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BC Notaries Look Forward to Working on Joint Task Force Recommendations; request Expanded Notary Role to Improve Public Access to Legal Services

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                DECEMBER 10, 2013

Vancouver, BC –The Society of Notaries Public of BC (BC Notaries) today responded to the Law Society of British Columbia’s unanimous approval in principle of recommendations intended to transform the regulation and delivery of legal services in BC. These recommendations include the Law Society and BC Notaries working together to seek a merger of regulatory operations.

“BC Notaries look forward to working with the Law Society, our members, and the Ministry of Justice in taking the next step to ensure that any merging of regulation continues to offer protection, continued and expanded choice, and improved access to legal services for the public,” said Wayne Braid, Chief Executive Officer of BC Notaries.

Since The Society of Notaries and the Law Society perform similar roles in the regulation of their members, a merging of that regulation into one authority under a renewed Legal Professions & Services Act should be considered, provided the autonomy and distinction of Notaries and lawyers, in their respective professions, are maintained.

With this approval, the Law Society has demonstrated recognition that other providers, in addition to lawyers, can provide legal services to the public and has accepted the recommendation to develop a framework for credentialing and regulating those legal services. That also will serve the public well.

“BC Notaries have asked the provincial government to modernize the Notaries Act, which governs the regulation of Notaries, and to expand the legal services that Notaries can provide into areas such as probating of estates; preparing marriage; separation, and uncontested divorce documentation; incorporating companies; and maintaining corporate records offices,” said Akash Sablok, a Vancouver Notary and President of the BC Notaries.

BC Notaries feel it is appropriate that the legal services offered by Notaries be expanded to other potential areas of law where Notaries will be properly qualified to practise, offering the public greater choice and improved access to affordable legal

services through each group of regulated professionals.

BC Notaries have been providing licensed and regulated legal services to British

Columbians for over 100 years, providing the public a choice regarding who provides those services.

The mandate of The Society of Notaries Public of BC is to ensure that its members provide the highest standard of Notarial services to the people of British Columbia. The Society represents more than 330 highly trained Notary professionals. Most have locally owned and operated offices and all provide personal assistance to clients around the province.

Individuals, families, and businesses seek the services of BC Notaries for a wide range of noncontentious legal matters, including residential and commercial real estate transfers, mortgage refinancing, Wills and advanced health care planning, powers of attorney, and other important documents.

The Notary’s Tradition of Trust spans 2000 years. Notaries first came to British Columbia over a century ago and they continue to serve their valued clients and their communities across the province.

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