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FAQs

COVID-19 UPDATE: Lawyers or paralegals who have questions about their annual CPD requirement in the context of COVID-19 should refer to the Law Society’s Response FAQ on CPD Requirements and changes to limits on Eligible Educational Activities.
  • Frequently Asked Questions about the CPD Requirement
    Frequently Asked Questions about the CPD Requirement
    • Who is required to complete the CPD Requirement?

      Lawyers and paralegals in the 100% fee-paying category are required to fulfill the CPD Requirement. Lawyers and paralegals who are in other fee categories (i.e., 10%, 25%, and 50%) who are providing legal services that are either based on Ontario or Canadian law (including on a pro bono basis) are also required to fulfill the CPD Requirement. 

      See By-Law 6.1 and Fee Categories for more information.

    • What is the CPD Requirement?

      Under the Law Society’s CPD Requirement, lawyers and paralegals are required to complete at least 12 CPD Hours every calendar year. These CPD Hours consist of a minimum of 3 Professionalism Hours and up to 9 Substantive Hours. Of those 3 Professionalism Hours, at least 1 Hour must address issues of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (“EDI”)

    • Do I have to take accredited programs to fulfill the CPD Requirement?

      Only programs and activities with Professionalism Hours (including EDI Professionalism Hours) must be accredited by the Law Society. See CPD Accreditation for more information.

      Substantive Hours do not require accreditation.  However, on an annual basis, you should conduct your own assessment and confirm that your CPD programs or eligible activities maintain or enhance your professional knowledge, skills, and attitudes in the context of your practice and professional development.

    • Where can lawyers and paralegals find accredited programs that have Professionalism Hours?

      Accredited programs containing Professionalism Hours can be identified by certain text and logos, which will appear on program brochures and materials. See the Communication Guidelines for Providers for more information. 

      The Law Society offers many accredited professionalism programs at a nominal cost to lawyers and paralegals. Please see CPD Calendar for more information about Law Society's CPD programs.

    • What is the difference between CPD programs and CPD activities?

      CPD programs are formal, instruction-based sessions. They are usually offered by organizations such as education providers, law associations, law firms, government associations and industry groups. CPD activities include a broad range of other, non-program learning methods such as teaching, writing, mentoring, and participation in study groups of 2 or more colleagues. See Eligible Educational Activities for more information.

      Note that CPD Programs and CPD activities must be accredited by the Law Society if the lawyer or paralegal is seeking to count them as part of their Professionalism Hours. See CPD Accreditation Process for more information. 

    • Are online programs eligible for CPD Hours?

      Participation in "interactive" CPD programs and courses such as "real time" on-line courses, streaming video, and live web and/or telephone conferences are eligible if there is an opportunity to ask and/or answer questions with colleagues and/or instructors. Lawyers and paralegals may view previously recorded programs with at least one other colleague to satisfy the interactivity requirement. There is no annual maximum for these methods of viewing programs.

      Viewing archived webcasts, video replays, or other recorded program formats without a colleague are eligible educational activities for up to 6 hours per year.

    • Can CPD Hours completed in one calendar year be carried over into the next calendar year?

      No, a lawyer or paralegal who completes more than 12 hours of eligible CPD activities in a year is not entitled to carry over the balance into the next year.

    • I made an error when entering my CPD Hours on the Portal. How can I fix it?

      During the reporting year, lawyers and paralegals can edit or delete any entry for a professionalism program, substantive program or activity using the self-edit function.

    • What is the requirement for a lawyer or paralegal who returns to practice during the reporting year?

      Lawyers and paralegals who resume practising law or providing legal services within the reporting year must complete 1 hour of CPD for each month or partial month of practice or provision of legal services. CPD hours can be completed at any time during the open reporting period. There is no requirement to complete these prorated hours after returning to practice or to the provision of legal services.

    • Will CPD Hours obtained outside of Ontario count toward the CPD Requirement?

