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The Personal Security Package (PSP)

What is a Personal Security Package?

Each person in a law firm using electronic registration ("the user") is required to obtain a Personal Security Package (PSP) from Teranet. The PSP consists of a personalized, specially encrypted floppy diskette/key and a unique pass phrase created by the user. The PSP is a security feature built into the electronic registration system. To access electronic registration the user must use both the diskette and the pass phrase.

What responsibilities do I have regarding the use of PSPs in my firm?

The integrity and security of the electronic registration system is achieved in part by Teranet establishing and maintaining an audit trail of all transactions and of the parties who performed them.

Since the knowledge of and control over members of law firms rest with law firms, lawyers must be vigilant to ensure that appropriate safeguards are implemented in relation to PSPs issued to individuals in their firms.

When a lawyer has a personalized specially encrypted diskette/key to access the system for the electronic registration of title documents ("electronic registration"), the lawyer must not permit others, including a non-lawyer employee, to use the lawyer's diskette, and must not disclose his or her personalized electronic registration pass phrase to others.

When a non-lawyer employed by a lawyer has a personalized specially encrypted diskette to access the system for the electronic registration of title documents, the lawyer must ensure that the non-lawyer does not permit others to use the diskette, and does not disclose his or her personalized electronic registration pass phrase to others.

See Practice Guideline 1: Maintaining Integrity of Access and Accounts and rules 6.1-5 and 6.1-6 of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

What can I do to safeguard my PSP?

A lawyer must

  • not share his or her PSP with anyone,
  • guard access to his or her PSP,
  • obtain a separate PSP for each person in the firm who needs access to electronic registration.
Practice Guideline 1 - Maintaining Integrity of Access and Accounts

What can I do to safeguard the use of PSPs in my law firm?

At a minimum a lawyer should

  • emphasize to all users in the firm, the need to maintain the confidentiality of pass phrases and the need to safeguard encrypted diskettes,
  • take appropriate steps to discourage and prevent the sharing of pass phrases,
  • establish guidelines for formulating pass phrases to take full advantage of the security afforded by the system,
  • take appropriate steps to destroy, disable and/or replace pass phrases and diskettes when confidentiality is breached,
  • establish appropriate monitoring procedures to safeguard against unauthorized access to the electronic registration system under the firm's account,
  • record and reconcile any and all charges incurred with Teranet because this may disclose unauthorized access to the account,
  • implement procedures to notify Teranet of changes in the firm which affect who the authorized users are under the firm's account, and
    obtain the return of all copies of an authorized user's encrypted diskette when the user leaves the firm and notify Teranet immediately of the termination of the user's access.
Practice Guideline 1 - Maintaining Integrity of Access and Accounts


Remote Access to Your Teraview Account

I practice real estate. I have a transaction closing at the end of the week, but I am scheduled to be out of the office on that day. Although I have signed the documents for completeness, I am concerned that changes might be made to the documents on the closing date requiring me to re-sign them.  I am told that there are programs available that would allow me to log into my office computer from a remote location and access my Teraview account. To access Teraview, I would simply call my office assistant and have him turn on my office computer and insert my key into my office computer’s USB port. From the remote location, I would then type in my pass phrase and review, sign and submit the electronic documents for registration.

Can I access my Teraview account in this way and still comply with my obligations under rule 6.1-5 of the Rules of Professional Conduct which prohibits lawyers from sharing their PSPs (diskette/key and pass phrase used to access e-reg™)?

Yes, provided that you do not disclose your e-reg™ personalized pass phrase to your office assistant or to anyone else and provided that once you have accessed Teraview using your personalized e-reg™ pass phrase and key, you do not delegate to your office assistant or to anyone else the responsibility of working on, signing and/or submitting the documents for electronic registration using your key.

Rule 6.1-5 prohibits lawyers who have diskettes or keys used to access the e-reg™ system from permitting others to use the diskette or key and from disclosing his or her personalized e-reg™ pass phrase to others. The mere fact that you permit your office assistant to insert your diskette/key into your office computer would not in and of itself result in a breach of rule 6.1-5.

Jeffrey Schwartz, in an article entitled "Up, Up & Away (and still be able to close)" published in The Abstract Page, Real Property Section of the Ontario Bar Association in December 2011, discusses some of the benefits for sole practitioners of having remote access to their Teraview account. 

I am required to sign a document for completeness while I am away from the office? How might I deal with this? 

The following are some options. You should use your discretion and adopt whatever option best suits your situation.  You may grant up-date authority to the document in your Teraview account to another lawyer who has his or her own PSP (Personal Security Package) in a message sent through the e-reg™ system.  It is possible to grant such authority to a lawyer in your own firm who is a user under the same account or to a lawyer in another firm who has his or her own PSP under his or her own account.  It should be noted that the account that signs the document for completeness will be the account from which the land transfer tax and registration fees will be withdrawn.  Alternatively you may make arrangements to access Teraview remotely. 

The Teraview Reference Guide contains information on the granting of up-date authority.  See also the Q & A on Remote Access to Your Teraview Account.

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