Changes to the CPD Requirement

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The Law Society has made changes to the CPD requirement in response to lawyer and paralegal input and following its two-year review of the program. Some of the changes are effective immediately and the remainder will be implemented for the 2014 reporting year. See the Report to Convocation.

Changes Effective Immediately

1.  Co-writing and co-editing are now eligible activities  

Writing and editing books or articles with a co-author are now eligible CPD activities, to a maximum of 6 Hours annually. Each author must be able to verify the number of hours he or she spent writing or editing. Previously, only sole authorship activities were eligible.

2. Writing and editing for firm publications are now eligible activities

Writing and editing for law firm or other in-house publications are now eligible CPD activities, to a maximum of 6 Hours annually. Previously, only writing and editing of materials for third-party publication or course materials were eligible. Writing for personal use remains ineligible for CPD Hours.

3. Accreditation Criteria for Professionalism Hours expanded

The Accreditation Criteria for Professionalism Hours has been revised to clarify the descriptions and provide increased flexibility for its application. The revised Criteria is broader and recognizes a range of professionalism issues that may arise in different practice areas and practice contexts. Highlights of the changes include: 

  • realignment of section headings to better describe content
  • expansion of language to address government and in-house contexts
  • expanded approach to client communication and legal writing
  • addition of business of law topics such as financial considerations, client development and strategic planning
  • broader approach to use of law office technology

Content submitted for accreditation on or after May 30, 2013 will be assessed according to the revised Accreditation Criteria. 

 

New for 2014  

1.  Accredited Provider Framework established

2.  Elimination of separate New Member Requirement

The separate New Member CPD requirement has been eliminated for 2014. New lawyers and paralegals who practise law or provide legal services are now subject to the same CPD requirement as experienced lawyers and paralegals. 

New lawyers and paralegals are required to meet the CPD requirement on a pro rata basis in the month after which they become licensed. For example, lawyers called to the Bar in June of 2014 must complete 6 Hours of CPD, including 1.5 Professionalism Hours, by December 31, 2014. Similarly, paralegals licensed in March 2014 will be required to complete 9 CPD Hours by December 31, 2014, including 6.75 Substantive Hours and 2.25 Professionalism Hours. 

Lawyers and paralegals who become licensed in 2013 are not required to meet the CPD requirement until the 2014 reporting year. However, they may begin to accumulate CPD Hours in 2013. CPD programs and activities taken by new members in 2013 must contain a minimum of 30 minutes of professionalism content in accordance with the 2013 CPD policies. 

3.  Late fee to be implemented

Lawyers and paralegals who do not complete their CPD Hours or who fail to report their CPD through the LSUC Portal by December 31, 2014 will be charged a late fee of $100, in addition to being subject to administrative suspension. 

4.Simplified reporting system

The CPD reporting system will be simplified for 2014 as a result of feedback from lawyers and paralegals. 

Highlights of the enhancements include:

  • A single free form entry screen for all programs and activities
  • Fewer steps and improved navigation 

 In order to implement these changes, the CPD section of the Portal will be unavailable between January 1 and January 19, 2014.

 

Frequently Asked Questions     

Why is the Law Society changing the CPD Requirement?

The Law Society made changes to the CPD Requirement in response to lawyer and paralegal input and following its two-year review of the program. The changes will simplify the administration of the requirement and facilitate compliance, while ensuring the fundamental goal of supporting the competence of the profession is maintained. 

When do the changes come into effect?

All changes are in effect as of January 1, 2014.  The late fee implementation will apply to the 2014 reporting year and will be billable in early 2015.

Where do I find out more information?

More information is available in the CPD Requirement section of the Law Society website. 

How much will the late fee be? 

The late fee for failing to complete or report your 2014 CPD Hours in the LSUC Portal by December 31, 2014 is $100.00.

When will I need to report my CPD Hours to avoid the late fee? Is there a default period like there is for annual report filing? 

You will be charged the late fee and be subject to administrative suspension if you do not complete your 2014 CPD Hours and record them in the LSUC Portal by December 31, 2014.  The late fee is due on January 1, 2015.  You will have 30 days to pay the late fee.

If I am late completing or reporting my 2013 CPD Hours will I be subject to the late fee?

