April 2011


Financial statements approved
Convocation approved the audited Annual Financial Statements for the Law Society for the year ending December 31, 2010. The Law Society remains in a sound financial position. For 2010, the Law Society is reporting an operating surplus of $7.2 million. The surplus arises largely from the results of the Errors & Omissions Insurance Fund and the Compensation Fund.  The General Fund, which reports the bulk of the Society's operations related to its regulatory and competence mandate, incurred a deficit of $3.4 million.  This deficit was smaller than budgeted.  The 2010 budget incorporated the use of $6.7 million from the General Fund balance to fund operating expenses.

Convocation appointed Deloitte & Touche LLP as the Law Society and LibraryCo Inc. auditor for the 2011 financial year. Full report.

Lakehead and Thompson Rivers University law degree programs approved
Convocation approved the proposed law degree academic programs of Lakehead University and Thompson Rivers University for the purpose of enabling graduates to enter the Law Society’s Licensing Process without having to satisfy any additional requirements.  The programs were approved with certain conditions including receiving appropriate governmental approval for the formation of a law school. The Federation of Law Societies of Canada recommended approval of the programs to law societies following a committee review. Full report

Report of the Return to Practice Working Group 
Convocation received the Return to Practice Working Group Report, for information.  The working group was created as part of the Retention of Women in Private Practice Project with a mandate to identify strategies and develop resources to facilitate the return of women lawyers to practice.  

The Law Society has begun implementing the Working Group's recommendations to

  • add to its website informational resources for lawyers and paralegals focused on the departure from and return to the practice of law or provision of legal services
  • explore ways to provide or augment educational initiatives currently available for women who are transitioning back into practice by partnering with external associations to promote and assist in the delivery of their programs.

Full report.

Policy to prohibit benchers and members of the Hearing and Appeal Panel from representing licensees under investigation
Convocation approved a policy that prohibits benchers from representing licensees who are the subject of an investigation by the Law Society. Convocation also approved the policy as applicable to all members of the Hearing and Appeal Panels and authorized an amendment to the Adjudicators Code of Conduct to include the prohibition. Professional Regulation Committee report. Tribunals Committee report.

By-Law 9 and rules of conduct amended re: trust account requirements
Convocation amended By-Law 9 (Financial Transactions and Records) and subrule 2.02(5)of the Rules of Professional Conduct to implement Convocation’s decision in February 2011 regarding trust account requirements.  The rule amendments emphasize that a trust account must not be used for purposes outside the provision of legal services. The By-Law amendments introduce a requirement for licensees to record the purpose for which they are receiving or withdrawing funds from a trust account. Professional Regulation Committee report.

Convocation also approved similar amendments to Rule 3.02 of the Paralegal Rules of Conduct.  Paralegal Standing Committee report.

Cathy Corsetti re-elected chair of the Paralegal Standing Committee
Cathy Corsetti was re-elected the chair of the Paralegal Standing Committee at its April 2011 meeting.  The Chair is elected by the committee annually.

Bill C-35 to authorize licensed paralegals to appear before immigration board
Bill C-35, An Act to Amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, received Royal Assent on March 23, 2011.  The Act comes into force on a date to be proclaimed. Once in force, the Act will authorize paralegals licensed by the Law Society to appear at the Immigration and Refugee Appeal Board without having to become a member of any other body.  The Law Society made a submission to the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration in November 2010, requesting that the bill be amended to permit licensed paralegals to provide immigration consulting services.  Full report.

Law Society to respond to Law Commission report on POA
The Law Society will make a submission to the Law Commission of Ontario regarding its interim report: “Modernizing the Provincial Offences Act: A New Framework and Other Reforms.” indicating that:

  • the Law Society has no objection to the transferring of parking violations (Part II offences under the Provincial Offences Act) to the Administrative Monetary Penalty (AMP) process, but the Law Society continues to have concerns about the independence of screening and hearing officers and the availability of multi-language translation services; and
  • the Law Society opposes the transfer of Provincial Offences Act Part I offences to the AMP process, particularly offences under the Highway Traffic Act and other offences related to preserving public safety.

Full report.

By-Law 6.1 (Continuing Professional Development) amended
Convocation amended By-Law 6.1 (Continuing Professional Development) to clarify that out-of-Ontario legal practice experience relating to the CPD requirement for lawyers in their first two full years of practice in Ontario is limited to Canadian legal practice. Full report.

