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Professional Corporations

Purpose

The Business Corporations Act (Ontario) and the Law Society Act permit lawyers and licensed paralegals to practise law or provide legal services through a professional corporation.  These Acts, together with Part II of the Law Society’s By-Law 7, outline the requirements for professional corporations.  

All shareholders of a professional corporation must be lawyers entitled to practise law in Ontario or licensed paralegals entitled to provide legal services in Ontario.  

Lawyers and licensed paralegals may not practise law or provide legal services through a professional corporation until the professional corporation has received a Certificate of Authorization from the Law Society.  

Who can apply

Lawyers and paralegals who are entitled to practise law or provide legal services may apply to do so through a professional corporation.

Professional Corporation Name Certificate Application Requirements (Recommended - No Fee)

  • An Application for a Professional Corporation Name Certificate is recommended and can save the corporation costs if the name is not approved and an amendment is required
  • Submit a separate application for each name to be considered
  • All corporate names must include the words "Professional Corporation" in full and not separated by any other words
  • All names must comply with section 3 of By-Law 7, as well as section 4.2 of the Rules of Professional Conduct or subrule 8.03 of the Paralegal Rules of Conduct

 Certificate of Authorization Application Requirements

Application Process

All applications and attachments are reviewed by By-Law Administration Services. If the review reveals that the application cannot be approved a By-Law Administration Services Representative will contact the applicant to request additional information or advise of changes necessary for compliance with Part II of By-Law 7, the Business Corporations Act (Ontario) and the Rules of Professional Conduct and/or Paralegal Rules of Conduct.  

By-Law Administration Services requires 15 business days to process a Professional Corporation Name Certificate or a Certificate of Authorization application if they are complete.  A certificate will be issued upon approval.  

All Certificates of Authorization must be renewed by December 31 of the current calendar year through the Portal at http://portal.lso.ca, regardless of the approval date. This means that a Certificate of Authorization approved, for example, on December 27 must be renewed prior to December 31. Otherwise, the Certificate of Authorization will expire on December 31 and the professional corporation will not be entitled to practise law, provide legal services, or both practise law and provide legal services in Ontario. To allow sufficient time for delivery of your Certificate of Authorization prior to December 31 of the current calendar year (i.e. the date by when the renewal process must be completed), please ensure applications for a new Certificate of Authorization are submitted well in advance of year end. Certificates of Authorization approved after December 31 will not be backdated.

Administrative Fees

All administrative fees are non-refundable and non-transferable.

A non-refundable, non-transferable application fee in the amount of $282.50 ($250 plus HST) must be received by the Law Society before an Application for a Certificate of Authorization will be processed. The application fee should be paid through the Law Society Store at: https://store.lso.ca. Proof of payment must accompany the Application for a Certificate of Authorization. 

Alternatively, a certified cheque or bank draft in the amount of $282.50 ($250 plus HST) may be enclosed with the Application for a Certificate of Authorization and mailed to:

By-Law Administration Services
Law Society of Ontario
Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen St W
Toronto, Ontario M5H 2N6


An annual renewal fee in the amount of $113 ($100 plus HST) must be paid through the Law Society Portal prior to December 31 expiry if the professional corporation intends to practise law, provide legal services or both practise law and provide legal services in the next calendar year. 

The fee for an Application for a Professional Corporation Name Change or a replacement Certificate of Authorization is $28.25 ($25 plus HST). These fees should be paid through the Law Society Store at: https://store.lso.ca. These fees apply if there is a change to the professional corporation name after the Certificate of Authorization has been issued or for a replacement of a lost certificate.

Ongoing Requirements

The Certificate of Authorization for a professional corporation must be renewed annually prior to December 31, in accordance with subsections 7(1) and (2) of By-Law 7. The renewal fee of $113 ($100 plus HST) must be submitted through the Law Society Portal at https://portal.lso.ca. Only shareholders of the professional corporation are permitted to pay the renewal fee.

If the renewal fee is not submitted by December 31, a notice will be issued indicating that the Certificate of Authorization has expired and the professional corporation is no longer entitled to practise law, provide legal services, or both practise law and provide legal services in Ontario. A Certificate of Authorization that is not renewed within 12 months after its expiry is automatically revoked by operation of By-Law 7. The Courts will be notified of both the expiry and the revocation.

If a professional corporation has not or will not practise law or provide legal services, the professional corporation must apply for permission to surrender the Certificate of Authorization in compliance with section 10 of By-Law 7.
 

