What is a Statutory Declaration? What is an Affidavit?

Dec·la·ra·tion

ˌdekləˈrāSH(ə)n/

noun

  1. a formal or explicit statement or announcement.

    "they issued a declaration at the close of the talks"

    synonyms: announcementstatementcommunicationpronouncement,proclamationcommuniquéedictadvisory

    "they issued a declaration"

A statutory declaration is a written statement that allows a person to declare something to be true, under conditions and sanctions defined by statute.

The Canada Evidence Act provides for the form of a Statutory Declaration as follows:

Statutory Declarations

Solemn declaration

41. Any judge, notary public, justice of the peace, provincial court judge, recorder, mayor or commissioner authorized to take affidavits to be used either in the provincial or federal courts, or any other functionary authorized by law to administer an oath in any matter, may receive the solemn declaration of any person voluntarily making the declaration before him, in the following form, in attestation of the execution of any writing, deed or instrument, or of the truth of any fact, or of any account rendered in writing:

I, , solemnly declare that (state the fact or facts declared to), and I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing it to be true, and knowing that it is of the same force and effect as if made under oath.

Declared before me  at  this  day of  19..

When you make a statutory declaration, you are declaring that the statements in it are true. If you intentionally make a false statement in a declaration, you can be charged with an offence. The penalty for making a false statement in a statutory declaration is a maximum of four years imprisonment under the Canada Evidence Act.


An affidavit is "a written statement of facts, sworn to and signed by a deponent before a notary public or some other authority having the power to witness an oath.” In other words, when you sign an affidavit, you’re simply attesting, under law, that you swear a statement written in the affidavit is true.

A statutory declaration also is "a written statement of facts, sworn to and signed by a deponent before a notary public or some other authority having the power to witness an oath.”

The difference between an Affidavit and a Statutory Declaration has to do with where it is used.

A good way to think of an affidavit is as a sort of written court testimony. Where, in a court of law, you’d have to place your hand on a Bible (or Quran, or the Bhagavad Gita, or the Guru Granth Sahib, all of which are permitted holy books in Ontario) and swear that you’re telling the truth and nothing but the truth, on an affidavit, you simply do this in writing. You’re under oath, but you’re on paper.  This is the difference, in Ontario, between an Affidavit and a Statutory Declaration ~ Affidavits are used in court proceedings, while Statutory Declarations are statements under Oath used outside of court proceedings.

In Ontario, both Commissioners of Oaths and Notary Publics are permitted to accept an Oath; in other words, it is permitted for either a Commissioner of Oaths or a Notary Public to accept and certify your signature made swearing facts to be true in a Statutory Declaration.  Brampton Notary Services requires, in all cases, that you provide two pieces of personal identification at the time you sign your Affidavit, one of which must be a valid and unexpired photo identification document such as a driver's license or a passport.

Useful Resource:  How to Write an Affidavit