Back to Navigation

FAQs

This page will be updated on an ongoing basis following the launch of the Access to Innovation (A2I) project. If you can’t find the answer to your question below, please contact the A2I team at accesstoinnovation@lso.ca.

General:

For Potential Applicants:

  • 1. Who can apply to the Access to Innovation (A2I) project?

    The A2I project is open to any type of legal service provider – licensed lawyer or paralegal, non-licensed person, law firm, business or not-for-profit organization. If you are seeking to deliver legal services via innovative technology and currently face regulatory barriers, the A2I project is designed for you.

    A2I participants must have obtained all other applicable permissions, such as business permits, to operate in Ontario.

  • 2. What are the benefits for legal innovators who participate in the Access to Innovation (A2I) project?
  • 3. Is the Access to Innovation (A2I) project an incubator/accelerator?

    The Law Society of Ontario (LSO) is responsible for regulating the provision of legal services in Ontario, and the A2I project is first and foremost a regulatory initiative. It is not an incubator or accelerator in the common understanding of those terms. For example, the A2I project is not designed to provide funding support or operational mentorship and resources to participants.

    Nevertheless, the LSO recognizes the important role that incubators and accelerators play in spurring innovation. Many of the features and objectives of the A2I project are compatible with those of incubators and accelerators.

    For example, by reducing regulatory uncertainty and offering routes to approved service provision, the A2I project gives Innovative Technological Legal Services (ITLS) providers confidence that they can grow successful, sustainable operations. By establishing operating criteria and parameters, the A2I project can also help give ITLS providers targets for the features and protections they need to build into their service models – for example, cybersecurity requirements to protect consumers’ confidential information.

    Read more about how the A2I project works.

  • 4. How can I apply to the Access to Innovation project?
  • 5. Is there a deadline to apply, or any cap on the number of applicants or participants?

    There is no deadline to apply to the A2I project. You may apply at any point during the five-year pilot period, rather than at certain fixed intake periods.

    There is no cap on the number of applicants or participants in the A2I project.

  • 6. How are applications reviewed?

    Applications are first processed by the Access to Innovation (A2I) team, who may follow up to discuss gaps or concerns. When an application is considered complete, it is advanced for review by the Advisory Council. The Advisory Council is composed of independent experts with a wide range of professional backgrounds and perspectives.

    Applications are reviewed based on approval criteria tied to the A2I project’s objectives. The Advisory Council prepares a recommendation for the A2I manager to either approve, reject, or return the application for further information.

    After reviewing the Advisory Council’s recommendation, the A2I manager decides to approve, reject, or return the application for further information. Each application decision will be communicated in a written report from the A2I manager that explains the basis for the decision. Decisions to approve applicants will be published online.

  • 7. What happens if my application is not approved?

    Each application decision will be communicated in a written report that explains the basis for the decision. Applicants may request a review of a decision to reject an application or of conditions imposed in a decision to approve an application. Review decisions are made by an Executive Director of the Law Society of Ontario. Application approval decisions will be made with reference to the approval criteria.

  • 8. If my application is approved, how long will my operating period be in the Access to Innovation (A2I) project?

    The A2I project offers flexibility regarding the length of approved operating periods. A typical operating period would last for two years, but each approved participant will be given an individualized operating period that best meets the needs of both the Law Society and the participant. There will be options to modify or extend the operating period on mutual consent.

  • 9. What operating requirements will apply to approved Access to Innovation participants?

    Operating requirements will be tailored to the individual circumstances of each A2I participant and any identified risks involved in their delivery of legal services.

    Participants will commonly be required to:

    • Communicate certain information to consumers, including, for example:
      • disclosure that the provider is an approved participant in the A2I project
      • informed consent disclosures (where applicable), for example, that the provider has certain limitations in terms of the tasks or functions that it is permitted to perform
      • information about how to make a complaint or provide feedback.
    • collect and report data to the Law Society
    • maintain a system for addressing consumer complaints
    • carry appropriate insurance
    • submit to ongoing monitoring and auditing protocols.
  • 10. What kind of information will I need to report to the Law Society during my approved operating period?

    Data reporting is an important component of the Access to Innovation (A2I) project. It allows for effective monitoring and evaluation of participants (including to support decisions to issue permits upon completion of the A2I operating period) and also provides detailed evidence to support the Law Society’s regulatory policy-making.

    Reporting requirements will be tailored to the individual circumstances of each A2I participant, and any identified risks involved in their delivery of legal services. Reported data will be required to be aggregated, de-identified, and/or anonymized, as appropriate in the circumstances to best protect confidential and personally-identifiable information.

    Examples of information that participants may be required to report include:

    • consumer interest and uptake
    • consumer demographics
    • performance outcomes and quality of service
    • legal process outcomes
    • complaint resolution outcomes and service feedback
    • pricing information
    • financial and other business outcomes
    • marketing models.


    The Law Society of Ontario (LSO) will securely store all application materials and participation data and will grant access only to the A2I team and the Advisory Council members who will review those materials. LSO staff and Advisory Council members work under strict obligations to protect data security and confidentiality and to avoid conflicts of interest.

  • 11. What happens if I decide to change how I deliver services during my approved operating period?

    If proposed changes to your service delivery model will impact the conditions of your approval or any terms of your participation agreement, contact the A2I team promptly to discuss options. The A2I project aims to be flexible and cognizant of business realities in the legal innovation space.

  • 12. What happens after I have completed my operating period?

    At the conclusion of your operating period in the Access to Innovation (A2I) project, the A2I team evaluates your performance. Participants that meet expectations during their operating period can receive a permit to continue providing legal services in Ontario on an ongoing basis.

For the Public:

Terms or Concepts Explained