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LSO COVID-19 Response

FAQs: LSO Operations

LSO Operations

  • Is the Law Society open?

    The Law Society, like many organizations, has begun to implement a phased and gradual plan to return employees to our on-site locations, in line with advice from government and public health authorities.

    While we are still in the initial stages of our plan, this means that the reception area at Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen St. W., is now accessible to candidates, licensees and the public for document drop-off or pick-up.

    Please note that as of July 20, anyone entering the building will be required to wear a mask or face covering. 

    Prior to attending our office to drop off or pick up documents, please review the screening questions provided by the City of Toronto. If you answer ‘yes’ to any of the screening questions or are feeling unwell, please stay home and follow the advice of public health officials.

    For those visiting Osgoode Hall, please use the east entrance to the building off Nathan Phillips Square. Please adhere to the directional signage and markings that are in place to facilitate physical distancing. We also ask that you follow the direction of security personnel or LSO team members, as we work together to keep everyone safe.

    We will keep licensees and Ontarians up to date with subsequent phases of our return to office plan, as we move ahead in a thoughtful and measured way.

    Whether our team is working on-site or remotely, we remain available to assist you. Contact us by phone at 416-947-3315, or by email at lawsociety@lso.ca.

    Last updated: July 17

  • Is the Law Society Tribunal Open?

    Since March 16, 2020, all proceeding management and pre-hearing conferences have been held electronically. This will continue indefinitely.

    Additionally, the Tribunal has formally converted all in-person hearings scheduled until December 31, 2020 to videoconference.

    Until further notice, the Tribunal will accept materials filed electronically or in hard copy.

    Hard copy materials can be filed by having them delivered to Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen Street W., Toronto, Ontario M5H 2N6. 

    Please note that anyone entering Osgoode Hall is required to wear a mask or face covering. 

    For detailed updates regarding the filing of materials, format of appearances, public attendance at electronic appearances, adjourned hearings, legislative provisions and requests to admit, please refer to the September 4, updated 2020 Notice to the Professions and the Public.  

    More information and ongoing updates can be found on the Tribunal’s website.

    Last updated: September 4

  • Are the Courts Open?
    The Ministry of the Attorney General, which is responsible for the administration of courts and courthouse facilities, has established a phased plan to return courts to full operation in Ontario. The first phase of that plan has been announced to begin on Monday July 6, 2020, with the opening of a limited number of courthouses and courtrooms. The Ministry plans to continue expanding court operations with a targeted completion date of November 1, 2020. 
     
    The Ministry will be implementing health and safety measures in each courthouse, including the installation of plexiglas barriers, hand sanitizer stations, distance markers and caps on the number of occupants in each room, as well as increased screening for entering any courthouse. Site risk assessments to ensure that all necessary health and safety precautions, based on public health expert advice, will be implemented for the protection of all court users, including licensees, litigants, and members of the public.
     
    The Ministry has indicated that courthouses will only be opened if it concludes that the health and safety of courthouse participants can be adequately protected.
     
    Licensees should continue to check the Ministry’s website or their Court Services website for further information and updates.

    Licensees should also check the applicable court website for information about attendance at specific courthouses.

    Ontario Court of Justice - https://www.ontariocourts.ca/ocj/
    Superior Court of Justice - https://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/
    Court of Appeal for Ontario - https://www.ontariocourts.ca/coa/en/
    Supreme Court of Canada - https://www.scc-csc.ca/

    Licensees should also continue to follow public health guidance to minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19. This includes hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, environmental cleaning and physical distancing. For more information, review the recommendations set out in these public health resources and consider implementing them:
    Public Health Ontario:  
    Government of Ontario:  
    Government of Canada:


    Last updated: June 26

  • Are Land Registry Offices Open?
    Land Registry Offices are administered by the provincial government.

    To ensure that you are up-to-date with the most current information, please regularly check the Service Ontario website and contact your local land registry office.

    Last updated: March 19
  • When will the Law Society’s 2020 Annual General Meeting take place?

    The Law Society’s Annual General Meeting, originally scheduled for May 13, will take place on Monday, August 10 at 5:15 p.m. at Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen St. W., Toronto and by webcast, or, if required, as a virtual meeting. All members of the Law Society are invited to attend. More details will be provided to licensees closer to the date.

    Last updated: June 2

Annual Fees and Annual Report Filings

  • Is there any change to the due date for 2019 Annual Report Filing?

    The 2019 Annual Report Filing (formerly Lawyer Annual Report, Paralegal Annual Report, or Canadian Legal Advisor Annual Report) should be filed through the Law Society Portal. This is accessible even as businesses implement work from home plans.

    In recognition of the challenges faced by licensees over the last few months, all administrative suspension processes were deferred until July 1, 2020. To provide licensees who may be facing challenging circumstances additional time to respond, we deferred further action until August 15, at which time late filing fees will be applied.

    It is important for you to address this matter now, as the administrative suspension process will begin as of September 15.


    Last updated: August 17

  • Will the Law Society be charging a late payment fee to licensees who have not yet paid their 2020 annual fee?

    In recognition of the challenges faced by licensees over the last few months, all administrative suspension processes were deferred until July 1, 2020. To provide licensees who may be facing challenging circumstances additional time to respond, we deferred further action until August 15, at which time late fees will be applied.

    It is important for you to address this matter now, as the administrative suspension process will begin as of September 15.

    You also have the option to move to the monthly payment plan

    Last updated: August 17

  • I’m enrolled in the Pre-Authorized Payment Plan. Is there any consideration for licensees who pay their annual fees through this plan?
    Yes. The Law Society is deferring the April, May, June and July withdrawals for licensees enrolled in the Pre-Authorized Monthly Payment Plan for this year in recognition of the financial strain caused by COVID-19. 
     
    As a licensee enrolled in the Plan, you will have your scheduled April, May, June and July withdrawals deferred until August. This means that your outstanding annual fee balance will be withdrawn from the bank account on file for you, in equivalent amounts each month from August to December, rather than from April to December as originally scheduled. The withdrawals will resume on the 5th business day of August. 

    Last updated: June 29
  • I have already paid my annual fees in full. Can I get a refund or a portion of the fees back?
    The Law Society’s statement about deferring fees until July relates to outstanding annual fees that have not yet been paid. As set out in the message to licensees, we thank and acknowledge those licensees who have already paid their fees.

    Last updated: May 14
  • Will the Law Society be administratively suspending licensees who have not paid their annual fees and/or complied with the 2019 CPD Requirement?

    In recognition of the challenges faced by licensees over the last few months, all administrative suspension processes were deferred until July 1, 2020. To provide licensees who may be facing challenging circumstances additional time to respond, we deferred further action until August 15.

    It is important for you to address this matter now, as the administrative suspension process will begin as of September 15.

    Last updated: August 17

  • What about LAWPRO levies and premiums? Are these still due?
    LAWPRO released an update on March 26 regarding payment deferrals. Refer to the LAWPRO website for more information.*

    Last updated: March 26

CPD

  • Are Law Society CPD programs still going on as scheduled?
    In order to support public health recommendations to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Law Society’s CPD in-person and webcast programs scheduled to take place between March 17 and June 18 are either available on-demand, or have been rescheduled to a later date. For information on program availability, please visit https://store.lso.ca/programs.

    LSO CPD has been releasing complimentary existing and responsive program content that can be accessed to assist licensees during this time. Please visit https://store.lso.ca/cpdassists for the complete list.
     
    If you have any questions regarding CPD programming, please contact the CPD Customer Service Team at (416) 947-3315 or via email: cpdreg@lso.ca.
     

    Last updated: May 27

  • Do CPD Requirements and Limits on Eligible Educational Activities Continue to Apply?
    The annual Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Requirement continues to apply, however, in the context of COVID-19 and to support public health best practices of physical and social distancing, the LSO has removed the six hour maximum limit applied to watching an archived program without a colleague, teaching, and professional writing for 2020.
     
    Licensees can engage in a variety of activities that do not require in-person contact with colleagues such as participating in:
    • an interactive online course
    • a live or live replay program by telephone or video
    • viewing an archived program alone or remotely with a colleague
    • mentoring, coaching, or advising by phone or video
    • a study group by phone or video
    • a college, university or designated institutional program, as a registrant, through distance education
    • teaching a CPD program virtually
    • the educational component of a bar or law association meeting by phone or video, or
    • professional writing.
     
    Please see our website for more information on approved Eligible Educational Activities
     
    The Law Society continues to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on licensee obligations.

    Last updated: April 2

Emergency Legal Assistance

  • I’m a self-represented litigant (SRL). Can I get advice to help me determine whether or not my family court matter meets the criteria to be heard by the Court on an urgent basis, and if so how to proceed?
    In response to COVID-19, as an interim measure, with support from the Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Justice, the Law Society is pleased to launch an emergency family law referral telephone line to provide assistance to people who are self-represented (SRLs) and who are trying to determine whether or not their family court matter meets the criteria to be heard by the Court on an “urgent” basis and, if so, how to proceed in making their request.

    This emergency service will connect SRLs with family lawyers, working on a pro bono basis, who will provide 30 minutes of legal advice specific to determining whether or not their family court matter is urgent and referrals to other available legal services. 

    Additional services may be available from the lawyer on a private retainer basis, from Legal Aid Ontario, from the Law Society Referral Service or the private unbundled family law roster*.

    This interim measure is offered by the Law Society in association with the Ontario Bar Association and Toronto’s Family Law Advice and Settlement Counsel project, with support from the Family Lawyers Association and the Federation of Ontario Law Associations. To access this service, which will be staffed during business hours, SRLs may contact the Law Society by phone at the following numbers:

    Toll-free: 1-800-268-7568
    General: 416-947-3310

    Last updated: March 24
  • How do I access the emergency family law referral telephone line?
    Self-represented litigants who are trying to determine whether or not their family court matter meets the criteria to be heard by the Court on an “urgent” basis and, if so, how to proceed in making their request, may access the emergency family law referral telephone line through the Law Society at the following numbers:
     
    Toll-free: 1-800-268-7568
    General: 416-947-3310
     
    The line is staffed during business hours.
     
    More information regarding this service can be found here.

    Last updated: April 2
  • Am I still able to access summary legal advice services at Legal Aid Ontario during the COVID-19 pandemic?
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