April 2008

New bencher elected
New bencher Jack Braithwaite, of Sudbury, was elected at April Convocation. Mr. Braithwaite was elected to replace Kim Carpenter-Gunn who was appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice.

New client identification and verification requirements come into effect October 31
Convocation approved amendments to By-Law 7.1 [Operational Obligations and Responsibilities] to establish rigorous client identification and verification regulations for Ontario's lawyers and paralegals. The amendments, effective October 31, 2008, enhance public protection by requiring the lawyer or paralegal to identify and verify the identity of a client, which will assist in preventing potential fraudulent or criminal activities.

The amendments to By-Law 7.1 are based on a Model Rule developed by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, the umbrella organization for Canada's 14 Law Societies. The adoption of the rule and its implementation in the by-laws follows the Law Society's consultation with the profession on the content of the Model Rule in the fall of 2007.

See Professional Regulation Committee report for more information.

Law Society views Lakehead law school proposal as important initiative
Convocation voted to express its view to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities and to the National Committee on Accreditation that a proposal from Lakehead University for the establishment of a new law school is an important initiative worthy of careful consideration.

In Ontario, the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities approves the establishment of university programs, including new law schools.

The National Committee on Accreditation is a subcommittee of the Federation of Law Societies, the umbrella organization for Canadian Law Societies. The Federation of Law Societies is responsible to assess, on behalf of Canadian law societies, whether a proposed law program curriculum meets certain requirements. If appropriate, the Federation will recommend to law societies that the proposed program's graduates be entitled to enter provincial bar admission programs or licensing processes without having to satisfy any additional requirements. Each Law Society then determines whether or not to accept the recommendation. This process helps to ensure national consistency and the portability of law degrees across Canada.

Generally, the graduates of approved Canadian law programs are able to directly enter the licensing process of Canadian law societies. Graduates of foreign universities must have their degree assessed and accredited by the National Committee of Accreditation prior to starting the licensing process. They may have to write examinations or take certain law school courses in order to have their degree accredited.

See the Professional Development and Competence Committee report for more information.

Amendments to By-Law 8 respecting licensee information requirements and the Law Society register
Convocation amended By-Law 8 [Reporting and Filing Requirements] to require that licensees report changes in their personal and business information to the Law Society as they occur and provide specified information to the Law Society when requested to do so.

The amendments also set out the content of the Law Society register of licensees and the manner in which the register may be made available to the public.

See Professional Regulation Committee report and Paralegal Standing Committee report for more information.

New private practice re-entry requirements replace Private Practice Refresher Program
New private practice re-entry requirements will replace the Private Practice Refresher Program (PPRP). The re-entry review requirements will see lawyers, who for 80 percent or more of the five years immediately preceding the date of their application to enter private practice were not in private practice and who now intend to practise in firms of five or fewer lawyers, undergo a practice management review within 12 months of their (re-)entry into private practice. During the practice management review, applicants for (re-)entry into private practice will receive tailored advice on managing their practices from seasoned professionals.

Convocation also approved a transitional provision for those who have already applied and been accepted into the PPRP.

See the Professional Development and Competence Committee report for more information.

Rules of Professional Conduct and Paralegal Rules of Conduct amended
Rules 2.08 (6), (7) and (8) of the Rules of Professional Conduct were amended to refer to licensees rather than lawyers, making clear that lawyers may divide fees with and accept referral fees from paralegals in accordance with the rules. The amendments also make clear that the prohibition on splitting fees or paying referral fees does not apply to arrangements between lawyers and paralegals. The amendments make the rules consistent with the companion rules in the Paralegal Rules of Conduct .

Minor amendments were also made to the Paralegal Rules of Conduct to ensure complete consistency.

See the Professional Regulation Committee report for more information.

By-Law 7.1 amended to include provisions for paralegal supervision of non-licensees
Convocation amended By-Law 7.1 [Operational Obligations and Responsibilities] to specify that both paralegal and lawyer licensees must have effective control of the work of supervised persons and must assume complete professional responsibility for the work. Where the licensee gives the supervised person express instruction and authorization, the supervised person may act on behalf of the licensee in respect of scheduling or other related routine administrative matters before an adjudicative body. The by-law was first made in October 2007 and originally focussed on provisions for the supervision and delegation of tasks by lawyers to others.

See Paralegal Standing Committee report for more information.

Discrimination and Harassment Counsel hourly rates increased
Convocation approved an increase in the hourly rate for the Discrimination and Harassment Counsel (DHC) and the Alternate Discrimination and Harassment Counsel from $175 / hour to $250 / hour and an increase in the annual budget for the program from $100,000 to $150,000, effective immediately.

