What is a statutory declaration?
A statutory declaration is a formal, written declaration that is signed as though it were made under oath.
It’s called a statutory declaration because the law (a statute) creates this special kind of document.
Affidavits are used in court; statutory declarations are used in other, non-court, situations.
Why would I need one?
Sometimes you need to provide documentation or information to a bank, or an employer, a government, an embassy, or another government office, either in Canada or in another country.
Imagine, for example, that you were setting up a bank account in another country. You aren’t able to go to that other country to set the account up in person, so how does that bank know who you are?
Normally, they would ask for your identification, and have you sign documents to open the account. But if you’re not there, then what? Will you send them your original identification documents? Will they just assume that the signature on the documents is yours, and that you were legally capable and not being coerced?
Or imagine that you are applying to become a nurse, or a dental hygenist – professions which require you to have a certain standard of character. How will your professional association know you haven’t recently been convicted of a crime?
A statutory declaration solves these kinds of problems, because it allows you to formally declare the information that is needed, in a non-court setting.
How do I make one?
The organization that wants you to make a statutory declaration will generally provide you with the declaration to review and sign. In some cases, you will have to also complete information in these declarations.
- if you are making a claim against your insurer for lost or stolen property, you will have to fill out a statutory declaration stating what was lost or stolen, its value, and certain other information
- if you are registering a vehicle with ICBC, you will need to fill out a statutory declaration with the information about the vehicle
- if you are applying for a birth certificate from the Alberta government, you will need to fill out a statutory declaration with information about your identification
- if you are a sub-trade working on a building, you will have to complete a statutory declaration that says your work is substantively complete.
We can help you make these documents if you are not provided with one, but it is always simpler (and less expensive) to ask the organization that wants you to provide you with a statutory declaration – it will have most of the right information in it already.
What happens if I lie when I sign it?
By law, a statutory declaration has the same legal force and effect as if made under oath.
This means that while you won’t be asked to say “I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”, you will be advised that this document is a serious, formal one, and that your signature on it means you are signing that document as if it were under oath. If you lie, perjury attaches, and you could go to jail. You could also have moral ramifications for lying before your higher power. You would be considered untrustworthy.
Call us – we’d be happy to take your signature on a statutory declaration, or to help you draft one, if that is what you require.
Categorised in: Statutory Declarations
This post was written by Linda Caisley