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Authority Society of Notaries Public

Omar applied to the Society of Notaries Public (the Society) to be admitted to the Master of Arts program in Applied Legal Studies at Simon Fraser University (SFU). His application was denied despite his education, experience and background meeting the minimum requirements for admission. He wrote to the Society asking them to reconsider his application and was never provided with detailed information outlining reasons for his application being denied.

Frustrated with his experience, the lack of information and delays he was experiencing, Omar called our office for help.

We investigated whether the Society followed a reasonable procedure in considering Omar’s application to the notary program at SFU. We found three areas of concern in their process for vetting applicants:

  1. The Society did not have a set of criteria to judge applicants. 
  2. The Society did not keep any written record of how their decision was made or what specific criteria were considered and weighed when choosing applicants.
  3. The Society did not provide reasons why applicants were unsuccessful. Given the importance of the decision, applicants should be provided with clear reasons for being denied. Those reasons can be used as a basis to decide whether there are grounds to appeal the decision.

We consulted with the Society and asked if they would consider taking steps to remedy the fairness issues identified in the application process. The Society agreed and implemented a more objective and transparent decision-making process for screening program applicants, including recording rationale for decisions. They also implemented an evaluation framework and changed their policy guidelines to provide applicants who are denied admission to the program with reasons for their decision.

Omar has since been admitted to the Applied Legal Studies program at SFU.

Category Other
Type Case Summary
Fiscal Year 2018