Claude Charpentier - President and Chief Executive Officer of NOTARIUS since 2009
Alain BOBANT : Hello, Claude CHARPENTIER. You are the President and Chief Executive Officer of NOTARIUS. Your Montreal-based company became a member of the FNTC in 2013. NOTARIUS joining the FNTC is a strong symbol of the FNTC’s international outlook and our intention to include high-level, highly skilled foreign players that share our values and ethics. I discovered NOTARIUS in February 1999, and I have great memories of visiting your premises and meeting one of your predecessors, Claude PERREAULT. At the time, your organization’s mission was to enable Quebec notaries to use a digital signature to securely transmit wills and summons reports to the Chambre des Notaires.
Could you give us a brief history of NOTARIUS ?
Claude CHARPENTIER : Yes, NOTARIUS (TSIN) was incorporated on June 19, 1996, by the Chambre des notaires du Québec whose primary aim was to support notaries in dealing with the major challenges surrounding the transition of their profession towards a virtual environment, including paperless notarized documents. Over the years, NOTARIUS began offering its digital signature product to other professional orders. In 2005, NOTARIUS won a contract with the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec.
A.B. : What does NOTARIUS do today ?
C.C. : As a proud partner of 23 professional orders and associations across Canada, NOTARIUS is a trusted third party when it comes to paperless legal documentation. Non-repudiation, integrity and sustainability are at the heart of our solutions. With the digital signature kit and more specifically, ConsignO, documents can be signed in PDF/A format. The most recent version of ConsignO allows for multiple and batch signatures, stamped images on several pages and conversion to PDF/A format. The NOTARIUS tool also makes it possible to check PDF/A and signature compliance in batches. A large proportion of its 13,000 users are professionals, and one of the special features of our signature product is that it is linked to the profession of the person using it. When a document is signed digitally, the reader can be sure of the signatory’s identity and his or her professional status at the time of signing (e.g. notary, engineer, etc.).
A.B. : What aspirations does NOTARIUS have for the future ?
C.C. : We would like to push our position as trusted third party even further, perhaps becoming the industry benchmark by offering secure, easy-to-use paperless solutions for governments, professional orders, businesses and customers whose profession involves legal matters or significant risks.
A.B. : What is your view of e-signing in France ?
C.C. : This is an interesting question because, like many other things in France, e-signing is subject to a cautious and therefore very controlled approach; meanwhile for our neighbours to the south—the United States—it’s the opposite, as the spirit of the E-Sign Act of 1999 aims to encourage the emergence of e-commerce by not applying too many safeguards or constraints. In my opinion, there is a lot to be said for taking a cautious approach as long as it does not unduly impede innovation. In Canada, more specifically Quebec, where civil law and common law co-exist, we are influenced by both Europe and the United States. So although there are not a lot of controls with regard to e-signing, there is nevertheless a certain degree of risk management, which means that solutions are sometimes subject to more rigorous examination. In Quebec, we are also waiting to a certain extent for jurisprudence to be established that could control digital signature solutions in a predictable way.
A.B. : You are now a member of the FNTC—do our federation’s positioning and role seem relevant to you ?
C.C. : Absolutely. I’d say it makes a lot of sense for us in Canada, insofar as the regulatory framework is fuzzy. We are a long way from having something like the CNIL, which regulates the use of the term “digital safe.” I am confident that the FNTC acts as a positive influence enabling governments to make more enlightened decisions in this area. I see the FNTC as an organization that can bring professionals in the paperless solutions field together and, therefore, act as a hub for industry players for whom the value of digital information is important. The FNTC makes it possible to promote the quality of products and services that secure the information of tomorrow by establishing ethical rules and best practices, producing guides and creating benchmarks in the absence of standards.
In conclusion, I am very pleased about the FNTC’s international outlook and the reception NOTARIUS has been given. As I see it, sharing experience and expertise will foster greater cohesion, the emergence of reliable interoperable solutions and, most importantly, users’ confidence in a world where fraud, theft, identity theft and many other threats lurk with every click!
A.B. : Thanks, Claude. I am delighted at the prospect of having you visit us in Paris soon so you can meet more FNTC members and discuss various subjects that concern us all in a productive way.
(Montréal - october/2013)