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April 2015 Convocation


Convocation approved a submission in response to the Ministry of the Attorney General’s consultation report on Administrative Monetary Penalties. The submission states that in order for the Law Society to provide a meaningful appraisal of the proposal, further details are required, including: the choice of offences to be transferred; whether the penalty would in some circumstances include demerit points; the details of the dispute resolution system, including the opportunity to dispute; the design of the online process; and the qualifications and choice of hearing officers. The submission also states that access to justice issues require more information, including on any impact on individuals rights, public safety, and on the availability of any new system to the public, including different language groups and those without access to electronic communications. The Law Society plans to participate in further consultations. 


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

Full report.

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.



Consent Agenda- Motion

  • Confirmation of Draft Minutes of Convocation – February 26, March 30 and April 8, 2015
  • Motion – Appointments
  • Report of the Director of Professional Development and Competence - Deemed Call Candidates
  • Treasurer’s Reports – LAWPRO Annual Shareholders Resolutions and LibraryCo Inc. Proxy

Secretary’s Report

  • Amendment to By-Law 3

Address by Michele H. Hollins Q.C., President of the Canadian Bar Association

Address by Orlando Da Silva, President of the Ontario Bar Association

Audit & Finance Committee Report 

  • Law Society Audited Financial Statements for the Year Ended December 31, 2014
  • Investment Policy
  • Investment Manager and Custodian
  • Cheque Signing Authority
  • For Information
    • LAWPRO Annual Financial Statements for the Year Ended December 31, 2014
    • LibraryCo Inc. Annual Financial Statements for the Year Ended December 31, 2014
    • Investment Compliance Reporting for the Year Ended December 31, 2014
    • LAWPRO Report (S. McGrath)

Equity and Aboriginal Issues Committee/Comité sur l’équité et les affaires autochtones Report 

  • Human Rights Monitoring Group Interventions
  • For Information
    • Human Rights Monitoring Group Past Intervention
    • Renewal Process for the Aboriginal Initiatives Strategy
    • Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Working Group Status Report
    • Snapshots of the Professions
    • Discrimination and Harassment Counsel Semi-Annual Report for the Period July 1 to December 31, 2014
    • Equity Legal Education and Rule of Law Series Calendar 2015

Heritage Committee Report

  • Proposal for Establishment of the J. Shirley Denison Award

Professional Development and Competence Committee Report

  • Elimination of CPD Compliance Desk Audits

Tribunal Committee Report

  • Housekeeping Amendments to the Hearing Division Forms
  • For Information
    • Tribunal Annual Report

Access to Justice Committee Report

  • For Information
    • Proposal for Establishment of the J. Shirley Denison Award

Paralegal Standing Committee Report

  • For Information
    • Election of the Chair of the Paralegal Standing Committee


Federation of Law Societies of Canada Update

Mentoring and Advisory Services Proposal Task Force

  • Interim Report

Professional Regulation Committee Report

  • Entity and Compliance-Based Regulation Review Status Report

Report from The Action Group on Access to Justice (TAG)

Law Society Submission to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy on Bill 49, Ontario Immigration Act, 2015

View the archive of this month's Convocation webcast.

Terms or Concepts Explained