New bencher elected
Carl Fleck was elected as bencher at April Convocation. Mr. Fleck, who practises in Sarnia, was elected to fill the vacancy created by the appointment of Adriana Doyle as judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario, Family Court.
Award to honour John Shirley Denison established
Convocation approved the establishment of an award in honour of John Shirley Denison, to be bestowed annually in recognition of significant contributions to access to justice and/or poverty issues. The award is named in honour of former Treasurer John Shirley Denison and his commitment to helping others. The J. Shirley Denison Fund, which was established through a bequest from the former Treasurer, assisted indigent lawyers and their families. Full report.
CPD compliance desk audits to be eliminated
The Law Society will no longer be conducting desk audits to monitor CPD compliance. The audits of randomly selected lawyers and paralegals were determined to be no longer necessary following assessments of CPD compliance information. They were referred to as ‘desk audits’ as no site visit was required. CPD audits will continue to be part of lawyer practice management reviews and paralegal practice audits. Full report.
2014 Audited Financial Statements approved
Convocation approved the draft audited Annual Financial Statements for the Law Society for the financial year ended December 31, 2014. Full report.
By-Law 3 amended
By-Law 3 [Benchers, Convocation and Committees] was amended to change the date for the close of nominations for the election of the Treasurer in a lawyer bencher election year to a date after the May Convocation. Full report.
Interim report on compliance-based, entity regulation received
A status report on the development of a framework for the regulation of firms using a compliance-based approach was provided to Convocation. Compliance-based regulation is a proactive, outcomes-focused approach where the regulator sets out expected outcomes and provides flexibility as to how the outcomes are achieved. It would most effectively be implemented if the Law Society had the authority to regulate entities, or law firms. Compliance-based, entity regulation has been found to significantly reduce complaints and improve ethical conduct. The Law Society plans to continue to study the issue and expects to engage with the profession on the topic in the coming year. Full report.
Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Working Group releases interim report
The Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Working Group delivered an interim report to Convocation, providing an overview of the input gathered from more than 1,000 racialized and non-racialized lawyers and paralegals, legal organizations and members of the public during its consultation process last fall and winter.
Feedback indicates that the profession sees this project as an opportunity to influence change. The working group plans to continue to consider the balance of submissions, to consider policy options that are within the Law Society’s mandate and prepare a final report to Convocation in fall 2015. Full report.
Michelle Haigh elected Chair of the Paralegal Standing Committee
Michelle Haigh was elected the Chair of the Paralegal Standing Committee at its April 2015 meeting. The Chair is elected by the committee annually.
Update on renewal process for Aboriginal Initiatives Strategy
Bencher Susan Hare provided Convocation with an update on the Aboriginal Initiatives Strategy renewal process, which involves:
- engaging with First Nation, Métis and Inuit lawyers and paralegals to explore how best to support them in the work they do
- extending Law Society outreach and engagement, for the first time, to First Nation, Métis and Inuit leaders and citizens to understand justice issues from their perspective
- working to assist all lawyers and paralegals in Ontario in recognizing and responding to their clients’ diverse legal service needs.
The goal of the renewal is to understand the role that the Law Society plays in the broader reconciliation process between Canada and the First Peoples. Full report.
Tribunal Annual Report released
The Law Society Tribunal Annual Report is now available. It provides an annual snapshot of the Tribunal’s operations and developments and an overview of the progress of the 2012 reforms implementation. Full report.
Mentoring and Advisory Services Proposal Task Force delivers interim report
The Mentoring and Advisory Services Proposal Task Force delivered an interim report outlining key issues and considerations. The Task Force plans to continue its consideration of these factors in the context of the Law Society’s strategic priority development, with a view of developing a proposal for Convocation’s consideration for an appropriate advisory and coaching service initiative. Full report.
Human Rights Monitoring Group Request for Intervention approved
Convocation approved requests for intervention in the following cases, subject to confirmation of supporting information:
a. Lawyer Alberto Nisman – Argentina
b. Lawyers in the Philippines
Audit and Finance Committee Report
Convocation approved the updated Investment Policy for the Law Society. Full report.
Hearing Division forms amended
Hearing Division forms 9A, 9B, 13A and 24A (English and French) were amended to remove the current address for the Law Society Tribunal and replace it with a generic reference. The Tribunal will be moving to new premises in August, 2015. Full report.
LawPRO annual shareholder resolutions
Convocation authorized the Treasurer to sign the shareholder resolutions for the Lawyers’ Professional Indemnity Company (LawPRO) as set out in the report. Full report.
LibraryCo Inc. annual meeting
Convocation authorized the Treasurer to sign the LibraryCo Inc. proxy in favour of the proposed shareholder resolutions as set out in the report. Full report.
Bencher Raj Anand was appointed a Co-Chair of the Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Working Group.
Bencher E. Susan Elliott was appointed Vice-Chair of the Audit and Finance Committee.