By-Law 4 (Licensing) amended
Convocation amended By-Law 4 (Licensing) to implement its decision, made February 2011, to provide for educational equivalency for members of adjudicative tribunals. Individuals with five or more full-time years of experience on one of the listed adjudicative tribunals are now exempt from the educational requirement for a paralegal licence. Full report.

Paralegal award working group to be appointed
The Treasurer will appoint a working group to develop appropriate criteria for the creation of a Law Society Paralegal Professional Achievement Award. Full report.

Revisions to licensing examination processes approved
Revisions approved at April Convocation will ensure that the lawyer and paralegal licensing examination writing processes remain fair and defensible and will establish greater consistency in the lawyer licensing process across provinces.  The revisions, which include limiting the number of attempts to write and pass the licensing examinations, were approved in principle.  Convocation will be asked to approve by-law amendments implementing the policy at a future meeting.   Professional Development and Competence Committee report.    Paralegal Standing Committee report.  

Rules of Practice and Procedure amended to prohibit photography, etc. in hearings
Convocation approved an amendment to Rule 18 of the Rules of Practice and Procedure to prohibit photography, etc. in hearings. The prohibition is similar to a provision that was included in the previous version of the rules and is modelled on the language of s.136 of the Courts of Justice ActFull report.

Convocation authorizes Treasurer to sign the proxy in favour of proposed LAWPRO shareholder resolutions
Convocation authorized the Treasurer to sign the proxy in favour of proposed LAWPRO shareholder resolutions at the Annual and General Meeting of Shareholders of the Lawyers' Professional Indemnity Company to be held May 4, 2011. Full report.

Finance Committee report
Convocation approved the investment policy for the Law Society, unchanged from last year. Full report.





Access to Justice Committee

  • Proposed Submission to the Law Commission of Ontario on the Interim Report on the Provincial Offences Act

Audit Committee

  • Approval of Law Society Audited Financial Statements for the Year Ended December 31, 2010
  • Appointment of Law Society Auditor

For Information

  • LibraryCo Inc. Audited Financial Statements for the Year Ended December 31, 2010
  • LAWPRO – Lawyers’ Professional Indemnity Company Financial Statements for the Year Ended December 31, 2010
  • 2010 Audit Report (in camera)
  • Investment Compliance Reports
  • Other Committee Work

Finance Committee

  • Investment Policy

For Information

  • 2012 Budget Process

Paralegal Standing Committee

  • Amendment to By-Law 4 (Licensing) on Tribunal Members’ Educational Equivalency
  • Amendments to Rule 3.02 of the Paralegal Rules of Conduct on Trust Accounts
  • Paralegal Awards
  • Licensing Examination Writing Process

For Information

  • Election of Paralegal Standing Committee Chair
  • Law Commission of Ontario Invitation for Submissions on the Interim Report: “Modernizing the Provincial Offences Act: A New Framework and Other Reforms”
  • Bill C-35 – Federal Regulation of Immigration Consultants
  • Policy on Prohibition on Representation of Licensees
  • Quarterly Report from the Professional Regulation Division
  • Paralegal Referral Service

Professional Development and Competence Committee

For Information

  • CPD Bursary Program

Professional Regulation Committee

  • Amendments to Rule 2.02 of the Rules of Professional Conduct and By-Law 9 (Financial Transactions and Records) Respecting Trust Account Requirements
  • Policy on Prohibition on Representation of Licensees

For Information

  • Professional Regulation Division Quarterly Report

Treasurer’s Report to Convocation

Tribunals Committee

  • Amendment to the Rules of Practice and Procedure Respecting Prohibition Against Photography Et Cetera at Hearings
  • Policy on Prohibition on Representation of Licensees

For Information

  • Tribunals Office 2010 Fourth Quarter Report and 2010 Annual Summary and Trends


Equity and Aboriginal Issues Committee

  • Return to Practice Working Group Report
  • Monitoring Group Response to Monitoring Group Intervention
  • Equity Public Education Series Calendar 2011

Report of the Director of Professional Development and Competence

  • Deemed Call Candidates

Treasurer’s Activities:  January to March 2011