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CPD Accreditation

New in September 2021: Seeking accreditation of CPD Professionalism Hours, including EDI Professionalism Hours? Access the Law Society’s new CPD Accreditation Platform at lso.ca/CPD-accreditation.

The new CPD Accreditation Platform allows you to complete an online application form, upload supporting documents, track the status of your application(s), and view your application history for any programs or activities submitted through the platform. For more details about CPD accreditation and the new platform, review the information below.


The Law Society’s Continuing Professional Development (“CPD”) requirement for licensees consists of at least 12 hours of Eligible Educational Activities each calendar year. The CPD requirement includes of a minimum of 3 Professionalism Hours (including 1 EDI Professionalism Hour) and 9 Substantive Hours. For more detailed information, see the Continuing Professional Development Requirement.

Professionalism Hours (including EDI Professionalism) require accreditation from the Law Society. Substantive Hours need not be accredited

If the program or activity has not been accredited for professionalism and a licensee wishes to count it towards their CPD Professionalism Hours requirement, the licensee or educational provider must

  • review the Accreditation Criteria to ensure the program or activity addresses the criteria and
  • apply for CPD Accreditation via the CPD Accreditation Platform  and be granted accreditation by the Law Society.

Accreditation Criteria

Programs or activities that include one or more of the Accreditation Criteria listed below may qualify for accreditation:  

  • 1.0 Ethics and Professional Responsibility
    Content that deals with the obligations set out in the Rules of Professional Conduct and Paralegal Rules of ConductBy-Laws 4, 7, 7.1, 8, 9 and 14 and related professional responsibility principles. Examples include:
     
    • 1.1 Duty to maintain confidentiality, including justified and permitted disclosure (may include discussion of privilege)
    • 1.2 Duty to avoid and manage conflicts of interest
    • 1.3 Responding appropriately to client dishonesty or fraud (e.g. mortgage fraud, money laundering, perjury)
    • 1.4 Duty to act in good faith and avoid sharp practice
    • 1.5 Obligations when making public statements and public appearances
    • 1.6 Duties related to advocacy (not to abuse the tribunal process, mislead the tribunal, parameters around communication with witnesses, need for full disclosure, etc.)
    • 1.7 Requirements related to fees and billing
    • 1.8 Trust accounting and financial record keeping requirements
    • 1.9 Duty to report lawyer or paralegal misconduct to the Law Society
    • 1.10  Obligation to notify the client or insurer of errors or omissions
    • 1.11 Duty to assist in prevention of unauthorized practice/provision of legal services
    • 1.12 Optional and mandatory withdrawal from representation
    • 1.13 Ethical considerations for lawyers or paralegals employed in-house
    • 1.14 Ethical considerations for lawyers or paralegals employed in public service
    • 1.15 Required conduct of lawyers or paralegals arising from statute, legislation or other legal authorities
    • 1.16 Best practices for analyzing ethical dilemmas
  • 2.0 Client Service
    • 2.1 Making legal services available to the public and related access to justice principles
    • 2.2 Determining who the client is (institutional clients, lawful representatives of clients under disabilities, avoiding “phantom” clients)
    • 2.3 Complying with client identification and verification requirements
    • 2.4 Recognizing and being sensitive to clients’ circumstances, special needs, and intellectual capacity (e.g., multi-cultural, language, gender, socioeconomic status, demeanour)
    • 2.5 Managing difficult clients
    • 2.6 Best practices for retainer agreements, engagement letters and non-engagement letters
    • 2.7 Timely and effective client communication, including theory and practical application
    • 2.8 Drafting reporting letters, legal opinions and legal memoranda in plain language, including theory and practical application
    • 2.9 Conducting effective client interviews and client meetings, including theory and practical application
    • 2.10 Confirming changes to the terms of engagement
    • 2.11 Understanding and managing obligations related to joint retainers
    • 2.12 Managing client expectations related to fees and disbursements
    • 2.13 Handling client property and money appropriately
    • 2.14 Dealing effectively with unrepresented persons
    • 2.15 Recognizing and fulfilling fiduciary obligations
  • 3.0 Practice Management
    • 3.1 Marketing legal services in accordance with professional obligations (e.g., advertising nature of practice, advertising fees)
    • 3.2 Understanding practice arrangements, including  partnerships, multi-discipline practices or partnerships, limited liability partnerships, affiliations, inter-provincial law firms, professional corporations
    • 3.3 Opening a legal practice or law firm
    • 3.4 Using conflicts checking systems
    • 3.5 Maintaining reminder or tickler systems
    • 3.6 Using effective time management systems
    • 3.7 Maintaining proper books and records
    • 3.8 Implementing systems for file organization, retention, and disposal
    • 3.9 Meeting financial obligations to third parties
    • 3.10 Managing undertakings
    • 3.11 Training, supervising and delegating to staff
    • 3.12 Closing down a legal practice or law firm
    • 3.13 Succession planning
    • 3.14 Contingency planning
    • 3.15 Risk management best practices
    • 3.16 Understanding the business of law, including financial considerations, client development and strategic planning
    • 3.17 Technology in a law or legal services practice, including considerations related to security of information, productivity and efficiency
    • 3.18 Complying with Legal Aid Ontario provisions and procedures
  • 4.0 Ethical Advocacy
    • 4.1 Practising with civility in the courtroom or the boardroom
    • 4.2 Treating the court, tribunal, opposing counsel, parties and others with courtesy and respect
    • 4.3 Refraining from sharp practice
    • 4.4 Encouraging respect for legal institutions or authorities
    • 4.5 Complying with parameters for acting as a witness
    • 4.6 Complying with parameters for communicating with witnesses giving evidence
    • 4.7 Complying with parameters for communicating with jurors
  • 5.0 Other Opportunities Related to Practice Management
  • 6.0 Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)