      Yes, if the program or activity is an eligible educational activity for the CPD Requirement. See  Eligible Educational Activities.

    • Is teaching an eligible activity?

      Yes, teaching is eligible to a maximum of 6 hours per year. Actual teaching time may be multiplied by a factor of 3 to reflect actual preparation time. For example, 30 minutes of teaching will be equal to up to 1 hour and 30 minutes of CPD. The teaching content must be law-related and within the CPD definition. There is no limitation on the type of audience. If the same content is taught more than once in a calendar year, CPD credit is only available for the first delivery of that content. Teaching is an eligible activity only if it is undertaken on a volunteer or part-time teaching basis. Teaching as part of full-time or regular employment will not be eligible.

      Chairing a program may be eligible, provided the chair does more than introduce speakers. The Chair must act as a facilitator of the program for it to be eligible.

      Acting as a judge or coach in a mooting competition is an eligible educational activity.

      To qualify for Professionalism Hours, teaching activities must address topics of professional responsibility, ethics, practice management and/or equality, diversity and inclusion and be accredited by the Law Society. See CPD Accreditation for more information.

    • Is presenting an information session to clients or writing/editing client bulletins an eligible activity?

      If presenting the information session or writing/editing client bulletins is primarily a "teaching" rather than a "pitching" activity, and it enables the lawyer or paralegal to fulfill the definition of CPD, which requires that the activity maintain or enhance a lawyer's professional knowledge, skills, attitudes and ethics, then it is an eligible activity. If the educational content of the activity is minimal or basic, or if it is repeated with modest changes to several audiences, it is not eligible.

    • Is writing and/or editing an eligible educational activity?

      Yes, writing and editing books, articles with or without a co-author is eligible to a maximum of 6 hours per year. The book or article must be intended for publication by a third party, or included as part of an in-house or firm publication, rather than for personal use. Editing legal texts or case reports and preparing case headnotes, with the same restrictions as set out for writing, are also eligible activities. There is no limitation on the audience for whom the work is written.

      Only volunteer or part-time writing is eligible. Writing as part of full-time or regular employment is not eligible.

      To qualify for Professionalism Hours, writing and/or editing activities must address topics of professional responsibility, ethics, practice management and/or equality, diversity and inclusion and be accredited by the Law Society. See CPD Accreditation for more information.

    • Is mentoring an eligible educational activity?

      Yes, mentoring activities are eligible and have no annual maximum.  Eligible mentoring activities include mentoring, being mentored, providing coach or advisor support, participating in a coach or advisor program, acting as an articling principal, or supervising an LPP work placement or paralegal field placement. For more information see  Eligible Educational Activities.  

      To qualify for Professionalism Hours, mentoring activities must address topics of professional responsibility, ethics, practice management and/or equality, diversity and inclusion and be accredited by the Law Society. See CPD Accreditation for more information.

    • Are study group activities eligible?

      Yes, study groups are eligible and have no annual maximum. This will include attendance at a group session of 2 or more lawyers or paralegals that is organized for the purpose of discussing content that falls within the CPD definition. Study group participants may be lawyers or paralegals from a variety of settings — sole and small firm colleagues in the same community or lawyers and paralegals in the same firm, legal department, government agency, or clinic. Live, in-person participation, in addition to telephone conference, web conference (e.g., Skype, Google Chat), or videoconference are all acceptable delivery methods, as long as attendees can interact with one another in real time. File or matter- specific discussion is not eligible. Lawyers or paralegals who facilitate or instruct study group sessions may claim up to 3 hours of credit for every 1 hour session to reflect preparation time.

      To qualify for Professionalism Hours, study group activities must cover topics of professional responsibility, ethics, practice management and/or equality, diversity and inclusion and be accredited by the Law Society. See CPD Accreditation Process for more information.

      The Law Society has additional resources to assist lawyers and paralegals in obtaining CPD Hours through study groups. See Professionalism Case Studies for more information.

