A wet signature is created when an individual marks a document with their name using ink which requires time to dry. However, depending on the nature of the note and the governing law of the jurisdiction in which you're entering into the note, you may be required to have witnesses or a notary public witness the Promissory Note. There can also be practical problems when using common signing processes which require the printing and scanning of signature pages, if a signatory does not have the correct equipment at home. This section sets out the type of e-signature recommended at each assurance level. The definitions provided in Table A1 lead to these observations: It should also be noted that the description provided in the SES Regulations is so granular that it actually prescribes a specific digital signature algorithm.Footnote 13 Whether this was intentional (to promote interoperability) or not (it was assumed at the time that all digital signature algorithms have the same mathematical properties) is unclear. That guidance still applies and should be considered an integral part of this document. Documents from other jurisdictions may have special additional requirements and then there are documents we cannot witness. Thus if no witness is present, the signature line for the witness may be left blank. Multi-factor authentication (or, more specifically, two-factor authentication) can also be achieved by combining an appropriate “something you know” token with an appropriate “something you have” token. A Canadian notary may also be able to certify a translation to be true if they speak both languages. The Alberta Health Record of Request Form (Link to form) requires the signature of two witnesses who are independent. Proprietary solutions should be avoided wherever possible to prevent vendor lock-in and to promote interoperability. Please feel free to contact us at 416-451-5553 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions. Although expected to be extremely rare, there may be cases where a public key certificate is revoked with the invalidity date and time set to sometime in the past. Note that electronic signatures created using certificates issued by internal GC CAs such as the Internal Credential Management (ICM) CA are typically not capable of supporting interaction with external entities, as the issuing CA is not a recognized trust anchor outside the GC. As advancements in biometric technology continue to be made, this restriction may be revisited. These laws: Whether a signature is paper-based or electronic, the fundamental purpose of the signature is the same. Step 4: informed by legal counsel and this guidance document, determine if there is an implicit requirement or other legitimate business reason for a signature and if so proceed to step 5; if not then there is no requirement to implement an electronic signature for the identified business requirement, Step 5: determine the type of electronic signature required informed by legal counsel, assurance level assessment and this guidance document and proceed to Step 6, Step 6: implement the identified electronic signature solution followed by reassessment over time, impersonation (the signer is not who they claim to be), repudiation (the signer attempts to deny that they originated an e-signature), loss of data integrity (the electronic data has been altered since it was signed), exceeding authority (the signer is not authorized to sign the associated electronic data), be determined as a result of an assurance level assessment and other tools, the reason or context for the e-signature is clear (the signature is for approval, agreement, consent, authorization, confirmation, acknowledgment, witness, notarization, certification or other purpose), it is clear that the individual(s) understand that they are signing the electronic data (indication of intent to sign), the level of authentication is commensurate with the associated assurance level, the individual(s) have the authority to sign the electronic data, the method used to establish the e-signature is commensurate with the associated assurance level. the witnesses must then watch each other sign on the last page of the Will (in other words, you and your two witnesses must be present in the same room at the same time, and watch one another sign the Will) neither witness can be a beneficiary or the spouse of a beneficiary named in the Will (or the gift to that beneficiary will be void) Business owners must assess whether a third-party service can be used based on: In addition, third-party solutions should be based on industry-accepted standards. The Secure Electronic Signature RegulationsFootnote 4 also uses the term “digital signature” in its definition of a secure e-signature. supporting information such as the following is captured, where required: date and time that the electronic data was signed, evidence that the signature was valid at the time it was signed, the e-signature and supporting information is associated with the signed electronic data, and the integrity of this information is maintained using methods commensurate with the associated assurance level, the ability to validate the e-signature is supported over time, the minimum identity assurance requirements set out in the, two-factor authentication is required (refer to, a multi-factor cryptographic hardware device such as a smart card must be used, at Assurance Level 1, any type of e-signature is acceptable, at Assurance Level 2, any type of e-signature can be used in conjunction with the authentication requirements for Assurance Level 2 or higher, at Assurance Level 3, a non-cryptographic e-signature may be used in conjunction with acceptable two-factor authentication, or a digital signature or secure e-signature may be preferred in some circumstances, depending on the target environment and the security controls that are in place, at Assurance Level 4, a secure e-signature is required in conjunction with a multi-factor cryptographic hardware device, the identity of the individual signing the data can be associated with the electronic data being signed, the intent of the individual in signing the electronic record is conveyed in some way, the reason for signing the electronic data is conveyed in some way, a time-stamp based on standard local system time that indicates the time that the electronic data was signed, for a non-cryptographically based e-signature, supporting information should include the same information as for Assurance Level 2. for digital signatures or secure e-signatures, the supporting information should include: associated revocation information or status at the time the electronic data was signed, is the same as a digital signature or secure e-signature at Assurance Level 3, any other supporting information that may be associated with the electronic transaction (discussed in subsection 3.3 of this document), system and information integrity (SI), medium integrity applies to the electronic transaction and the transaction record, the transaction record should be retained as stipulated for Assurance Level 2 in, medium integrity applies to the electronic transaction and transaction record, when using a digital signature or secure e-signature, at least some of the integrity requirements will be supported by the signature itself, including the integrity of the signed electronic data, algorithms and associated key lengths approved by the Canadian Security Establishment (, any supporting elements that are not explicitly integrity-protected by the digital signature or secure e-signature must be captured in an audit log, transaction records should be retained as stipulated for Assurance Level 3 in, the secure e-signature applied by the individual signing the electronic data protects the electronic data being signed, and a combination of factors protects the signature process itself, a secure time-stamp is required and may be provided by a trusted third party, CSE-approved algorithms and associated key lengths must be used as stipulated in, transaction records should be retained as stipulated for Assurance Level 4 in, successfully chains to a recognized trust anchor, the time at which the electronic document or record was signed, the public key certificate(s) required to verify the signature, the associated certificate revocation status information at the time the electronic record was signed, the Portable Document Format Advanced Electronic Signature (, the eXtensible Markup Language Advanced Electronic Signature (, the Cryptographic Message Syntax Advanced Electronic Signature (, associated minimum assurance levels, supporting information recommended at each assurance level, system and information integrity requirements, for non-cryptographic e-signature, include authentication method, ES, signed electronic data, time-stamp, for cryptographic e-signature, add verification certificate and certification path and associated revocation information, demonstrate the breadth of coverage, highlight terminology used in other jurisdictions, which is particularly useful where interoperability with other jurisdictions may be required. Currently, there are over 20 federal acts and almost 30 regulations listed on the Department of Justice Canada website that include references to “electronic signature” (based on a search for the term “electronic signature” using the Department of Justice Canada advanced search tool). Therefore, from a technical perspective, a digital signature and a secure e-signature are essentially the same since both: However, the Secure Electronic Signature Regulations (SES Regulations) go further in several respects, including: As mentioned, there are cases where a law (or policy) specifies: Figure 1 outlines the steps to determine whether an e-signature is required and, if so, what type of e-signature is required. Such information includes: The procedure for LTV can be recursive to accommodate changes in circumstances over a long period so that the originally signed electronic document or record can be verified for many years or even decades. What are the rules for a contract witness? The Benefits of Witnesses Though witnesses aren’t always a requirement for executing a legal document, they can help solidify and authenticate your contract by providing proof that the signatures are legitimate and consensual. You will not receive a reply. Should the use of an electronic signature ever be challenged in court, the department or agency would need to be able to demonstrate the reliability of the system/technology and underlying processes and procedures and provide evidence that at all material times the IT system(s) / device(s) used were operating properly or, if not, there are no other reasonable grounds to doubt the integrity of the electronic signature. Privacy and consent clauses should be the same as those used in the paper forms to ensure that there was no discrepancy between the two formats. A neutral third party is the best choice. This is where the concept of long-term validation (LTV) becomes important. At the same time, a witness who appears too expert at testifying could potentially backfire, suggests McLeese. While Figure 1 emphasizes the importance of obtaining legal advice throughout the process, note that the various steps illustrated in Figure 1 will need to be performed in collaboration with other key personnel where appropriate as noted in Annex D. In addition, this document offers guidance on assessing assurance levels (see subsection 2.3), which can be used: Figure 1 outlines the steps to determine whether an e-signature is required and, if so, what type of e-signature is required. “the electronic signature resulting from the use by a person of the technology or process is unique to the person; the use of the technology or process by a person to incorporate, attach or associate the person’s electronic signature to an electronic document is under the sole control of the person; the technology or process can be used to identify the person using the technology or process; and, the electronic signature can be linked with an electronic document in such a way that it can be used to determine whether the electronic document has been changed since the electronic signature was incorporated in, attached to or associated with the electronic document.”. Technical specifications have been developed to support LTV based on the format or syntax of the electronic document or record as follows: Another consideration is a change to the format of the original electronic data document or record, such as when it is converted for long-term archiving. This requirement can be met in several ways, including through the use of email or a workflow management system. In fact, the signature may be removed altogether because of the conversion. Individual departments should perform their own assessments in the context of their business needs and requirements. The objective of obtaining an individual’s signature on security screening forms is to confirm that they acknowledge that they have been informed that their personal information will be collected and to obtain their consent that their personal information will be disclosed for security screening purposes (as outlined in Privacy and Consent clauses), and to comply with sections 7 and 8 of the Privacy Act. This document anticipates that GC systems and information will be protected at the medium integrity level. Although there are numerous definitions for “electronic signature,” the intent behind each is essentially the same. Current GC guidance on authenticating users includes the following: Essentially, the assurance level required for an e-signature dictates the assurance level required for user authentication, which in turn dictates the assurance level required for identity assurance and credential assurance. Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat / Government of Canada On the rare occasion when there is no local alternative we can witness a person’s signature on a document such as an oath, affidavit or statutory declaration. They are only required to witness your signature. For more advice on making a power of attorney. In any case, ITSP.40.111 (PDF, 544 KB) should be consulted for approved algorithms and associated key lengths. An electronic signature is defined within the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) as “consisting of one or more letters, characters, numbers or other symbols, in digital form, incorporated in, attached to or associated with an electronic document.”. Please see the additional information provided under our Notarial services page. Commissioner means the Commissioner of the Force; (commissaire) designated program 1. designated program means a provincial or municipal program that is set out in the schedule; (programme désigné) designated program protectee 1. designated program protectee means a person who is receiving protection under a designated program; (bénéficiaire d’un programme désigné) federal security, defence or safety organization 1. federal securit… “Sworn Before Me …” – is the “Official” before whom the witness swears as to the correctness of the Affidavit of Execution. It is not acceptable for them to provide you with a document that someone else has already signed and ask you to witness it; not witness an electronic signature. Note that other tools such as the ITSG 33: Security Categorization Guide may also be used to assist in the assessment process. A multi-factor hardware cryptographic device must be used at this assurance level. Table 2 summarizes the recommendations provided in section 3 of this document at each assurance level for: The choice of the specific e signature method and associated implementation requirements suggested at this level (as identified in this row) are to be determined by the business owner. Definition of Witness Witness meaning or descrpition: has first-hand knowledge about the matter being prosecuted (Source of this concept of Witness: emp.ca/books/328-4) This section offers an overview of Witness under Canadian law, reporting on the provincial jurisdiction differences. Also, all witnesses to legal documents must be over the age of 18 at the time they witness your signature, and they must be of sound mind. The following guidance on the use of electronic signatures for security screening is being provided in response to discussions at the Government of Canada Security Council (GCSC) and it was felt that it would be beneficial to all DSOs. Sources from non-Canadian jurisdictions are included in order to: Canadian federal acts and regulations that address e-signatures include: In addition, there are over 20 federal acts and almost 30 regulations listed on the Department of Justice Canada website that include references to “electronic signature.”Footnote 10, Most Canadian provincial and territorial jurisdictions have enacted electronic commerce and transaction laws that provide electronic equivalents to paper-based signatures, along with other requirements, by adopting the principles established in the Uniform Law Conference of Canada’s model law (the Uniform Electronic Commerce Act (UECA)).Footnote 11 The UECA is technology-neutral and defines an “electronic signature” as electronic information that a person creates or adopts in order to sign a record and that is attached to, or associated with, the record. Implementation guidance based on each assurance level is provided in Section 3: Guidance on implementing e-signatures. Mercury-compliant signings, using scanned or photographed signature pages: these methods follow the February 2010 guidance issued by The Law Society of Engla… The CBCA requires that the electronic signature result from the application by “a person of a technology or process” that permits the following requirements to be proven: that the signature is unique to the person, that the technology or process was used to incorporate, attach or associate the signature to the document, and that the technology or process can be used to identify the person using it. Recommendations for acceptable two-factor solutions are provided in Recommendations for Two-Factor User Authentication Within the Government of Canada Enterprise Domain. To verify your identity, your witness will probably ask you to produce documents, preferably containing a recent photograph, confirming you are who you say you are. Table B1 summarizes acceptable token types at each assurance level. It is expected that certain system and information integrity security controls will be in place to protect the integrity of: ITSG-33, Annex 1, defines three integrity levels: low, medium and high. Specific use cases where Part 2 of PIPEDA requires a secure e-signature are: Although Part 2 of PIPEDA set outs clauses for general application, many of the electronic equivalents it outlines are based on an “opt in” framework. For additional guidance, you may want to refer to the Canadian General Standard Board’s standard entitled Electronic Records as Documentary Evidence which provides information and guidance for developing policies, procedures, processes and documentation that support the reliability, accuracy and authenticity of electronic records. 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