No. The late fee will not be implemented until the 2014 reporting year.

 I co-wrote an article with a colleague prior to May 30, 2013. Can I now apply that activity toward my CPD Requirement?

No. The changes to the writing and editing activities are effective from May 30, 2013 onward. They are not retroactive.  

What is the timing for the implementation of the Accredited Provider Framework?

 Established CPD providers with a proven track record of delivering high-quality programming have been able to apply to be accredited providers since September 2013. The Accredited Provider Framework takes effect January 1, 2014.  

How does my organization apply to be an accredited CPD provider?

The application process for Accredited Provider status opened in September 2013. The Law Society is reviewing applications and Accredited Provider status for those providers who are approved takes effect January 1, 2014. 

Under the new Accredited Provider Framework, is it required that my organization be an accredited provider in order to provide CPD programs with professionalism content?

Providers who are not accredited will continue to be able to apply for accreditation of a specific program. Members can also still apply for credit for an activity through the current accreditation process. 

How has the Accreditation Criteria changed? 

The Accreditation Criteria for Professionalism Hours has been revised to clarify the descriptions and provide increased flexibility with regard to its application. The revised Criteria is broader and recognizes a range of professionalism issues that may arise in different practice areas and practice contexts. Highlights of the changes include:

- realignment of section headings to better describe content

- expansion of language to address government and in-house contexts

- expanded approach to client communication and legal writing

- addition of the business of law topics such as financial considerations, client development and strategic planning

- broader approach to use of law office technology

Content submitted for accreditation on or after May 30, 2013 will be assessed according to the revised criteria. 

Do I need to have my programs re-accredited now that the criteria has changed?

No. The new Accreditation Criteria for Professionalism Hours is broader than the previous criteria and is effective as of May 30, 2013.

I have an application for accreditation pending. Will it be assessed under the new criteria?

Content submitted for accreditation on or after May 30, 2013 will be assessed according to the revised Accreditation Criteria for Professionalism Hours.

What does the elimination of the separate New Member CPD Requirement mean for newly licensed lawyers and paralegals?

Beginning in January 2014, new lawyers and paralegals who practise law or provide legal services will be subject to the same CPD Requirement as experienced lawyers and paralegals.

New lawyers and paralegals will be required to meet the CPD Requirement on a pro rata basis in the month after which they become licensed. For example, lawyers called to the Bar in June of 2014 must complete 6 Hours of CPD, including 1.5 Professionalism Hours, by December 31, 2014. Similarly, paralegals licensed in March 2014 will be required to complete 9 CPD Hours by December 31, 2014, including 6.75 Substantive Hours and 2.25 Professionalism Hours.

What is the CPD Requirement for experienced members?

Experienced lawyers and paralegals who practise law or provide legal services must complete in each calendar year at least 12 CPD Hours in Eligible Educational Activities consisting of a minimum of 3 Professionalism Hours on topics related to professional responsibility, ethics and/or practice management and up to 9 Substantive Hours per year. Only Professionalism Hours must be accredited by the Law Society. The remaining 9 Substantive Hours need not be accredited. Substantive Hours may address substantive or procedural law topics and/or related skills. Non-legal subjects may also be eligible towards Substantive Hours if they are relevant to the lawyer's or paralegal's practice and professional development.  

I was licensed in June 2012. Will I still be subject to the New Member Requirement in 2014?

No. Beginning in 2014, you will be subject to the same CPD Requirement as experienced lawyers and paralegals. You will be required to complete 12 Hours of CPD, including a minimum of 3 Professionalism Hours. You will be free to apply eligible programs and activities that do not contain professionalism content to your requirement, as long as you earn the required 3 Professionalism Hours over the course of the year. 

I received my licence in April 2013. With the elimination of the New Member Requirement for 2014, am I still able to apply any CPD I complete this year to next year’s requirement? If so, do my programs and activities have to include a minimum of 30 minutes of professional content?

Lawyers and paralegals who become licensed in 2013 are not required to meet the CPD Requirement until the 2014 reporting year, but may begin to accumulate CPD Hours in 2013 once they are licensed. CPD programs and activities taken by new members in 2013 must contain a minimum of 30 minutes of professionalism content in accordance with the 2013 New Member Requirement policies.