Unified Legislation

BC Notaries path forward

Unified Legislation

As a professional association, it is the mandate of the BC Notaries Association (BCNA) to Advocate, Educate, Promote and Support Notaries throughout British Columbia. We recognize the importance of aligning our efforts to the broader public interest, in order to retain the trusted relationship that BC Notaries have with their communities and clients.

Practising BC Notaries are legal professionals currently regulated by the Society of Notaries Public of BC. Graduation from the Simon Fraser University Masters in Applied Legal Studies program, a period of practical training and examinations, along with annual continuing education requirements, ensures that BC Notaries are competent in the areas of non-contentious law in which they are regulated and insured to practice.

Following years of advocating for change to the Notaries Act, the BCNA is supportive of the legal professions’ modernization undertaking, to align legal service providers under new legislation with a single regulator. Through an ongoing dialogue with government, we are optimistic that the Ministry of Attorney General recognizes that BC Notaries are well positioned to improve access to a variety of non-contentious legal services throughout British Columbia.

The BCNA is advocating to ensure that new legislation will expand the scope of practice for BC Notaries in areas congruent to their current practice rights, in order to ensure British Columbians have broader access to the provision of qualified non-contentious legal services in the following areas; the ability to provide advice to prepare testamentary trusts and life estates, the ability to provide advice to prepare and file probate documents in the court’s registry, and the ability to provide advice to incorporate and maintain records of companies in B.C.

BC Notaries can contribute to improving access to justice for British Columbians by providing access to legal services to citizens throughout the province. Getting the help of a legal professional, as opposed to using DIY internet templates can prevent problems down the road, which provides peace of mind, and may avoid the potential for future conflict. Many BC Notaries practice in dense urban environments where there is high demand for legal services, and others practise in rural or remote communities where legal service providers are underrepresented. Additionally, many provide services in foreign languages, making BC Notaries a convenient and accessible option for those seeking non-contentious legal services.

Throughout this process, the Ministry of Attorney General has committed to retain the unique role of BC Notaries in new legislation, and the BCNA will continue to provide our perspective to government on the structure of a new regulatory Board. We are hopeful that legislation will be clear and concise, in order to avoid the potential for regulatory misinterpretation of legislative intent.

The Legal Professions Regulatory Modernization initiative has provided opportunity for an open dialogue in the province on the future of legislation and regulation of the legal professions. The BC Notaries Association appreciates the engagement we have had with the CBABC and the BC Paralegal Association, as we work together with the Ministry of Attorney General to ensure that future legislation and regulation is in the best interests of British Columbians, while providing the public with increased access to professional legal services.