New E-Signing Rules

by Team Broady on Friday, February 16, 2024
A Virtual Headache for Quebec Notaries and Their Clients

The notarial profession in Quebec is being upended by a significant change in the law. Notaries are no longer permitted to perform electronic signatures or virtual signings, a decision that has sparked outrage among the notarial community. We will explore the reasons behind this restriction and examine the potential impact on both notaries and their clients.

Change in the LawThe Act to Modernize the Notarial Profession and to Promote Access to Justice, known as Bill 34, was adopted in late October 2023, in an attempt to “completely modernize” the notarial profession in Quebec. However, one of its provisions effectively ends the practice of remote or virtual signings, forcing clients to visit notaries’ offices once again in person. Ironically, this provision of the act goes in the opposite direction of what most of us consider modernization! This decision has not been well-received by many notaries who have come to rely heavily on electronic signatures and virtual meetings, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, and who see the new regulation as a step backward.

The Notaries’ PerspectiveNotaries in Quebec are expressing their frustration and disappointment with the new law. They argue that the prohibition on electronic signatures goes against the spirit of accessibility and modernization that the profession has been working diligently to foster. Many notaries have taken to social media and other platforms to voice their discontent and are actively engaged in discussions with lawmakers to seek a resolution.

Access to Justice and Creation of InequalitiesCritics argue that the restriction on electronic signatures creates inequalities based on a client’s geographical location. Notaries believe that remote signings provide greater access to their services for clients who may be unable to visit their offices in person due to distance or other constraints. 

Fraud ConcernsOne possible reason for the ban on electronic signatures is the prevalence of fraud cases in the real estate market. Just recently, the Montreal Gazette reported that 17 suspects were arrested in connection with a $5 million real estate fraud in Montreal that involved virtual meetings with a notary. These incidents shed light on the potential risks associated with electronic signatures and the need for stricter regulations to ensure the validity and authenticity of property transactions.

The Way ForwardThe notarial community is determined to challenge the law and has initiated efforts to express their concerns. Notaries, along with legal firms that disagree with this aspect of the law, are collaborating on writing a letter to lawmakers and are planning to launch a petition addressed to Quebec Minister of Justice Simon Jolin-Barrette. Their goal is to highlight the importance of e-signatures for the modernization of the profession, while addressing justified concerns about fraud prevention. As the notarial community rallies to challenge the law, it remains to be seen whether a compromise can be reached that addresses both the need for fraud prevention and the evolving demands of clients in an increasingly digital age.

At TEAM BROADY, it is our passion to understand all aspects of the real estate business so we can guide our clients confidently through any possible scenarios or challenges. If you or someone you know is considering buying or selling a property, please consider us for your next transaction. Furthermore, if you require the services of a notary, we have trusted relationships with many we can recommend. We can be reached today at 514-613-2988 or by email at