Member Moments Article
Like most businesses, FEDEWICH & WITT Notaries Public have been trying to chart their way in these unprecedented times. Their hope, by sharing their stories, is that they can help fellow business and community members.
Below is what they asked we share with their fellow Chamber members:
We have purchased new hardware and software, created policies for social distancing and reimagined how to do our work safely while complying with new health orders and changing laws. We have been humbled by our loyal employees who have adapted to change and worked hard despite the stress of a pandemic. We are proud to say that we remain open for business during regular hours and we have modified our office space and office procedures to keep people safe. The main changes to our business are that we are taking instructions from clients by phone, emailing documents to clients and meeting with clients over the phone to review their documents in detail. When we meet clients in person it is a short appointment where we can view their dentification and witness them sign their documents. Our meeting tables are 2 meters long and we sit at opposite ends. We have reviewed documents by phone for 5 weeks now and clients are impressed with the quality of service and they feel safe in our office. We clean with a bleach solution between each appointment and disinfect surfaces twice a day. We will wear an N95 mask and gloves upon request and have plexiglass at our reception counter.
To minimize any disruption to our service in the event one of our team becomes ill we have one notary and some staff working from home. We also have another notary from Langley who has provided us vacation relief over the years, and he will work for us if needed.
Some other hightlights include:
- A realtor delivered purchase and mortgage documents to a client who was self isolating at home, and she did not have a printer. Norm reviewed the documents over the phone, and she signed at home all except the documents that he needed to witness. She drove to our office and Norm viewed her id and took photos of it for our file and he witnessed her sign through her car window.
- We completed a refinance file in one day for a young pilot and his wife who were concerned that if he lost his job he may not qualify for their new mortgage. Trish reviewed their documents for an hour on Sunday and as the pilot had just returned from out of the country, we did not see them in our office, but instead witnessed them sign documents through their car window parked outside our office.
- On a Saturday, Trish attending at care home in Delta to witness an 88-year-old lady sign her will, power of attorney and representation agreement. The documents had been delivered to her in the home by her son and Trish had reviewed them by phone for an hour. As the home is under quarantine, Trish instructed the client by phone and witnessed the documents through the window of the care home.
COVID-19 Update 2020-04-06
Notaries were deemed an Essential Service by the BC government March 26, 2020.
We are open for business during regular business hours and we are proud to continue to provide all our services.
Our office procedures have changed to comply with BC Health Orders for Social Distancing as follows:
- We will take instructions and review documents via telephone, email or other means to minimize contact.
- Our office meeting rooms have table over 2 meters long so when we meet in person, we can maintain a safe distance from one another.
- In exceptional cases, a notary may meet with you outside of our office and the notary will wear an N95 mask and gloves, upon request.
We have one notary and several staff working from home to ensure continuity of service to you.
In light of the recent escalation of events surrounding COVID-19 both at home and abroad, we would like to advise you of some of the risk mitigation measures we are taking to help protect you and the community during this time.
- When booking an appointment, we will be asking clients to identify if they have travelled out of the country within the past 14 days. If a client has recently returned to Canada, their next appointment will be scheduled for no sooner than 2 weeks after their return date.
- Our office is following screening protocols as directed by the Public Health and Provincial Health Directives. If a client thinks they have been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or they are experiencing symptoms of the virus (fever, dry cough, difficulty breathing) we are asking that they cancel their appointments immediately. Please be advised that ignoring these guidelines will result in refusal to accept you upon arrival.
- We have temporarily removed all magazines and towels to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
- To aid in social distancing between clients we ask clients to arrive as close to their appointment time as possible to limit time spent in common spaces. We may ask you to wait in your car if our reception room is full. Please do not bring other people to your appointment who do not need to be there.
- Our reception area and meeting rooms will be cleaned between each client and we are disinfecting the counters and tables twice a day. We ask that clients use our complimentary hand sanitizer when entering the office. If signing documents, we will ask that you take our pen home with you so that it is not reused within our office.
- Last but certainly not least, if you feel at all unwell please stay home. We are happy to re-schedule your appointment to promote the health and safety of yourself and others. If you have a deadline to meet and you are unwell, please speak to our staff and they may make arrangements to meet with you outside of our office under more controlled conditions.
Please note that we will continue to monitor the situation and we will update our policies as necessary based on directives from the British Columbia health authorities.