The Registrar of Land Titles is taking steps to support recommendations by the BC Public Health Officer to maintain social distance, particularly as it pertains to execution requirements under the Land Title Act.
Part 5 of the Land Title Act is prescriptive and sections 42 to 48 require an individual executing an instrument to appear before an officer. However, to maintain social distance and prevent COVID-19 transmission, individuals may be unwilling or unable to attend before an officer. In these circumstances, the Registrar of Land Titles will accept an Affidavit of Execution sworn under section 49 of the Land Title Act. For more details on section 49, including preferred forms of affidavit, please see paragraphs 5.88 to 5.101 of the Land Title Practice Manual.
Additionally, the Registrar will not take issue with instruments that are executed and witnessed contemporaneously in counterpart, where the transferor’s signature is on a different page from that of the officer. This allows a transferor to sign an execution copy of, for example, a Form A – Freehold Transfer, in the presence of, but at a safe distance from, the officer who would apply his/her signature and officer details on an identical execution copy. If the Registrar requires the applicant to produce the execution copy under section 168.57 of the Land Title Act, having the two signatures on separate pages will not trigger any action against the designate who certified the document.
Remote or videoconference witnessing is not permitted. The Supreme Court of BC has held that the words “appeared before” require a physical presence before the officer, and not an appearance by means of videoconferencing technology: First Canadian Title Insurance Company v. The Law Society of B.C., 2004 BCSC 197