Frequently Asked Questions for Professional Corporation Renewal through the Law Society Portal  

Links to Applications and Required Documents

Information for Lawyers

Information for Paralegals

Surrendering Certificates of Authorization

Applicable By-Law, Rules, and Acts

Questions

Application related questions should be directed to By-Law Administration Services by calling 416-947-3315 (toll-free 1-800-668-7380 ext.3315) and asking to be transferred, or emailing By-Law Administration Services using the Contact Page.  

FAQs

How do I renew my professional corporation’s Certificate of Authorization?

Shareholders of the professional corporation may renew the professional corporation’s Certificate of Authorization for the next calendar year by submitting the renewal fee through the Law Society Portal at https://portal.lso.ca.

The renewal fee must be submitted annually prior to December 31.

How much is the renewal fee? 

The renewal fee, which is non-refundable and non-transferable, is $113 ($100 + HST).

When can the renewal fee be paid?

The renewal fee may be paid through the Law Society Portal any time after October 1 and prior to December 31.

How do I pay the renewal fee on the Law Society Portal? 

To pay the renewal fee, a shareholder of the professional corporation must log onto the Law Society Portal. Under Business View, select the professional corporation to be renewed. Under Business Details, select Professional Corporation Renewal and click Renew Now.

What methods of payment are accepted for professional corporation renewal?

You may pay through the Law Society Portal with Visa, MasterCard, or Amex.

You may also pay by certified cheque or money order/bank draft. These payments must be accompanied by a completed remittance slip, which is available on the Portal, and should be mailed to: 

By-Law Administration Services
Law Society of Ontario
Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen St W
Toronto, ON  M5H 2N6

What is the deadline for renewing a professional corporation’s Certificate of Authorization?

Certificates of Authorization for professional corporations must be renewed annually prior to December 31 of the year.

What happens if the Certificate of Authorization is not renewed by December 31?

If the professional corporation’s Certificate of Authorization is not renewed prior to December 31, a notice will be issued indicating that the Certificate of Authorization has expired and the professional corporation is no longer entitled to practise law, provide legal services, or both practise law and provide legal services in Ontario.

A Certificate of Authorization that is not renewed within 12 months after its expiry is automatically revoked by operation of By-Law 7.

The Courts will be notified of expired and revoked Certificates of Authorization.

Who can pay the renewal fee and edit the record of the Professional Corporation?

Only the shareholders of a professional corporation are able to pay the renewal fee, update the professional corporation’s business address and personnel information on the Portal.

How will I receive the renewed Certificate of Authorization?

If the renewal fee is paid through the Law Society Portal, the renewed Certificate of Authorization is posted in the Business Documents portlet within an hour of receipt of payment.  

If the renewal fee is paid by certified cheque or money order, the renewed Certificate of Authorization is posted in the Business Documents portlet once the payment has been processed. 

What should I do if there is a change in the professional corporation’s personnel and/or address?

Only shareholders can update the personnel and address information of the professional corporation.

To make these changes, log onto the Portal and click on Business View in the top left corner of the screen. Select the professional corporation you wish to update. Use the Personnel section under Business Details to add or remove personnel. Use the Business Address section to update the business address of the professional corporation. Click “Save” at the bottom of the screen to save your changes.

What if there is a change in the professional corporation’s address and/or personnel information after I have completed the renewal? 

Shareholders can go to the Business View in the Portal to update the professional corporation’s address and/or personnel information at any time. Any changes to the telephone number, fax number and/or email address have to be done through the Licensee View.

NOTE: When the professional corporation’s contact information has changed, in addition to shareholders updating the contact information in the Business View of the Portal, all licensees linked to that professional corporation are responsible for updating the contact information in the Licensee View of the Portal as well. To do so, each licensee should log into their Portal account, select the Change of Information portlet and use the Business Information section to update the business contact information. 

What documents are posted in the Business Documents portlet?

The Law Society posts documents about professional corporations in the Business Documents portlet, including documents related a professional corporation Certificate of Authorization renewal cycle. This includes Certificates of Authorization, renewal reminders, expiry notices, and revocation notices, where applicable.

How do I add a holding company or another Professional Corporation as a shareholder to my Professional Corporation record?

Call (416) 947-3315 and ask to speak to By-Law Administration Services.

I am no longer practising law or providing legal services through my Professional Corporation, how do I reflect this in the Business View?

Complete and submit the Application for Permission to Surrender the Certificate of Authorization: 
Application for Permission to Surrender a Certificate of Authorization 

For further questions, contact the By-Law Administration Services department by calling 416-947-3315.

Accessibility

The Law Society of Ontario is committed to ensuring that our websites and web applications are accessible for people with disabilities. We have also made efforts to make Law Society documents accessible to everyone. If you need any of our documents or forms in an alternate format that is accessible to you, please contact us.