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When can I use a Commissioner for Oaths and when do I need a Notary Public?

Updated: Nov 7

In Saskatchewan, Commissioners for Oaths and Notaries Public have similar roles and duties. What is the difference? Let's take at look at the law.

Commissioners for Oaths are primarily governed by The Commissioners for Oaths Act, 201, SS 2012, which outlines in section 4 their powers :

Powers of commissioners

4(1) A commissioner has the power to administer oaths and take and receive affidavits, affirmations and declarations for use in Saskatchewan.

(2) The powers of a commissioner may be exercised within or outside of Saskatchewan.

Notaries Public receive their powers through section 3 of the Notaries Public Act, RSS 1978, c N-8:


3 Every Notary Public shall during pleasure have, use and exercise the power of drawing, passing, keeping and issuing all deeds and contracts, charter-parties and other mercantile documents in Saskatchewan, and also of attesting all commercial instruments that may be brought before him for public protestation and otherwise acting as usual in the office of Notary, and may demand, receive and have all the rights, profits and emoluments rightfully appertaining and belonging to the calling of Notary Public.

Although not a statute or regulation, we can look to government websites and resources to help us define what "acting as usual in the office of a notary" can mean. Under the government of Saskatchewan's website, the duties are outlined:

  1. Duties

A Notary Public can:

  • Administer oaths (attest to the truth of a statement);

  • Administer and receive affirmations (can be used if a person objects to being sworn on the basis of religious belief and is as binding and effective as an oath);

  • Receive declarations (a written account of truth);

  • Issue deeds and contracts (for more about the elements of an enforceable contract view my blog post), charter-parties and other mercantile documents in Saskatchewan; and

  • Attest to commercial instruments (documents) brought before him or her in Saskatchewan.

Examples of what a Notary Public can do include:

  • Signing of passport documents;

  • Certifying copies of documents such as birth certificates;

  • Certifying documents regarding homesteads;

  • Swearing or affirming affidavits; and

  • Issuing of a deed or contract (for more about the elements of an enforceable contract view my blog post);


In Saskatchewan, a Notary Pubic can perform all of the powers of a Commissioner for Oaths, but has additional powers. Administering oaths, receiving affirmations and declarations can be performed by either a Notary Public or a Commissioner for Oaths, but if something falls into one of the other powers of a Notary listed above, a Notary Public would be required. Joseph S. Phillip Gelinas of Gelinas Limited Scope Legal Services is available to provide commissioning and notarizing services in the Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan area.

Disclaimer: Phoning, emailing, messaging or otherwise contacting Joseph Gelinas, Gelinas Limited Scope Legal Services, and/or Gelinas Paralegal Services, does not establish a representative-client relationship. A representative-client relationship is only established if it has been agreed to by the representative and the client(s). Do not provide any confidential or sensitive information when contacting Joseph Gelinas, Gelinas Limited Scope Legal Services, and/or Gelinas Paralegal Services. Nothing written on this site is to be taken as legal advice. Laws and the interpretations of laws are constantly changing and may have changed since this website was published. The facts of each case are unique and the laws may apply differently.

Important information about my relationship with the Law Society of Saskatchewan: I am not a lawyer or member regulated by the Law Society of Saskatchewan and the Law Society of Saskatchewan does not supervise my education, training or qualifications, or, apply a Code of Conduct or ethical standards (e.g. solicitor client privilege does not apply), provide a complaints or discipline process, nor mandate professional liability insurance with respect to my services; a Consumer Review Form is available to help the Law Society of Saskatchewan understand consumer experiences when accessing legal services through the Pilot.

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