We know for sure that the legal foundation exists for the use of e-signatures in Canada both federally and provincially. So how do Canadian laws apply to e-signature? First of all, both Federal and provincial laws can be applied to determine the legal validity of e-signature. However, contract law in Canada is a matter of provincial law, so in most cases e-signature is considered within the legal framework of the provincial law. Contract law is used the same way for electronic documents as it is for paper documents. All of the provinces and territories also have their own electronic commerce laws. This is why it’s important to know what laws and regulations there are specific to your province.
The Electronics Transactions Act of BC, an important act in establishing the legal validity of e-signature in BC, does not apply to wills, trusts created by wills, powers of attorney, land transfer documents, and negotiable instruments. This means that these types of documents require a signature on paper, and should not be signed electronically. However, e-signatures may legally be used for documents of other types.
It might surprise you that the legal aspects of e-signature involve much more than just the signature itself. There are two types of evidence which prove that the document was legally signed: the document evidence, and the process evidence. In terms of document evidence, the signature needs to be included, and unique to the signer. Signority offers multiple signing methods including signature image upload, drawn signature, and typed signature. The process evidence portion includes the fact that the signer is identifiable, often through their IP address, and that the non-altered state of the document can be proved by seeing the actions which the signer undertakes such as viewing and signing. Signority uses real-time tracking, which is incorporated into the finalized document so that the full signer experience can be documented. This is crucial because the legal validity of the signature relies on the signing evidence. The audit trail establishes the identity of the signer and the complete and unaltered nature of the document.
The legal aspects of e-signature specific to British Columbia can be further understood through the Electronic Transactions Act, the Business Paper Reduction Act, and the Federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, PIPEDA, Canada Evidence Act, and the BC Evidence Act.
Electronic Transactions Act:
Business Paper Reduction Act:
Federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act:
Canada Evidence Act:
BC Evidence Act: