B. Accreditation Criteria
C. Individual Program Application Process
D. Frequently Asked Questions
E. Accredited Provider Framework
Lawyers and paralegals 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.
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B. Accreditation Criteria
Programs and activities must meet the standards outlined in the Accreditation Criteria for Professionalism Hours in order to qualify for accreditation.
In order to be eligible for Professionalism Hours, programs and activities may address topics from one or more of the three categories of professionalism content: professional responsibility, ethics and/or practice management. Professionalism content may be included as one or more topics within a substantive law program; offered as part of a series of programs related by subject matter; or presented as a stand-alone program. Alternate educational activities such as teaching, writing/editing, mentoring, and study groups may also be accredited for Professionalism Hours if they address professionalism topics.
Professionalism Hours are calculated based on actual time spent on professionalism topics in a program or activity. For example, where a program contains 1 hour of professionalism content, the program will be accredited for 1 Professionalism Hour. Substantive content included in the same program does not need to be accredited to be eligible for Substantive Hours. A minimum of 15 minutes of professionalism content must be included in the program or activity to be eligible for accreditation.
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C. Individual Application Process
1. Application Date
Content should receive accreditation from the Law Society prior to the delivery date of the program or activity.
2. Application Forms and Deadlines
CPD Programs - To apply for accreditation of program content for Professionalism Hours, legal education providers must submit an Application for Program Content Accreditation (PDF) together with a highlighted program agenda, a minimum of 30 days prior to the delivery date of the program.
CPD Activities - Lawyers and paralegals seeking accreditation of activities such as teaching, writing, study groups, or mentoring must complete an Application for Accreditation of Alternate Eligible Educational Activities (PDF) a minimum of 30 days in advance of the commencement date of the proposed activity.
Applications submitted fewer than 30 days prior to the program or activity date may not be considered prior to the program date unless the applicant makes a request to the Law Society for special consideration. Requests for special consideration will only be granted in circumstances where a program or activity is:
- being expedited to address a change in legislation or procedure, a precedent-setting decision, or other time-sensitive issue; and
- scheduled at least three days from the Application date.
The Law Society will review each application for completeness upon receipt. If the Application is approved, the Law Society will notify the provider or member as to whether the program or activity is accredited for Professionalism Hours. If additional information or revisions are required to complete the Application, the Law Society will notify the applicant. The applicant may then revise and resubmit the Application.
3. Response Time
The Law Society will endeavour to respond to applicants within 15 business days from the initial receipt of a completed Application. Accreditation review may be delayed if the Application is incomplete or if more information is required.
4. Communication Guidelines
See Communication Guidelines for Providers
5. Accreditation Period
Accreditation is valid as long as the content is aligned with the Accreditation Criteria. Providers are encouraged to regularly review and update their archived content to ensure that it remains current.
6. Changes to Accredited Programs or Activities
The Law Society recognizes that changes to the program or activity content may occur after the program has been accredited. If a change is made to the title or timing of an accredited program, the provider is required to notify the Law Society. If significant changes are made to the program or activity content, the provider or member must reapply for accreditation.
7. Record-Keeping and Monitoring
Providers whose program content has been accredited by the Law Society are required to implement record-keeping systems and be able to provide members with written confirmation of their registration at the program. The Law Society may also require providers to submit the registration and/or attendance records of the members who registered and/or attended the accredited program.
To validate the information contained in the Application and to assess the content of an accredited program or activity, the Law Society may
- attend the program; and
- require the provider to supply a copy of the program materials.
In addition, members should retain materials such as agendas, papers, and discussion notes on file until the end of the year following the year in which the accredited program or activity was completed. For a detailed outline of required documentation according to the type of eligible educational activity, please see Record Keeping Standards - Evidence of Compliance with Section 4 of By-Law 6.1 (PDF)
8. Application Information and LSUC Portal
Members enter program details on their own using a free-form entry screen, including those that contain Professionalism hours.
Once a program is accredited for Professionalism Hours the Law Society will notify the provider. The provider is responsible for ensuring attendees have all of the program information to allow them to enter their attendance on the LSUC Portal. The Law Society will have accreditation information for programs approved outside of the Accredited Provider Framework. For attendance at Accredited Provider programs, please contact the provider directly for program information. The Law Society agrees to keep Applications from providers, including information about program agendas, confidential.
Once an activity is accredited for Professionalism Hours, the Law Society will notify the member. Once the accredited activity is completed, the member can log into their Portal account to update their hours to reflect the hours listed on the Notice of Accreditation.
9. Revocation of Accreditation
If Law Society monitoring reveals that a provider's accredited professionalism content does not meet the criteria, accreditation for the Professionalism Hours of that provider's program may be suspended or revoked at the discretion of the Executive Director, Professional Competence of the Law Society.
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D. Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the process for accreditation of programs and activities?
Providers and members must submit the appropriate application a minimum of 30 days prior to the date of the program or activity and provide the necessary information. The Law Society will review the Application for completeness and notify you as to whether or not the content of your program or activity has been accredited. If additional information or revisions are required to complete the Application, the Law Society will provide you with specific details regarding the information needed to complete the Application. If you choose to resubmit the Application, the Law Society will consider the revised Application.
2. When can I expect to receive a response from the Law Society to my Application?
The Law Society will endeavour to respond within 15 business days from the initial receipt of a completed Application. Accreditation may be delayed if the Application is incomplete or if more information is required.
3. Do lawyers and paralegals have to complete accredited programs and activities to fulfill the CPD requirement?
Yes. Members are required to complete a minimum of 3 Professionalism Hours (professional responsibility, ethics and/or practice management) and up to 9 Substantive Hours per calendar year. Only Professionalism Hours must be accredited by the Law Society. Substantive Hours do not have to be accredited and may address substantive or procedural law topics, and/or related skills.
4. If a program focuses on substantive or procedural law, do providers have to apply for accreditation?
No. Substantive content is not subject to accreditation. If a program focusing on substantive or procedural law includes professionalism content on related topics and issues, that portion of the program may be eligible for Professionalism Hours.
A program on developments in corporate/commercial law could contain content on one or more of the following professionalism topics: managing client expectations in a commercial transaction, identifying and managing conflicts of interest, billing the corporate client, or marketing your corporate and commercial expertise to clients.
A program on custody and access in family law matters could contain content on one or more of the following professionalism topics: client identification, managing the difficult client, dealing with the self-represented party and risk management.
A series of programs on special needs trusts could include content on communicating with clients with diminished capacity.
See Application Process for more information.
5. What is the minimum amount of time that will be considered for accreditation?
Programs and activities must contain a minimum of 15 minutes hours of professionalism content to qualify for accreditation.
6. How are CPD Hours calculated?
Professionalism Hours are calculated based on actual time spent on professionalism topics in a program or activity. For example, where a program contains 1 hour of professionalism content, the program will be accredited for 1 Professionalism Hour. Substantive content included in the same program does not need to be accredited to be eligible for Substantive Hours.
7. Will a CPD program qualify for accreditation if it is viewed as a webcast?
Programs may be delivered in a variety of flexible formats, including live lecture, discussion, demonstration, small-group workshop, interactive online course, audio and webcast (either live or archived). For a live webcast to be interactive, there must be an opportunity to pose a question during the program via e-mail or some other interactive mechanism. Similarly, viewing an archived or recorded program with another colleague qualifies as interactive. For example, a member of a small firm may arrange to watch an archived video webcast with colleagues and then have a group discussion about the issues raised after the presentation.
Viewing archived or recorded webcasts, video replays, or other recorded program formats without a colleague are eligible educational activities for up to 6 hours per year.
8. Is it possible to obtain accreditation for the professionalism content of a program or activity scheduled less than 30 days from the Application date?
If you seek accreditation for a program to be held less than 30 days from the Application date, you may request special consideration and explain your reasons on the Application. Special consideration will only be granted to programs being expedited to provide members with timely information on significant changes in the law. To enable the Law Society to review the expedited program, the provider must schedule the program for a date no earlier than three business days from the Application date. Applications that do not qualify for expedited review will be reviewed within standard processing timelines. The Law Society cannot guarantee that an assessment will be complete prior to the program date.
9. How long is accreditation valid for?
Accreditation is valid as long as the content presented is current and relevant to the registrant’s practice. Providers are encouraged to regularly update their live and archived content to ensure their content is aligned with the Accreditation Criteria for Professionalism Hours.
10. May I submit one Application for the professionalism content of more than one program or activity?
No, a separate Application is required for the professionalism content of each program for which you seek accreditation. Only one Application is required for the professionalism content of programs with related subject matter that are presented as a series.
11. What if the content or timing of my program or activity changes after the program has been accredited?
If the program title or timing has changed, providers should notify the Law Society as soon as possible so that we can update our records. If the professionalism content of the program or activity has changed significantly, a new application is required. Otherwise, you do not need to reapply for accreditation. The original accreditation will still apply.
12. How will the Law Society monitor my program or activity?
The Law Society will conduct random requests for program materials and/or in person program audits to ensure alignment with the Accreditation Criteria for Professionalism Hours. The Law Society may also audit providers' registration records for the purpose of determining member compliance with the Requirement.
In addition, the Law Society will audit members to verify completion of CPD Hours. Please see Record Keeping Standards - Evidence of Compliance with Section 4 of By-Law 6.1 (PDF) for more information on required documentation according to the type of eligible educational activity.
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