Frequently Asked Questions about the CPD Requirement

1. Who is required to complete the CPD requirement?
 

Lawyers and paralegals in the 100% fee-paying category are required to fulfill the CPD requirement. Lawyers and paralegals who are in other fee categories are also required to fulfill the CPD requirement if they practise law or provide legal services, if they provide legal services on a pro bono basis only, or if they are practising Life Members. See Fee Categories for more information.

2. Do I have to take accredited programs to fulfill the CPD requirement?
 

You are required to complete a minimum of 3 Professionalism Hours (professional responsibility, ethics and/or practice management) and up to 9 Substantive Hours per calendar year. Only programs and activities for Professionalism Hours must be accredited by the Law Society of Upper Canada. Substantive Hours do not have to be accredited and may address substantive or procedural law topics and/or related skills.

See CPD Accreditation Process for information about accreditation policies and forms.

3. Where can lawyers and paralegals find accredited programs that have Professionalism Hours?
 

Accredited programs containing Professionalism Hours can be identified by the following logo, which will appear on program brochures and materials. 

Accredited CPD LOgo

The Law Society offers a number of accredited programs containing professional responsibility, ethics and practice management content, at a nominal cost to lawyers and paralegals. Please see CPD Calendar for more information about Law Society's CPD programs.

4. What is the difference between CPD programs and CPD activities?
 

CPD programs are formal, instruction-based sessions. They are usually offered by organizations such as education providers, law associations, law firms, government associations and industry groups. CPD activities include a broad range of other, non-program learning methods such as teaching, writing, mentoring, and participation in study groups of 2 or more colleagues. See Eligible Educational Activities for more information.

Note that CPD Programs and CPD activities must be accredited by the Law Society of Upper Canada if the lawyer or paralegal is seeking to count them as part of their Professionalism Hours. See CPD Accreditation Process for more information. 

5. Are online programs eligible for CPD Hours?
 

Participation in "interactive" CPD programs and courses such as "real time" on-line courses, streaming video, and live web and/or telephone conferences are eligible if there is an opportunity to ask and/or answer questions with colleagues and/or instructors. Lawyers and paralegals may view previously recorded programs with at least one other colleague to satisfy the interactivity requirement. There is no annual maximum for these methods of viewing programs.

Viewing archived webcasts, video replays, or other recorded program formats without a colleague are eligible educational activities for up to 6 hours per year.

6. Can CPD Hours completed in one calendar year be carried over into the next calendar year?
 

No, a lawyer or paralegal who completes more than 12 hours of eligible CPD activities in a year is not entitled to carry over the balance into the next year.

7. I made an error when entering my CPD Hours on the Portal. How can I fix it?
 

Members can edit or delete any entry for a professionalism program, substantive program or activity using the self-edit function.

8. What is the requirement for a lawyer or paralegal who returns to practice during the reporting year?
 

Lawyers and paralegals who resume practising law or providing legal services within the reporting year must complete 1 hour of CPD for each month or partial month of practice or provision of legal services.

9. Will CPD Hours obtained outside of Ontario count toward the CPD requirement?
 

Yes, as long as the program or activity is an eligible educational activity for the CPD requirement. See Eligible Educational Activities.

10. Is teaching an eligible activity?
 

Yes, teaching is eligible to a maximum of 6 hours per year. Actual teaching time will be multiplied by a factor of 3 to reflect preparation time. For example, 30 minutes of teaching will be equal to 1 hour and 30 minutes of CPD. The teaching content must be law-related and within the CPD definition. There is no limitation on the type of audience. If the same content is taught more than once in a calendar year, CPD credit is only available for the first delivery of that content. Teaching is an eligible activity only if it is undertaken on a volunteer or part-time teaching basis. Teaching as part of full-time or regular employment will not be eligible.

Chairing a program may be eligible, provided the chair does more than introduce speakers. The Chair must act as a facilitator of the program for it to be eligible.

Acting as a judge or coach in a mooting competition at the law school level is an eligible educational activity.

In order to qualify for Professionalism Hours, teaching activities must address topics of professional responsibility, ethics and/or practice management and be accredited by the Law Society of Upper Canada. See CPD Accreditation Process for more information.

11. Is presenting an information session to clients or writing/editing client bulletins an eligible activity?
 

If presenting the information session or writing/editing client bulletins is primarily a "teaching" rather than a "pitching" activity, and enables the lawyer or paralegal to fulfill the definition of CPD, which requires that the activity maintain or enhance a lawyer's professional knowledge, skills, attitudes and ethics, then it is an eligible activity. If the educational content of the activity is minimal or basic, or if it is repeated with modest changes to a number of audiences, it is not eligible.

12. Is writing and/or editing an eligible educational activity?
 

Yes, writing and editing books, articles with or without a co-author is eligible to a maximum of 6 hours per year. The book or article must be intended for publication by a third party, or included as part of an in-house or firm publication, rather than for personal use. Editing legal texts or case reports and preparing case headnotes, with the same restrictions as set out for writing, are also eligible activities. There is no limitation on the audience for whom the work is written.

Only volunteer or part-time writing is eligible. Writing as part of full-time or regular employment is not eligible.

In order to qualify for Professionalism Hours, writing and/or editing activities must address topics of professional responsibility, ethics and/or practice management and be accredited by the Law Society of Upper Canada. See CPD Accreditation Process for more information.

13. Is mentoring an eligible educational activity?
 

Yes, mentoring activities are eligible to an annual maximum of 12 hours.  Eligible mentoring activities include mentoring, being mentored, providing coach or advisor support, participating in a coach or advisor program, acting as an articling principal, or supervising an LPP work placement or paralegal field placement. For more information see Eligible Educational Activities.  

In order to qualify for Professionalism Hours, mentoring activities must address topics of professional responsibility, ethics and/or practice management and be accredited  by the Law Society of Upper Canada. See CPD Accreditation Process for more information.

14. Are study group activities eligible?
 

Yes, study groups are eligible and have no annual maximum. This will include attendance at a group session of 2 or more lawyers or paralegals that is organized for the purpose of discussing content that falls within the CPD definition. Study group participants may be lawyers or paralegals from a variety of settings — sole and small firm colleagues in the same community or lawyers and paralegals in the same firm, legal department, government agency, or clinic. Live, in-person participation, in addition to telephone conference, web conference (e.g., Skype, Google Chat) or videoconference are all acceptable delivery methods, as long as attendees can interact with one another in real time. File or matter- specific discussion is not eligible. Lawyers or paralegals who facilitate or instruct study group sessions may claim up to 3 hours of credit for every 1 hour session to reflect preparation time.

In order to qualify for Professionalism Hours, study group activities must cover topics of professional responsibility, ethics and/or practice management and be accredited by the Law Society of Upper Canada. See CPD Accreditation Process for more information.

The Law Society has additional resources to assist lawyers and paralegals in obtaining CPD Hours through study groups. See Professionalism Case Studies for more information.

15. Are bar association, or other law or paralegal association, meetings eligible?
 

Where lawyers or paralegals attend meetings that involve both business related to the association and an educational session dealing with substantive, procedural law or professionalism content that comes within the CPD definition, only the hours devoted to the educational session are eligible.

 
16. Can self-study be counted toward the CPD requirement?
 

Self-study is not eligible for CPD Hours. Self-study is defined as reading or reviewing material on one's own without some form of interaction with colleagues and/or instructors through live Q&A sessions, simultaneous discussion, real time chat or embedded learning prompts. Lawyers and paralegals will continue to report annually on the Lawyer Annual Report and Paralegal Annual Report, respectively, the number of self-study hours they complete. The minimum expectation for self-study hours remains at 50 hours. The number of self-study hours is not mandatory, but reporting is. Reporting of self-study hours is not part of the CPD requirement.

17. I'm a Certified Specialist. How does the CPD requirement affect me?
 

Certified Specialists have the same requirement as other members. They are required to obtain a total of 12 CPD Hours per calendar year, which must include a minimum of 3 Professionalism Hours and 9 Substantive Hours.

18. Are listservs, online forums and network sites eligible for CPD Hours?
 

This type of information exchange is not eligible as it does not involve sustained interaction and learning by participants.

19. Where can I learn more about the Law Society's decision to introduce the CPD requirement?
 

Click here for information about changes to the CPD requirement made by Convocation on April 26, 2012.

Click here for information about the changes to the Mentoring CPD activity made by Convocation on January 26, 2016.

Please see the February 2010 Joint Report to Convocation (PDF) for background information about the CPD requirement.