    • Are bar association, or other law or paralegal association, meetings eligible?

      Where lawyers or paralegals attend meetings that involve both business related to the association and an educational session dealing with substantive, procedural law or professionalism content that comes within the CPD definition, only the hours devoted to the educational session are eligible.

    • Can self-study be counted toward the CPD Requirement?

      Self-study is not eligible for CPD Hours. Self-study is defined as reading or reviewing material on one's own without some form of interaction with colleagues and/or instructors through live Q&A sessions, simultaneous discussion, real time chat or embedded learning prompts.

    • I'm a Certified Specialist. How does the CPD Requirement affect me?

      Certified Specialists have the same requirement as other licensees.

    • Are listservs, online forums and network sites eligible for CPD Hours?

      This type of information exchange is not eligible as it does not involve sustained interaction and learning by participants.

    • Where can I learn more about the Law Society's decisions about the CPD Requirement?

      Please see Changes to the CPD Requirement to learn more.

  • Frequently Asked Questions about the CPD Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Requirement
    Frequently Asked Questions about the CPD Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Requirement
  • Frequently Asked Questions about Professionalism Case Studies for CPD
    Frequently Asked Questions about Professionalism Case Studies for CPD
    • What is a Professionalism Case Study?

      A Professionalism Case Study is a description of an actual situation in which a lawyer or paralegal is faced with a decision involving one or more ethical, professional responsibility or practice management issues.

    • Are the Professionalism Case Studies relevant to all practice areas?

      Each Professionalism Case Study is set within a specific practice area, including Business, Civil Litigation, Criminal, Family, Labour, Personal Injury, Real Estate, Small Claims Court Litigation, Wills and Estates, and Workplace Safety and Insurance. The professional responsibility, ethics and practice management issues addressed in the Professionalism Case Studies are common to all areas of practice.

    • What can I learn from a Professionalism Case Study?

      A Professionalism Case Study allows you to put yourself in the position of the lawyer or paralegal in the case to identify the problem, develop alternatives, and create an action plan for resolving the issues in accordance with your professional obligations under the Rules of Professional Conduct or The Paralegal Rules of Conduct.

    • How can I use a Professionalism Case Study?

      Professionalism Case Studies can be used as the basis for group discussion in a variety of settings.

      Lawyers and paralegals may use Professionalism Case Studies as the basis for one-hour Study Group sessions. The Law Society strongly recommends that a facilitator be used to guide the Study Group sessions. For information and resources on facilitating a Study Group session, please contact the Law Society at rc@lso.ca.

      Continuing Professional Development (CPD) providers, including firms, and law or paralegal associations, may use Professionalism Case Studies in programs that contain content involving professional responsibility, ethics and practice management.

    • Are the Professionalism Case Studies eligible for CPD accreditation?

      Professionalism Case Studies are only eligible for accreditation when they are used in the context of Study Group sessions or programs involving two or more lawyers or paralegals. The Study Group session must be accredited in advance by the Law Society of Upper Canada.

      If you are a lawyer or paralegal who seeks to organize an accredited Study Group session, you must apply for accreditation at least 30 days in advance of the session date by submitting an Application for Accreditation - Alternate Eligible Educational Activities (PDF).

      If you are a CPD provider who seeks accreditation for a program in which a Professionalism Case Study will be used, you must apply for accreditation at least 30 days in advance of the program by submitting an Application for Program Accreditation (PDF) .

    • Can I use the Professionalism Case Studies to fulfil my CPD professionalism requirement?

      If you are the facilitator of a Professionalism Case Study Group session that has been accredited by the Law Society, you may count up to three hours of CPD credit for every hour of facilitation or teaching toward your annual CPD requirement. 
      If you are a participant in a Professionalism Case Study session or program, you may count the hours that have been accredited by the Law Society toward your annual CPD requirement.

    • Does the Law Society provide any guides or other resources for facilitators of Professionalism Case Study Group sessions?

