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Law Society aims to combat money laundering & terrorist financing

December 17, 2021

TORONTO, ON — On January 1, 2022, new by-law amendments which are intended to combat money laundering and terrorist financing come into effect. These changes will align the requirements for Ontario lawyers and paralegals with the Federation of Law Societies of Canada’s Model Rules while preserving solicitor-client privilege, client confidentiality and the independence of the legal professions.

In Canada, money laundering and terrorist financing are serious issues which potentially threaten domestic and global safety and security and can compromise the integrity and stability of the financial sector and the broader economy.

“As regulator for the lawyer and paralegal professions in the province, the Law Society of Ontario is making changes to enhance our existing requirements to help fight money laundering and terrorist financing,” said Treasurer Teresa Donnelly. “These changes will help ensure that lawyers and paralegals do not unwittingly become involved in, or assist with, money laundering or any other illegal activities and preserve the Law Society’s regulatory authority in this area.”

The amendments impact licensee obligations relating to Client Identification and Verification, Cash Transactions and Trust Accounting. The requirements include identifying and verifying parties to a financial transaction, determining the source of money for the transaction and periodically monitoring the transaction for suspicious activity.

The Law Society has developed several resources to support licensees with understanding and complying with the new anti-money laundering and terrorist financing requirements. Visit: LSO.ca/amltf.

Licensees with questions about the new requirements may also contact our Practice Management Helpline for guidance: 416-947-3315 or toll-free 1-800-668-7380, ext. 3315, and select the “Helpline” option.

The Law Society regulates lawyers and paralegals in Ontario in the public interest. The Law Society has a mandate to protect the public interest, to maintain and advance the cause of justice and the rule of law, to facilitate access to justice for the people of Ontario, and to act in a timely, open and efficient manner.

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Media contact: Jennifer Wing, Senior Communications Advisor, External Relations and Communications, jwing@lso.ca. Follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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