May 2009

Law Society Treasurer elected by acclamation for second term
Treasurer W. A. Derry Millar has been elected by acclamation for a second term as head of the Law Society of Upper Canada. As president, the Treasurer oversees Convocation, the Law Society's governing body.

"Leading the Law Society is a tremendous privilege," says Treasurer Millar. "I am particularly grateful for the opportunity to work with so many dedicated individuals, within Convocation, the Law Society and the legal and paralegal communities at large. I look forward to the continuation of our work." Full release .

Voluntary demographic data collection
In an effort to better understand demographic trends in the profession, to develop programs and initiatives within the mandate of the Law Society and to promote equality and diversity, the Law Society will ask lawyers and paralegals whether they self-identify as members of equality-seeking communities beginning in the 2009 Member's and Paralegal's Annual Reports.

The question will be voluntary and the information will be kept confidential and only used in aggregate form in accordance with human rights and privacy legislations. Full report .

New oaths for lawyers and paralegals
New oaths to be sworn by lawyers upon call to the bar and paralegals upon entry to the paralegal profession were approved by Convocation. Approved oaths . More information is available in the Paralegal Standing Committee and the Professional Development and Competence Committee reports.

Non-bencher adjudicators appointed to Hearing Panel
Lawyers Margot Blight, Howard Ungerman, Adriana Doyle, Jacques Mnard and lay person Sarah Walker were appointed as non-bencher adjudicators to the Law Society Hearing Panel. Convocation approved the inclusion of non-benchers on the Hearing Panel in April 2007 to assist in scheduling a lay person on every hearing and to provide the Hearing Panel with additional lawyer adjudicators.

Discrimination and Harassment Counsel program six year review
The Discrimination and Harassment Counsel confidentially provides advice to anyone who may have experienced discrimination or harassment by a lawyer or paralegal, by advising of various avenues of redress and providing information about each option. The Discrimination and Harassment Counsel's semi-annual report , received at May Convocation, includes a six year overview of the program. Since the program was launched in 2003, there have been 1,025 new contacts with the program, of which 338 were complaints of discrimination or harassment against Ontario lawyers - averaging approximately 56 complaints per year. The program was expanded to include paralegals in 2008.

The Law Society provides the Discrimination and Harassment Counsel service free-of-charge to the Ontario public, lawyers and paralegals.

Update on the Ontario Civil Legal Needs Project
The telephone survey phase of the Ontario Civil Legal Needs Project is expected to be launched by the beginning of June. Approximately 2,000 low and middle-income Ontarians will be contacted to discuss their civil legal needs as well as their views of the justice system. Focus groups with legal service and information providers will also take place in the early summer. Completion of both research phases is anticipated by the fall.

The Law Society is partnering with Pro Bono Law Ontario and Legal Aid Ontario in the Ontario Civil Legal Needs Project. Additional support for the initiative is provided by the Law Foundation of Ontario. The project is a comprehensive, empirically based study designed to build an understanding of the legal needs of low and middle-income Ontarians and determine how the legal community can better meet those needs.

Human Rights Monitoring Group
Convocation approved the Human Rights Monitoring Group recommended intervention in the following case:
- lawyer and former judge Birtukan Mideksa (Ethiopia)

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

Finance Committee report
Convocation approved two adjustments to the capital expenditure budget approved in November 2008: the replacement of water pipes in the south wing and the refurbishment of certain washrooms in the north wing. Convocation also approved the renewal of the lease of space at 393 University Avenue.

See the Finance Committee report for more information.

Bencher Paul Henderson was reappointed and bencher Gerald Swaye was appointed to the LibraryCo Board of Directors commencing May 31, 2009 for a term of one year.

Bencher Paul Henderson was appointed a member of the Appeal Panel and the Vice-Chair of the Appeal Panel.

Bencher William Simpson was appointed and bencher Susan McGrath was reappointed to the Ontario Bar Association Council commencing June 28, 2009 for a term of two years.

Benchers Julian Porter (Chair), Beth Symes (Vice-Chair) and Glenn Hainey, Brian Lawrie, andAlan Silverstein were reappointed to the Proceedings Authorization Committee for a term of one year, commencing June 26, 2009.

Kim Bernhardt was appointed to the Ontario Judicial Council for a term of four years, commencing August 17, 2009.

Agenda and Minutes


Equity and Aboriginal Issues Committee

  • Demographic Data Collection through the Member's Annual Report and Paralegal's Annual Report
  • Human Rights Monitoring Group Interventions (in camera)
    For Information
  • Semi-Annual Report of the Discrimination and Harassment Counsel
  • Public Education Equality Services and Rule of Law Series Calendar 2009

Finance Committee

  • Capital Expenditures
  • In Camera Item
    For Information
  • J. Shirley Denison Fund

Paralegal Standing Committee

  • Proposed Paralegal Oath
    For Information
  • Collection of Demographic Information on the Paralegal Annual Report

Professional Development & Competence Committee

  • Proposed Lawyer and Paralegal Oaths

Report of the Director of Professional Development and Competence

  • Deemed call candidates


Access to Justice

  • Update on Ontario Civil Needs Project

Audit Committee

  • General Fund - Audited Financial Statements for the Quarter Ended March 31, 2009
  • Compensation Fund - Audited Financial Statements for the Quarter Ended March 31, 2009
  • Investment Compliance Reporting
  • Committee Activities

Professional Regulation Committee

  • Report of the Complaints Resolution Commissioner
  • Report on the Call for Input on Proposed Amendments to Rule 6.03(9) of the Rules of Professional Conduct