointments (except when it snows! or rains or there is a polar vortex!).

Q. Why do you work with Downtown Notary?

I love the flexible, hassle free mobile model. It makes my working day interesting and varied and adds value to our clients.

Meet the Notaries: Diann Chea

Diann joined Downtown Notary in August 2015.  She received her Juris Doctor in 2014 from Osgoode Hall Law School.  She was called to the Ontario bar in 2015 and is a member of good standing with the Law Society of Upper Canada.  She's primarily responsible for the Forest Hill location, though she also does mobile appointments all over the city.  Read what our clients are saying about Diann here.

Q. How did you end up working in law?

DC: I wanted to help make a positive change so I decided to go to law school.

Q. Why did you become a notary?

DC: My friend Alison had a business providing mobile notarial services and asked me to join.

Q. What's the best thing about being a notary?

DC: I like the flexibility and meeting new people!

Q. What's the most interesting document you have notarized?

DC: I think the people I notarize documents for are far more interesting than the documents. The documents have been pretty standard, at least the ones I've come across.

Q. Why do you work with Downtown Notary?

DC: My colleagues are wonderful and I enjoy the work!