Canada is geographically the second-largest country after Russia and its population accounts for 37.067.011 people. It takes the 9th place by 2018 Index of Economic Freedom and it holds the 10th position by the Human Development Index 2017. Well-known for its high standards of living, Canada also attracts 250 thousands of immigrants every year, on average. Education opportunities, free basic healthcare, and progressive development of technologies are among the main reasons to move there.
A great example of technological development is the implementation of digital and electronic signatures on the government level. Today we’d like to investigate this fact in detail. Are electronic signatures legal in Canada? What are the main law requirements for e-Documents? What’s the difference between e-Signature laws in Canada and in the US? Keep reading and get the answers!
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E-Signature law in Canada
As we’ve already mentioned in our previous article about the legality of electronic signatures by countries, the use of both digital and e-Signatures for documents is permitted by the Canadian law. It features an Open legal model, meaning that Canada has no special requirements for proving e-Signature’s legality in court. Also, we should clarify that Canada is a federation that consists of 10 provinces and 3 territories. As a result, there are federal and provincial laws that regulate the usage of e-Signature in Canada.
1) Federal e-Signature law in Canada. On the federal level, electronic signature in Canada is regulated by the PIPEDA act. It stands for the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act and it was launched in 2004. According to PIPEDA, e-Signature has the same legal status as a handwritten one. Its additional requirement is that the signature has to be unique to the person.
2) Provincial e-Signature law in Canada. On the provincial level, us of electronic signature in Canada is regulated by UECA. It stands for the Uniform Electronic Commerce Act and it was implemented in 1999. UEСA is valid in nine provinces except for Quebec. This province adopted its own law, called the Act to Establish a Legal Framework for Information Technology. According to both of these acts, e-Documents have the same legal status as paper document and Canada’s provinces.
What are the legal conditions for using electronic signature in Canada?
The content of PIPEDA and UECA are almost identical and, as a result, we can summarize the requirements for secure e-Signature in Canada as follows:
- It has to be 100% unique to the person. For instance, a simple “A” letter is not a unique signature.
- The signature has to be created under full control of the signer.
- The e-Signature service has to recognize the signer’s identity.
- An audit trail is a must. The changes in the document have to be detectable.
The difference between e-Signature law in Canada and in the US
Consider the close proximity of Canada and the US, it’s tempting to compare them in the context of e-Signature laws.
As we can see from the table, e-Signature law in Canada and in the US have lots of things in common. They allow the use of both digital and electronic signatures, which don’t need extra support in court. The only difference is exceptions in the context of documents that can’t be signed electronically.
E-Signature in Canada is legal and court-admissible, Canadians can easily implement e-Signature solutions in their business. A proper signature software can improve your workflow and increase your efficiency and reliability. KeepSolid Sign serves as a great example of an e-Signature solution that can be used in Canada. It has an advanced level of security with high-grade AES-256 encryption, and allows you to track the status of all your documents. KeepSolid Sign is an intuitive, easy-to-use app, which is also available for Apple Watch. Try yourself with a 14-day FREE trial!