      Guides and other resources are available to lawyers and paralegals who wish to facilitate accredited Professionalism Case Study Group sessions. To request a Facilitator’s Guide or for more information, please contact the Law Society at rc@lso.ca  

  • Frequently Asked Questions about CPD Accreditation
    Frequently Asked Questions about the CPD Accreditation Process
    • Do lawyers and paralegals have to complete accredited programs and activities to fulfill the CPD Requirement?

      Yes. Licensees are required to complete 12 CPD Hours, consisting of a minimum of 3 Professionalism Hours (including 1 EDI Professional Hour) and up to 9 Substantive Hours per calendar year.

      Professionalism Hours must be accredited by the Law Society. Substantive hours do not require accreditation. 

    • If a program focuses on substantive or procedural law, do providers have to apply for accreditation?

      No. Substantive content does not require accreditation. However, on an annual basis, licensees should conduct their own assessment and confirm that the CPD programs or eligible activities that they pursue maintain or enhance their professional knowledge, skills, and attitudes in the context of their practice and professional development.

      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.

      Examples:

      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.

    • How do I apply for accreditation?

      Visit our CPD Accreditation Platform to apply for Accreditation of Professionalism Hours (including EDI Professionalism) for programs and activities.  You can also use our CPD Accreditation Platform to view and track the status of your application(s).

      Please note that only Applications for Accreditation of Programs and Activities can be submitted on our CPD Accreditation Platform.  If you are seeking Accredited Provider of Professionalism Content Status and would like to learn more, please see Accredited Provider Framework.

    • Have the accreditation application forms changed?

      Yes, the accreditation application forms for both programs and activities have transitioned from PDF applications to a new, easy-to-use online application platform. The new CPD Application Platform will allow you to quickly complete your application(s), upload supporting documentation, and track the status of your application(s).  Please note that this change only applies to Applications for Program and Activity Accreditation.  There have been no changes to the Accredited Provider Framework.  

    • What is the minimum amount of time that will be considered for accreditation?

      Programs and activities must contain a minimum of 15 minutes of professionalism content to qualify for accreditation. 

    • 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. 

    • 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 licensee 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.

    • Is it possible to obtain accreditation for the professionalism content of a program on an expedited basis?

      You may request special consideration and explain your reasons on the application. Special consideration will only be granted to programs that provide licensees with timely information on significant changes in the law. To enable the Law Society to review the expedited program, the program must be scheduled for at least three business days after the application is submitted. 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.

    • 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 or activity for which you seek accreditation. Only one application is required for the professionalism content of programs or activities with related subject matter that are presented as a series.

    • When can I expect to receive a response from the Law Society to my application?

      The Law Society will respond within 15 business days from the initial receipt of an application. Accreditation may be delayed if the application is incomplete or if more information is required.

    • How long is accreditation valid for?

      Accreditation is valid as long as the content is current, relevant, and aligned with the Accreditation Criteria. Providers must routinely review and, where applicable, update their archived content to ensure their content is current, relevant and aligned with the Accreditation Criteria. Re-application is only required where material updates are made to content.

    • What if the content or timing of my program or activity changes after the program has been accredited?

      If the program or activity 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.

    • How will the Law Society monitor my program or activity?

      The Law Society may conduct random requests for program or activity materials and/or in person program or activity audits to ensure alignment with the Accreditation Criteria. The Law Society may also audit providers' registration records for the purpose of determining licensee compliance with the CPD Requirement.

      In addition, the Law Society will audit licensees 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.

  • Frequently Asked Questions about Accreditation of EDI Content
    Accreditation of EDI Content
  • Frequently Asked Questions about the Accredited Provider Framework
    • What is the Accredited Provider Framework?
      The Law Society offers an accredited provider framework for CPD programs. Under this framework, providers can apply to obtain Accredited Provider of Professionalism Content status which allows them to deliver professionalism content in CPD programs and courses without seeking accreditation from the Law Society. See Accredited Provider Framework for more information.
       
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