Electronic Signature and Virtual Meetings
posted in: Commercial + Estate Planning
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for lawyers and law firms to use practical and secure technological solutions to deliver legal services to the clients they serve. During this period of social distancing, there are several ways that lawyers can provide clients with the services they need while following social distance guidelines and best practices.
Subject to specific exceptions, the Electronic Transactions Act (the “Act”) of Alberta allows for many types of legal documents to be signed with an electronic signature when there is the required legal intent to sign electronically. The Act allows a broad range of methods and platforms to sign electronically. Examples of documents that can be signed with electronic signatures using such platforms are incorporation documents, corporate resolutions, leases and many general forms of contracts. KMSC LAW uses several leading platforms to allow for secure verifiable electronic client signatures.
There are several documents that are excluded from electronic signing under the Act. They include:
- Wills, codicils and trusts created by wills or codicils
- Enduring Powers of Attorney
- Personal Directives
- Documents that create or transfers interests in land
- Personal Guarantees pursuant to the Guarantees Acknowledgment Act
- Negotiable Instruments (e.g., promissory notes)
On March 17, 2020, the Minister responsible for Service Alberta through Ministerial Order temporarily relaxed the requirements regarding the requirement that witnesses be present during execution with respect to many documents that require registration at the Land Titles Office. The temporary Order allows for two-way video conferencing to be used as an acceptable form of meeting subject to certain security, verification and document integrity requirements. Guidance has also been given regarding the swearing and affirmation of declarations and affidavits by means of two-way video conferencing. KMSC LAW uses multiple video conference platforms that allow us to comply with these requirements and provide our clients with a safe and secure option for maintaining social distance during these challenging times.
Our team is monitoring legal and technological developments with respect to COVID-19 and are here to assist with providing practical and up to date advice during this period of uncertainty.
If you have any questions related to your legal matters, please call our office at 780-532-7771 for more information on scheduling a consultation with a member of our team.