The DHC program is available to anyone who may have experienced discrimination or harassment by a lawyer or paralegal. The DHC's confidential services are offered free-of-charge to the Ontario public, including law firm staff, students, paralegals and lawyers.

By-Laws 4 and 5 amended regarding Annual Fee for paralegals
By-law 4 [Licensing] and By-law 5 [Annual Fee] were amended to provide that paralegal licensees who are over 65 years of age or are incapacitated may apply to be exempted from payment of the annual fee.

See Paralegal Standing Committee report for more information.

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

  • Lawyers in China (a public statement and letter of intervention were approved)
  • Extra-judicial killings in the Philippines (a letter of intervention was approved)

The Human Rights Monitoring Group was established to monitor human rights violations that target lawyers and judges as a result of the discharge of their legitimate professional duties.

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

By-Laws 4 and 7.1 amended regarding summer law students
Convocation approved amendments to By-Law 4 [Licensing] and By-Law 7.1 [Operational Obligations and Responsibilities] to restore the right of law students working in law firms during the summer to appear as agents in court matters. Summer students inadvertently lost the right to act as agents as a result of amendments to the Law Society Act . Supervisory rules governing the lawyers who hire summer students ensure the protection of the public.

See the Professional Development and Competence Committee report for more information.

Financial statements approved
Convocation approved the following financial statements:

  • General Fund - Audited Financial Statements for the year ended December 31, 2007
  • Compensation Fund- Audited Financial Statements for the year ended December 31, 2007
  • LibraryCo Inc. - Audited Financial Statements for the year ended December 31, 2007.

Convocation also appointed Deloitte & Touche LLP as the auditor of the Law Society's General Fund and Compensation Fund and LibraryCo Inc. for the 2008 financial year.

For more information see the Audit Committee report .

Appointments
Bencher Larry Banack was reappointed as the Chair of the Hearing Panel. Bencher Bonnie Warkentin was reappointed as Vice-Chair of the Hearing Panel. Bencher Mark Sandler was reappointed Chair of the Appeal Panel. Benchers Abdul Chahbar, W. Dan Chilcott, Alan Gold, Janet Minor, Sydney Robins, Allan Rock, Mark Sandler and Bradley Wright were reappointed to the Appeal Panel. All above appointments are effective June 28, 2008.

A number of people were also appointed to the Hearing Panel. See motion for a complete list of appointments.

Compensation Fund per claimant limit increased for claims involving a lawyer
The Compensation Fund's per claimant limit was raised to $150,000 from $100,000 for claims involving a lawyer licensee. The limit increase will apply only to claims involving funds advanced to a lawyer licensee on or after April 24, 2008, the date the increase was approved.

See the Compensation Fund Committee report for more information.

Agenda and Minutes

Reports

Audit Committee Report  

  • Audited Financial Statements for the Year Ended December 31, 2007
    • General Fund
    • Compensation Fund
    • LibraryCo
  • Appointment of Law Society Auditor
    For Information  
  • Investment Compliance Report
  • Auditor's Report

Compensation Fund Committee Report  

  • Appointment of Referees to the Compensation Fund (in camera)  
  • Per Claimant Limit Increase
    For Information  
  • Grants Paid by Fund
  • Year End Actuarial Report

Equity and Aboriginal Issues Committee  

  • Human Rights Monitoring Interventions (in camera)  
  • Discrimination and Harassment Counsel (in camera)
    For Information
     
  • Career Choices Survey (in camera)  
  • Endorsement of Statement about Lawyers and Judges in Pakistan
  • Public Education

Finance Committee Report  

  • Denison Fund Applications (in camera)
    For Information  
  • Compensation Fund Increase To Claimant Limit
  • Discrimination and Harassment Counsel (in camera)  

Report of the Director of Professional Development and Competence  

  • Deemed Call Candidates

Paralegal Standing Committee Report  

  • Amendments to By-Law 7.1: Supervision Rules for Paralegals
  • Amendments to By-Laws 4 and 5: Exemptions from Annual Fee
    For Information  
  • Model Rule on Client Identification
  • Amendments to By-Law 8 - Information
  • Recent decisions: R. v. Roman Toutissani and Re Dell  
  • Update on the Regulation of Immigration Consultants

Professional Development & Competence Committee Report  

Professional Regulation Committee Report  

  • Amendment to By-Law 7.1 Respecting Client Identification and Verification Requirements
  • Amendments to By-Law 8 Respecting Licensee Information Requirements and the Law Society Register
  • Amendments to Rule 2.08 of the Rules of Professional Conduct  

Motions