Bencher elections to be conducted online
Beginning in 2011, lawyer bencher elections will be conducted online with election materials sent by email and with online voting taking place through a secure website. Election materials will also be posted on the Law Society website. An online election will result in significant cost savings. Upon request, the Law Society will provide election materials in paper format.
Convocation also decided to make voters’ email addresses available to candidates. Through a third party supplier, the Law Society will provide the email addresses of voters who expressly consented to allow the use of their email addresses for bencher election campaigning purposes. Candidates who wish to campaign via email may retain the services of the supplier at their own expense. The Law Society will continue to provide candidates with mailing address labels for all eligible voters, as requested.
By-Law 6.1 amended re: Continuing Professional Development Requirement
Convocation amended By-Law 6.1 to implement the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirement, approved in February 2010.
The CPD requirement comes into effect January 1, 2011. Lawyers who practise law and paralegals who provide legal services (100% fee paying category)must complete at least 12 hours of CPD annually in eligible educational activities, with a minimum of three hours to be taken in ethics, professionalism, and/or practice management. A wide range of eligible activities are permitted by the model, many of which are at no cost.
New lawyers and paralegals in their first two full years of practising law or providing legal services are required to take 12 hours per year of programming accredited by the Law Society. Programming accredited for new lawyers and paralegals integrates topics related to ethics, professionalism, and practice management.
More information on the new CPD requirement, including a series of frequently asked questions and a list of eligible activities, is available on the CPD page of the Law Society’s website. See also the 2011 CPD program information, which includes a list of free and accredited programs. Full report on by-law amendments.
By-Laws amended re: Québec Mobility Agreement
Convocation amended By-Laws 3, 4, 5, 7.1, 11, 13 and 14 to implement the Québec Mobility Agreement, which was approved in February 2010. The Agreement permits lawyers from Québec to become members of the Law Society of Upper Canada entitled to practise the law of their home jurisdiction, federal law or public international law. Québec lawyers licensed pursuant to the Agreement are classified as L3 licensees. Full report.
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act
The Law Society wrote to the Minister of Community and Social Services about the wording of the new Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Full report.
Bill 68, The Open for Business Act, 2010
Bill 68, the Open for Business Act, 2010, is currently before the legislature. Schedule 1 of this is omnibus legislation and includes two amendments to the Law Society Act previously requested by the Law Society:
- Section 51 (Compensation Fund) is amended to permit Convocation to appoint a paralegal member of the Paralegal Standing Committee to the Compensation Fund Committee, and
- References to “continuing legal education” are replaced by references to “continuing professional development”. Full report.
James Varro, the Acting Secretary to Convocation, was appointed Secretary to Convocation.
Janet Minor was reappointed to the Ontario Lawyers’ Assistance Program Board of Directors.
The Finance report was not reached.