On March 26, 2020, the Government of Saskatchewan enacted the following emergency regulations:
These changes enable lawyers, during public emergency periods (like the one currently in effect in Saskatchewan), to execute and witness certain documents covered by these pieces of legislation via electronic means, i.e. a video conference on platforms like Skype or Facetime. The intention is to ensure that lawyers remain able to transact business with their clients while maintaining social distancing and without placing lawyers, their staff or their clients at risk.
The Law Society of Saskatchewan has been working closely with the Government of Saskatchewan on these emergency measures. As part of the new processes contemplated by the emergency measures, the Law Society of Saskatchewan plays an important roll in helping lawyers maintain the integrity of sworn documents and to protect their clients. To that end, the Law Society of Saskatchewan has issued an Emergency Practice Directive to the profession to guide practitioners who avail themselves of the emergency measures provided in the new regulations.
The practice directive, sets out the expectations for how lawyers are to safeguard their clients, the ultimate users of the documents and themselves while executing documents remotely. Specifically, lawyers are required to manage heightened risks associated with fraud, identity theft, undue influence, duress and potential lack of capacity. As part of the practice directive, lawyers are required to complete a Declaration in Law Society of Saskatchewan Form PD1 every time they witness a document via electronic means. Lawyers are required to append to Form PD1, a photograph or screen capture of their clients with their client’s photo identification obtained during the session wherein the documents were executed. Lawyers are required to maintain Form PD1 on their files to supplement their routine file notes.
Please refer to the Q&A documents prepared and provided by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice in relation to changes to The Electronic Information and Documents Act, 2000 and The Powers of Attorney Act, 2002 as well as other important documents related to the amendments to The Land Titles Regulations, 2001 provided by the Registrar of Titles: