What is a Power of Attorney?

November 5th, 2019
Signing the World

What Is A Power Of Attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal document where one person gives another person authority to make decisions on their behalf. An attorney in this case does not need to be a lawyer but means anyone given the power to act for someone else.

Powers Of Attorney For Use Outside Canada

One of the most popular uses of the power of attorney documents is to authorize a relative or friend to act on your behalf in another country when you are not able to make the trip yourself. For instance, many people provide a power of attorney to a relative to handle the sale of their property in other countries. A power of attorney needs to comply with the laws of the country where it will be used, and you may wish to consult a lawyer familiar with the laws of that country.

When you sign a power of attorney for use in another country, you may need to have your signature notarized. You also may need to have your notarized document authenticated by the Canadian and/or Provincial government, and then legalized by the Embassy or Consulate of that country. It is important to contact the embassy or the consulate of the country where you will be using the power of attorney to ensure that you understand and meet all their requirements.


Each province and territory in Canada has its own laws governing power of attorney documents. It is important to be familiar with the laws in your area. You may wish to consult a lawyer for assistance.


In Ontario, there are three types of power of attorney documents.

1. Continuing Power of Attorney for Property: This document lets you appoint someone to make financial decisions on your behalf if you become mentally incapable.
2. Non-continuing Power of Attorney for Property: This document lets you appoint someone to make financial decisions for you in situations such as when you are travelling out of the country for a limited time.
3. Power of Attorney for Personal Care: This document appoints someone to make medical and personal decisions for you should you become incapable.

The Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario has the power of attorney forms available online that you can use to prepare these documents. There are specific rules surrounding their preparation and signing that you need to follow in order for them to be valid, such as the requirement that your signature is witnessed by two people who are not related to you or the attorney. Powers of Attorney must meet the requirements in the Province or Territory in which they will be used. You may wish to consult a lawyer for assistance. There are also a few relevant links below.


Red Seal Notary does not give legal advice or draft Power of Attorney documents, but we can assist with notarizing, certifying copies and authenticating these documents.

Red Seal Notary can notarize your signature on the power of attorney documents. In particular, this may be a requirement for the power of attorney documents to be used outside Canada. Please note that you must provide valid government identification and sign the document in the presence of the notary public. If you need assistance with authenticating your document for use in another country, please contact Red Seal Notary, and our knowledgeable staff can assist you with our full authentication and legalization services.

If you need witnesses for your signature on the power of attorney documents, please bring the witnesses with you or contact our call centre staff for assistance in attending a location where witnesses are available.

If you require certified or notarized copies of your power of attorney document, Red Seal Notary is happy to assist. Just bring in the original signed power of attorney and we can make copies for you.


Government of Canada information on power of attorney

Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General information on powers of attorney

Ontario Government Free Power of Attorney Kit

Quebec Sample Power of Attorney and guidelines

Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta

BC Government Incapacity Planning

Manitoba Enduring Power of Attorney Guidebook

Saskatchewan Power of Attorney information and samples for download

Legal Information Society of Nova Scotia

Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick

Public Legal Information Association of Newfoundland and Labrador

Prince Edward Island Power of Attorney Act (Includes Form of POA as a Schedule)

North West Territories Information and samples

Yukon Public Legal Education Association

Nunavut Powers of Attorney Act (unofficial consolidation)

2 thoughts on “What is a Power of Attorney?

  1. Mark McNamara says:

    I have a completed Power of Attorney
    with NotaryPro using their online
    application. My situation requires a
    Power of Attorney for use in Florida. My
    Power of Attorney includes property in a
    foreign jurisdiction. Can RedSeal
    notarize this existing document to
    register in Florida or should I create a
    Power of Attorney with American roots?

    • Blake McClung says:

      Dear Mark,

      Thank you for your comment and for your interest in our website.

      Unfortunately we cannot provide legal advice, especially for foreign jurisdictions. You should contact the lawyer handling your transaction for advice concerning the documentary requirements, including your power of attorney.

      In most Canadian jurisdictions an embossed seal must be applied to the document, especially for use outside Canada. For obvious reasons, an embosser cannot be applied to a digital document.

      I hope this information is of some assistance.

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