At its November 1, 2018 meeting, OAA Council decided members will begin the transition to using digital seals as of January 2019. This will initially be voluntary for existing seal holders, and mandatory for anyone who applies for a seal. As of January 1, 2022, all OAA seals will be digital and provided through Notarius
, a certificate authority.
The move to a digital seal comes as some authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) have adopted the requirement, and many more begin to explore the possibility. It helps protect the general public in making certain all seals are from OAA members in good standing. Further, digitized seals include date and time stamp information that may be useful for members in litigation and in protecting copyright.
What Do Architects Need to Know About Digital Seals?
To produce legally reliable documents in compliance with OAA’s requirements, architects will use an OAA Digital Seal, more technically known as the “CertifiO for Professionals–Ontario Association of Architects Digital Signature.” (Digital seals are not to be confused with a digital image or scanned image of a physical stamp.)
A digital signature certificate is a computer artifact issued and cryptographically protected by an authority (i.e. Notarius) attesting to the veracity of the information. This information may include:
- full name;
- e-mail address;
- professional title;
- membership number;
- public key; and
- validity period and serial number of certificate.
A digital signature involves the affixing of this certificate, which cryptographically secures an electronic file to prove the origin and authenticity of the signer, confirming the integrity of the document.
Notarius is partnering with the OAA to provide the framework and platform to issue a digital signature to its membership, without the trouble of managing the technological infrastructure related to such complex solutions. In the same way OAA controls the issuance of the ink stamp, this partnership allows the Association to be the exclusive issuer of the digital seal.
Features and Benefits
By affixing the OAA Digital Seal to a document, an OAA member:
guarantees the identity of the document—the origin of the document includes proof of the signer’s identity, their OAA professional affiliation (at the time of the signature) as well as the date and time of the document’s finalization;
ensures the integrity of the document (as well as its contents), so that the document has not been altered since its completion;
establishes the authenticity of the document—everything necessary to prove its origin and integrity is embedded in the document; and
ensures the longevity of the document, providing the ability to open, read, authenticate and preserve the reliability of a document over time.
The OAA Digital Seal must remain under the sole control of its holder; it cannot be shared or delegated under any circumstances.
How to Obtain an OAA Digital Seal
For more information, please check out the following links:
For technical assistance, contact Notarius Customer Support by calling 1-855-505-7272 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org