Commissioners by Virtue of Office - Frequently Asked Questions


  1. What changes are being made to the Commissioners for taking Affidavits Act (CTA) and regulations?
  2. The new regulation classifies me as a commissioner by virtue of office, but I already have a commissioner appointment from the Ministry of the Attorney General. How does this change affect me?
  3. Do commissioners by virtue of office have to renew their commissioner appointment?
  4. Do commissioners by virtue of office have to apply to the ministry for a commissioner appointment and pay an appointment fee?
  5. Do commissioners by virtue of office need to use a stamp?
  6. If a person leaves the office that is granted commissioner status by the CTA, will s/he still be a commissioner?
  7. Will changes to the CTA impact commissioners designated by virtue of office by different legislation?
  8. Where can I find further information?

* The contents of these FAQs are for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. If you have a question about how this information applies to your circumstances, please consult a lawyer.

1.  What changes are being made to the Commissioners for taking Affidavits Act (CTA) and regulations?

The amendments to the CTA replace the statutory list of commissioners by virtue of office with the Commissioners and Other Persons Who May Take Affidavits Regulation (O. Reg 386/12). This regulation comes into effect on December 31, 2012.

The new regulation:

  • Maintains the status quo for officeholders who currently have commissioner powers by virtue of their offices; and
  • Incrementally expands existing categories of officeholders to include:
    • All Ontario judges, court clerks, and registrars
    • Licensed paralegals (as of July 1, 2013)
    • Certain municipal officials

As commissioners by virtue of office, these individuals will be able to take affidavits without having to apply to the ministry for a commissioner appointment, and their commission will not expire unless they no longer hold their office or their position is temporarily suspended.  Please note that restrictions to commissioner powers apply. See the new regulation for further details.

2.  The new regulation classifies me as a commissioner by virtue of office, but I already have a commissioner appointment from the Ministry of the Attorney General. How does this change affect me?

When your existing commissioner appointment expires, you can continue to commission documents by virtue of office within the applicable limits set out in the regulation. You do not have to renew your appointment because your commissioner status does not expire.

Existing appointments are still valid until they expire, but your new status begins on the date specified in the regulation.

Commissioners who are currently using a ministry authorized commissioner stamp may continue to do so until the expiry date. However, when your new status begins, you can choose to update your stamp to reflect this status regardless of when your existing appointment expires.

You do not require a letter from the ministry indicating that you are a commissioner by virtue of office; the new regulation provides this authorization.

3.  Do commissioners by virtue of office have to renew their commissioner appointment?

No. Commissioners by virtue of office do not have to renew their appointments because their commissioner status does not expire. 

4.  Do commissioners by virtue of office have to apply to the ministry for a commissioner appointment and pay an appointment fee?

No. Commissioners by virtue of office are legislatively granted commissioner status, so they do not have to apply to the ministry for a commissioner appointment, and they do not have to pay an appointment fee.

5.  Do commissioners by virtue of office need to use a stamp?

No. Commissioners by virtue of office are not legally required to use a stamp.

Nonetheless, commissioners by virtue of office may wish to use a stamp as evidence of their authority as commissioners. A stamp will reduce the risk that affidavits and declarations will be questioned or rejected because a recipient cannot confirm the commissioner’s status.

Should a commissioner by virtue of office choose to use a stamp, the corresponding wording will not be subject to ministry approval.

6.  If a person leaves the office that is granted commissioner status by the CTA, will s/he still be a commissioner?

No. Once a person leaves the office that is conferred commissioner status by the legislation, their commission is no longer in effect. For example, if a person leaves their position as a court clerk, they will no longer be a commissioner by virtue of office, and will be unable to exercise commissioner powers.

7.  Will changes to the CTA impact commissioners designated by virtue of office by different legislation?

No. Officeholders who are granted commissioner status by different legislation will not be affected by the changes to the CTA.

8.  Where can I find further information?

For further information, please see: