January 2009

Further amendments made to Client ID and verification requirements
Convocation made a number of amendments to the Client ID and verification requirements, contained in By-Law 7.1, at its January meeting.

The amendments, which reflect changes made to the Federation of Law Societies of Canada's Model Rule on Client Identification and Verification Requirements, address a number of issues raised by lawyers in Ontario and other provinces and paralegals.

The following highlight the major amendments:

  • A new definition of "reporting issuer" to replace the definition of "private company" which was used to define a public company for the purpose of certain exemptions
  • Exemption from the client ID and verification requirements of duty counsel under the Legal Aid Services Act 1998 or providing legal services through a duty counsel program of a non-profit organization, and providers of summary legal services under the Legal Aid Services Act 1998 , unless a financial transaction is involved
  • Exemption from the client ID requirement to obtain an incorporation/business identification number where the client is a financial institution, public body or reporting issuer
  • Exemption from the verification requirements where funds are transferred by electronic funds transfer, as defined
  • Exemption from the verification requirements where the client is a financial institution, public body or reporting issuer, as defined
  • Addition of police officers, nurses and school principals to the list of those authorized to provide an attestation for non-face-to-face verification of identity.

Lawyers and paralegals are encouraged to review the Professional Regulation Committee report to January Convocation for complete information


Law Society priority work plan approved
Convocation approved a work plan to achieve the priorities it established for the 2007-2011 bencher term. The work plan sets out in detail the Law Society's priorities, the initiatives to be undertaken to support those priorities and the status of those initiatives. Convocation also approved a process for adding new issues to the work plan.

The following are the eight priority areas. Please see the full report for details of the priority areas and supporting initiatives.

  • Maintain high standards and ensure effective competence
  • Discipline
  • Access to justice
  • Diversity within the profession
  • Small firms and sole practitioners
  • Paralegal Regulation
  • Strategic communications
  • Governance structure

For more information see the Priority Planning Committee report .

Aboriginal bar consultation report released
Convocation received the final report of the Aboriginal Bar Consultation. The Consultation was designed to collect information about Aboriginal lawyers, identify what Law Society services Aboriginal lawyers use, and identify potential programs and initiatives to support Aboriginal lawyers and students.

Findings show that despite the implementation of many initiatives and programs designed for Aboriginal lawyers and the Aboriginal community since 2000, there are still needs to be addressed to enhance access for and retention of Aboriginal lawyers within the Ontario bar.

Four proposals were made for consideration.

  • Include Aboriginal law as a recognized practice category in the Law Society's Members' Annual Report
  • Enhance the Law Society's Mentoring and Networking Program for Aboriginal licensing candidates and lawyers
  • Create continuing legal education programs in Aboriginal law
  • Create a Certified Specialist Program in Aboriginal law.

The Law Society's Equity Initiatives Department initiated the Aboriginal Bar Consultation Project in 2004 as part of its mandate to promote diversity and equity in the legal profession and ensure access to legal services for a diverse population.

For more information see the Equity and Aboriginal Issues Committee report to Convocation.

Expansion of the summary hearing process approved
The summary hearing process was expanded to include the following case types:

  • The practise of law by a lawyer whose licence is suspended
  • The provision of legal services by a paralegal whose licence is suspended
  • Breach of an undertaking to the Law Society
  • Failure to pay costs awarded to the Law Society
  • Failure to comply with an order of the Hearing Panel.

The summary hearing process permits hearings that are time sensitive or straightforward to be heard quickly by a single bencher Hearing Panel. This allows the Law Society to deal with certain matters in a more timely fashion. Matters which may result in the revocation of licence are not heard at summary hearings.

The summary hearing process was first approved in 2005 for three case types: failure to maintain financial records; failure to respond to the Law Society and failure to cooperate with the Law Society.

For more information see the Professional Regulation Committee report .


Summary of By-Law amendments
By-Law 7.1 [Operational Obligations and Responsibilities] was amended to provide that lawyers handling claims that involve catastrophic impairment at the Financial Services Commission of Ontario may delegate the mediation of subsidiary issues to licensed paralegals employed by their firm. The by-law amendments reflect policy approved by Convocation at its November 2008 meeting.

By-Law 4 [Licensing] was amended to implement the following paralegal regulation policy changes previously approved by Convocation:

  1. In section 10.01, the policy that a person with a P1 licence applying for an L1 licence must forfeit the P1 licence at the time that an L1 licence is issued;
  2. In section 12, the policy that a person who has previously surrendered a P1 licence may apply for a new licence without repeating the educational and examination requirements;
  3. In sections 23 to 26, that a paralegal may apply to surrender a licence in the same manner as a lawyer;
  4. In section 30, the addition of the exemption for members of the Canadian Society of Professionals in Disability Management;
  5. Also in section 30, the repeal of the subsection regarding the FSCO regulations, which have now been repealed, and
  6. In section 32, the addition of the exemption for trade union representatives to enforce collective agreement benefits in Small Claims Court.

By-law 4 [Licensing] was further amended to reflect certain policies approved with the adoption of the Licensing and Accreditation Task Force Report in September 2008. Articling requirements for experienced, internationally trained lawyers were streamlined and the licensing process was enhanced to include a new professional responsibility and practice course integrated with the articling program. Successful completion of that course, the articling requirement and the licensing examinations are the requirements for call to the bar.

By-Law 6.1 [Continuing Legal Education] was made to implement the continuing legal education requirement for newly called lawyers approved at September Convocation. Beginning in 2010, all new lawyers called to the Ontario Bar will be required to complete 24 hours of compulsory professional development during their first two years of practice.

By-Law 11[Regulation of Conduct, Capacity and Professional Competence] was amended to reflect previously approved policies regarding practice management reviews.

For more information on the above see the Paralegal Standing Committee and the Professional Development and Competence Committee reports .


Summary of Rule amendments
Rule 8 of the Paralegal Rules of Conduct and Rule 6 of the lawyer's Rules of Professional Conduct regarding financial obligations were amended. The amendments clarify the application of the rule to non-payment of financial obligations incurred in the course of practice on behalf of clients, and maintain the ability of the Law Society to respond where there are serious allegations of non-payment.

The Paralegal Standing Committee brought to Convocation, for information purposes, amendments to the Paralegal Professional Conduct Guidelines. The amendments reflect recently approved changes to the Paralegal Rules of Conduct .

Amendments were made to the commentary to rules 5.03 and 5.04 of the lawyer's Rules of Professional Conduct to more appropriately reflect current human rights legislation and case law.

Housekeeping amendments were made to Rule 6.08 of the lawyer's Rules of Professional Conduct .

For more information on the above see the Paralegal Standing Committee and the Professional Regulation Committee reports.

Human Rights Monitoring Group
Convocation approved the Human Rights Monitoring Group recommended interventions in the following cases:

  • Lawyers Nyi Nyi Htwe, Saw Kyaw Kyaw Min, U Aung Thein and U Khin Maung Shein (Myanmar)
  • Guo Feixiong (also known as Yang Maodong) (China)

See the Equity and Aboriginal Issues Committee report for more information.

Authority to require a public accountant's report extended to paralegals
Convocation approved the extension to paralegals of the Law Society's authority to require the submission of a public accountant's report. By-law 8 currently provides that the Law Society can require lawyers to submit a public accountant's report on their practice in addition to the annual filing of the MAR. Amendments to By-law 8 reflecting Convocation's decision to extend the policy to paralegals will be brought to Convocation for approval at a future date.

See the Paralegal Standing Committee report for more information.

Law Commission of Ontario Budget
Convocation approved the Law Commission of Ontario's budget as required by the founding agreement. The Law Society is a founding partner and contributes $100,000 annually to the Commission.

For more information see the Finance Committee report .

Policy for investigations of benchers, staff and paralegal members of the Paralegal Standing Committee
A policy for the investigation of complaints against lawyer and paralegal benchers, lawyer and paralegal Law Society staff and paralegal members of the Paralegal Standing Committee was approved at January Convocation. The policy formalizes procedures that have been followed since the Law Society Act was amended in 2006.

For more information see the Professional Regulation Committee report .

Lawyers no longer required to notify Law Society re: fiscal year end
Convocation ended a requirement that lawyers provide the Law Society with certain information about the lawyer's fiscal year as the information is no longer required for regulatory purposes. An amendment to By-law 8 reflecting Convocation's decision will be brought to a future Convocation.

For more information see the Professional Regulation Committee report .

Appointments
Benchers Larry Banack, Marion Boyd, Carol Hartman and William Simpson were appointed to the Law Society Medal/Lincoln Alexander/Laura Legge Award Committees.

Benchers Larry Banack, Marion Boyd, Carol Hartman, William Simpson and Bonnie Tough were appointed to the LL.D. Advisory Committee.

Bencher Raj Anand was appointed to the Finance Committee and ceased to be a member of the Human Rights Monitoring Working Group.

Bencher Carol Hartman was appointed Chair and Christopher Bredt was appointed Vice-Chair of the Finance Committee.

Adriana Doyle and Carolyn Anne Gray were reappointed and Lorne Wolfson and Christine Torry were appointed to the Family Rules Committee pursuant to s.67(2)(k) of the Courts of Justice Act for a term of three years.

Ron Slaght and Kristopher Knutsen were reappointed and Susan Vella and Mark Lerner were appointed to the Civil Rules Committee in accordance with s. 65(2)(h) of the Courts of Justice Act for a term of three years.

Agenda and Minutes

Agenda
Minutes  

Reports

Audit Committee  

Equity and Aboriginal Issues Committee  

  • Human Rights Monitoring Group Interventions (in camera)
    For Information  
  • Final Report on the Aboriginal Bar Consultation
  • Public Education Equality Series Calendar 2009

Finance Committee  

  • Funding of Law Commission of Ontario
  • J. Shirley Denison Fund Applications (in camera)

Paralegal Standing Committee  

  • Amendments to By-Law 7.1: Delegation at FSCO
  • Amendments to By-Law 4 to Reflect Previously Approved Policy Changes
  • Additional Reporting Requirements for Paralegals
  • Amendment to Paralegal Rule 8: Financial Obligations
    For Information  
  • Investigation Policy for Benchers, Staff, and Paralegal Members of PSC
  • Amendments to Paralegal Guidelines
  • Amendments to Rules Governing Client Identification and Verification
  • Paralegal Good Character Hearings
  • Quarterly Report on Complaints Against Paralegal Licensees

Priority Planning Committee  

Professional Development & Competence Committee  

  • Amendments to By-Law 4 Regarding Lawyer Licensing
  • Approval of By-Law 6.1 Regarding Continuing Legal Education Requirement
  • Amendment to By-Law 11 Regarding Practice Management Reviews

Professional Regulation Committee  

  • Amendments to By-Law 7.1
  • Proposal to End the Notice Requirement for a Lawyer's Fiscal Year
  • Amendments to Rules 5.03, 5.04, 6.01,6.08 and 6.09 of the Rules of Professional Conduct  
  • Policy for Law Society Investigations of Licensee Benchers and Staff and Paralegal Members of the Paralegal Standing Committee
  • Expansion of the Summary Hearing Process
    For Information  
  • Professional Regulation Division Quarterly Report

Report of the Director of Professional Development and Competence  

  • Deemed call candidates

Tribunals Committee  

  • Non-Bencher Adjudicators

REPORTS FOR INFORMATION ONLY  

Access to Justice Committee  

  • Update on Legal Expense Insurance
  • Summary of the McMurtry Report on Roots of Youth Violence
  • Update on Civil Legal Needs Project

Motions