The OAA regularly hears concerns about misuse of seals and unsecured electronic seals. In the past two years, it has engaged in the time-consuming and costly process of seeking injunctions against individuals who have stolen architects’ seals. The OAA has been looking at how to better protect a member’s seal and ensure that what it represents—the work by an architect—is not abused.
In response to those concerns, and in the context of the modernization of the architectural practice in Ontario, the OAA is considering offering its members a way to authenticate final electronic documents using a digital seal.
A digital signature is a digital signing certificate that cryptographically secures an electronic file, thus proving the identity of signers and the integrity of the signed document in a manner that the final document is authentic. Digital signatures create a non-repudiable link between the signer and the document signed.
A digital seal is a digital signature in which the professional association affiliation and corresponding right of practice are cryptographically asserted and controlled by the professional association. Digital seals would allow members to produce legally reliable digital documents.
The OAA is considering Notarius
as the technology provider for that service. This company is already working with more than 30 associations in Canada to provide the framework and platform that allow professional regulatory organizations to issue Trusted Digital Signatures to their members.
Digital Seals from Notarius are already in use by architects in Alberta (AAA), British Columbia (AIBC) and Quebec (OAQ).
The OAA is collecting feedback about the possibility of bringing secure electronic seals to Ontario. Please complete the survey at http://bit.ly/oaa-digital-seal