What does "swear an affidavit" mean?
When you give evidence to the court, you're telling the judge your story. You can give evidence by:
- speaking in court, or
- writing an affidavit using Form 45 (for Provincial Court) or Form F30 (for Supreme Court).
When you speak your evidence in court, you promise to tell the truth in front of the judge.
When you write your evidence in an affidavit:
- you write the evidence on paper,
- you show it to a notary, lawyer, or registry clerk and promise that everything you've written in it is true, and
- both of you sign your affidavit.
This is called swearing or affirming an affidavit.
Most affidavits need to be sworn before you can file them.
During COVID-19, you don't need to swear or affirm most affidavits that you're filing in a Provincial Court matter. This includes the Financial Statement (Form 4). But you do need to make sure that any affidavit you prepare and file is true and accurate. If there is a hearing, the judge will likely require you to swear or affirm the truth of your affidavits at the hearing.
Usually you'll find at least one person at the court registry or government agent's office who can help swear your affidavit.
- In Supreme Court, you pay a small fee to get someone to sign your affidavit.
- In Provincial Court, the registry staff will:
- sign your Provincial Court affidavits for free, and
- sign your Supreme Court affidavits for a small fee.
Lawyers and notaries can help swear your affidavits, but you'll have to pay them. There isn't a standard charge, so ask a couple of people to get an idea of what's a good price.
What if you aren't in BC?
If you need to get an affidavit sworn for a court in BC and you aren't in BC, you can ask any of these people to help swear it for you:
- A certified notary public or lawyer practising in their own jurisdiction
- A magistrate or an officer of a court of justice, a judge, or a commissioner who can administer (supervise) oaths in the courts of justice of that province or country
- The mayor or chief magistrate of any city, borough, or town corporate
- An officer of any of Her Majesty's diplomatic or consular services stationed outside of Canada. For example:
- an ambassador
- an envoy, minister, chargé d'affaires, counsellor, secretary, attaché, consul general, consul, vice consul, proconsul, consular agent, acting consul general, acting consul, acting vice consul, or acting consular agent
- An officer of the Canadian diplomatic and consular service stationed outside of Canada. For example:
- a high commissioner or acting high commissioner
- a permanent delegate or acting permanent delegate, counsellor, or secretary
- A Canadian government trade commissioner or an assistant Canadian government trade commissioner stationed outside of Canada
- Any commissioned officer in the Canadian Navy, Army, or Air Force who is on active service (in Canada or elsewhere)
- All agents general for British Columbia
Ask how much the commissioner charges to swear an affidavit. There isn't a standard charge, so some people will charge more than others. Ask a couple of people to get an idea of what's a good price.