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A statutory declaration is a written summary of facts which the declarant solemnly states to be true before signing the document. A statutory declaration is not sworn; rather it is ‘declared’ to be true and must be witnessed by a justice of the peace, attorney, barrister, solicitor, notary public or some other designated official. To the layperson, however, there is very little practical difference between an Affidavit and a Statutory Declaration. Regardless of which document it is, it is an offence to lie.
Most Statutory Declarations appear in standard forms, especially Government forms. However there are some occasions when you need to come up with the Declaration yourself. You may on such occasions be able to choose either an affidavit or a Statutory Declaration, in which case you can choose whichever wording you prefer. The wording for administering an Oath, Affirmation, or Statutory Declaration appear below.
Administering Oaths, Affirmations and Statutory Declarations
Where an oath is being administered by a notary public or a commissioner of oaths, the deponent is required to confirm the following: “Do you swear that the contents of this affidavit as subscribed by you are true, so help you God?”
If this type of oath is not preferred, deponents may instead affirm by responding ‘yes’ to: “Do you solemnly affirm and declare that the contents of this affidavit as subscribed by you are true?”
Where a statutory declaration is required instead, the deponent must declare in the positive to: “Do you make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing it to be true and knowing that it is of the same force and effect as if made under oath?”
In every case, the deponent must be physically present before the notary public or commissioner of oaths and must prove his or her identity to the Notary. In all Canadian jurisdictions it is an offence to swear, affirm or declare a false affidavit or statutory declaration.
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