    Sessions must focus on advancing equality, diversity and inclusion in the lawyer and paralegal professions and may cover topics such as: 

    • 6.1 Value of diversity and inclusion
    • 6.2 Understanding power and privilege, unconscious bias or cultural homophily
    • 6.3 Impact of daily verbal, behavioural and environmental indignities
    • 6.4 Concepts and themes arising out of the Final Report of the Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Working Group
    • 6.5 Special responsibilities of lawyers and paralegals to respect the human rights laws in force in Ontario
    • 6.6 How to prevent and address discrimination and harassment
    • 6.7 Best practices for workplace diversity and inclusion

Topics not included above that address a lawyer’s or paralegal’s ethical duties, client service best practices, practice management concepts, equality, diversity and inclusion principles and/or related professionalism principles may also qualify for accreditation.
 
The following factors will be considered in the assessment of programs or activities for accreditation:

  • Relevance of topics in the session or activity to core professionalism principles
  • Time allocated to professionalism content (minimum 15 minutes required)
  • Learning level of subject matter and target audience
  • Overall learning context

Licensees and providers are encouraged to contact the Law Society at cpdacc@lso.ca for guidance regarding interpretation and application of the accreditation criteria.

Applying for CPD Accreditation of Professionalism Hours

  • How to Apply

    Visit the CPD Accreditation Application Platform to complete and submit applications for accreditation of Professionalism Hours. The CPD Application Platform will allow you to quickly complete your application(s), upload supporting documentation, and track the status of your application(s).   

    For information and instructions about setting up your account and completing an application, please see:

     

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  • Expedited Review

    In limited circumstances, applicants can request an expedited review of their application.

    Such requests are typically only granted where a program is being expedited to address a change in legislation or procedure, a precedent-setting decision, or other time-sensitive issue and is scheduled at least three days from the application date.

  • Fees
    There are no fees involved in the accreditation application process. 
     
  • Processing Time
    The Law Society will respond within 15 business days from the submission of an application. 
    If the application is approved, the Law Society will notify the provider or licensee by sending them a Notice of Accreditation.

    If additional information or revisions are required, the Law Society will notify the applicant. The applicant may then provide additional information or revise and resubmit the application. Accreditation may be delayed if the application is incomplete or if more information is required.
     

After Receiving CPD Accreditation of Professionalism Hours

  • Communication Guidelines
    Text and logos related to Professionalism, EDI Professionalism, and Substantive Hours are available to include on advertising and program materials. See  Communication Guidelines for Providers for more information.
     
  • Accreditation Period
    Accreditation is valid as long as the content is current, relevant, and aligned with the Accreditation Criteria for Professionalism Hours. Providers must routinely review and, where applicable, update their archived content to ensure that it remains current, relevant, and aligned with the Accreditation Criteria. Re-application is only required where material updates are made to content.
     
  • Changes to Accredited Programs or Activities
    The Law Society recognizes that changes to the program or activity content may occur after the program has been accredited. If a change is made to the title or timing of an accredited program, the provider or licensee is required to notify the Law Society. If material changes are made to the program or activity content, the provider or licensee must reapply for accreditation.
     
  • Record-Keeping and Monitoring
    Providers whose program content has been accredited by the Law Society should implement record-keeping systems and be able to provide licensees with written confirmation of their registration at the program. The Law Society may also require providers to submit the registration and/or attendance records of the licensees who registered and/or attended the accredited program.

    To validate the information contained in an application and to assess the content of an accredited program or activity, the Law Society may
    1. attend the program; and
    2. require the provider to supply a copy of the program materials.

    In addition, licensees should retain materials such as agendas, papers, and discussion notes on file until the end of the year following the year in which the accredited program or activity was completed. For a detailed outline of required documentation according to the type of eligible educational activity, please see Record Keeping Standards - Evidence of Compliance with Section 4 of By-Law 6.1 (PDF).
     
  • Logging CPD Hours in the Law Society Portal
    Licensees are required to enter details for CPD programs and/or activities completed in the Law Society Portal, including those that contain Professionalism Hours. 

    Licensees should consider entering their data into the Portal immediately following their attendance or completion.  All program providers are responsible for ensuring that attendees have the required information for this purpose.

    Where licensees need assistance verifying accreditation of program information, they can contact the Law Society for any program accredited through the Law Society.  Where the program was offered by an Accredited Provider of Professionalism Content, licensees should contact them directly.  A list of Accredited Providers can be found here.

    Where licensees have applied to have an activity accredited for Professionalism Hours, the Law Society will notify the licensee. Once the accredited activity is completed, the licensee can log into their Portal account to update their hours to reflect the hours listed on the Notice of Accreditation.  
     
  • Revocation of Accreditation
    If Law Society monitoring reveals that a provider's accredited professionalism content does not meet the criteria, accreditation for the Professionalism Hours of that provider's program may be suspended or revoked at the discretion of the Executive Director, Professional Development and Competence of the Law Society.
     

Contact Us

For additional information please contact us by e-mail at cpdacc@lso.ca or by phone at 1-800-668-7380 or 416-947-3315. Please add cpdacc@lso.ca to your email safe sender list to ensure that you receive all communications.  

The CPD Accreditation team strives to respond to all emails and telephone inquiries within two business days.  If you have not received a response, please reach out by email or by phone and indicate when and how you previously contacted the CPD Accreditation Team.   We want to hear from you and we are here to help.
 
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