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November 27, 2020

LLD presented to Tibor “Max” Eisen
Treasurer Teresa Donnelly presented a degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LLD) to author, speaker, Holocaust survivor and educator Tibor “Max” Eisen, in recognition of his tireless dedication to sharing with Canadians of all ages his experience and the lessons to be learned. Read the Gazette article.
2021 budget approved
Convocation approved the Law Society’s 2021 budget, which will reduce annual fees for licensees, continue the operational focus on proportionate regulation and burden reduction, and decreases the Society’s overall spending on operations and support of external organizations.
Further, the additional levy to replenish the Compensation Fund has been eliminated. After significant claims experience in 2014 to 2016 due to some major defalcations, an additional $5 million was levied from lawyers in each of the last three years to replenish the fund balance of the Compensation Fund, which had fallen below its minimum benchmark required under the Law Society’s fund balance management policy.
As a result of these measures, the annual fees that Ontario lawyers and paralegals will pay will decrease for a second year in a row. In 2021, lawyers will see a decrease of $193, for an annual fee of $1,873, while paralegals will see a decrease of $42, for an annual fee of $964.
As well, the current licensing process fee for lawyer candidates remains the same as it has been for the past seven years; Paralegal licensing fees also remain unchanged.
Budgetary expenses facilitate the LSO’s ability to regulate the legal professions in the public interest. This includes funding the compensation fund which provides for payments to be made to members of the public who have lost money because of the dishonesty of a member, and responding to strategic issues like contingency fee reform and delivering programs such as the Practice Management Helpline, the Member Assistance Program and other resources.
For more information, see the report to Convocation on the 2021 budget from the Audit and Finance Committee.

COVID-19 pandemic response fund
Convocation approved a plan to facilitate the deferral of 2021 Annual Fees to 2022 to assist licensees most impacted by the pandemic. The program is available upon application where the licensee’s annual fees are paid directly by the licensee or are paid on the licensee’s behalf by a small legal or paralegal firm, and for: 
  • Licensees in sole practices licensed in 2018 or earlier whose gross revenue for 2020 from the practice of law or the provision of legal services has declined by more than 50% in comparison to that of the 2019 calendar year, and whose gross revenue from the practice of law or provision of legal services in the 2020 calendar year is less than $50,000
  • Licensees licensed in 2018 or earlier, practising in firms of two to five licensees whose gross revenue for 2020 from the firm’s practice of law or the provision of legal services has declined by more than 50% in comparison to that of the 2019 calendar year, and the firm’s gross revenue from the practice of law or provision of legal services in the 2020 calendar year is less than $50,000 times the number of licensees in the firm
  • Licensees first licensed in the years from 2019 to 2021, the licensee’s gross income from all sources in 2020 is less than $50,000.
There will be a simple application process with licensees attesting to meeting the eligibility criteria and no requirement for the submission of supporting documentation. More information about the process and the application for deferral will be available on the Law Society’s website as soon as possible.
Licensees not meeting the criteria, but seeking some form of assistance, may opt for the monthly Pre-Authorized Payment plan to smooth the payment of annual fees over the year. In addition, those licensees who are not working or on parental leave should report their change in status in order to be eligible to pay annual fees at the 25% fee category.

Strategic change measures
Convocation approved by-law amendments to implement previously approved strategic change measures aimed at reducing regulatory burdens and achieving efficiencies. The by-law amendments:
  • Establish a harmonized March 31 deadline for annual fee payment, annual report filing, and CPD requirement reporting; streamlining suspension processes and eliminating late fees. Licensees are still required to report their 2020 CPD by December 31, 2020.
  • Implement Convocation’s decisions from October 2020, to:
    • Remove the annual fee exemption for life members (licensees who have practised law in Ontario for 50 years or more). Licensees who, as of January 1, 2021, have met the requirements for life membership will continue to be exempt from paying the annual fee.
    • Create a new fee category for licensees over 65 who do not practise law or provide legal services at 10% of the annual fee, effective January 1, 2021, removing the current fee exemption for these licensees.
The amendments reflect broader burden reduction efforts, which include seeking to simplify the Law Society’s by-laws to make them easier for both licensees and for the Law Society to administer.

Other news


Public Minutes
Public Transcript


Consent Agenda - Motion

  • Confirmation of Draft Minutes of Convocation – October 22, 2020
  • Motion – Tribunal Appointment
  • Human Rights Monitoring Group Request for Intervention

Financial Update (Oral report)

Audit and Finance Committee Report

  • 2021 LIRN Inc. Budget
  • 2021 Law Society of Ontario Budget
  • COVID-19 Pandemic Response Fund
For Information:
  • Law Society of Ontario Financial Statements for the Nine Months ended September 30, 2020
  • Investment Compliance Reporting

Priority Planning Committee Report

  • Amendments to By-Law 2 on Reforms to the Annual General Meeting Process

Professional Regulation Committee Report

  • Amendments to By-Laws with respect to Administrative Deadlines, Reporting and Filing, and Fee Exemptions

Notice of Motion

  • Desgranges/Fagan Motion

Treasurer’s Report (in camera)

Federation of Law Societies of Canada Update
Human Rights Monitoring Group - Update on Intervention
Report from The Action Group on Access to Justice (TAG)

The Law Society held a virtual Convocation meeting on Friday, November 27. Here is the link to the webcast.
Licensees, members of the media and the public are welcome to view the public portions of Convocation via the Law Society’s webcast. While audio recording is permissible for note taking purposes only, the webcast or video archive of the proceedings may not be captured, recorded or distributed for any purpose. 

Terms or Concepts Explained