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Changes to the CPD Requirement

COVID-19 UPDATE: Lawyers or paralegals who have questions about their annual CPD requirement in the context of COVID-19 should refer to the Law Society’s Response FAQ on CPD Requirements and changes to limits on Eligible Educational Activities.

Summary of Changes

The Law Society made changes to the CPD Requirement in response to lawyer and paralegal input and following its two-year review of the program. Some of the changes took effect in May 2013 and the remainder were implemented for the 2014 reporting year.  A change to the number of eligible CPD hours that are available for mentoring activities was made in January 2016. 

In September 2017, the Law Society introduced new CPD requirements as part of its ongoing commitment to advance equality, diversity and inclusion in the legal professions and address barriers faced by racialized licensees. See the Final Report of the Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Working Group for more information.

In November 2020, the Law Society approved strategic change measures to help reduce regulatory burdens and achieve efficiencies. As part of these changes, the Law Society approved by-law amendments that impact the CPD reporting requirement. See the Professional Regulation Committee Report to Convocation for more information.

May 2013

1.  Co-writing and co-editing are eligible activities  

Writing and editing books or articles with a co-author became eligible CPD activities, to a maximum of 6 Hours annually. Each author must be able to verify the number of hours he or she spent writing or editing. Previously, only sole authorship activities were eligible.

2. Writing and editing for firm publications are eligible activities

Writing and editing for law firm or other in-house publications became eligible CPD activities, to a maximum of 6 Hours annually. Previously, only writing and editing of materials for third-party publication or course materials were eligible. Writing for personal use remains ineligible for CPD Hours.

3. Accreditation Criteria for Professionalism Hours expanded

The Accreditation Criteria for Professionalism Hours were revised to clarify the descriptions and provide increased flexibility for its application. The revised Criteria are broader and recognize a range of professionalism issues that may arise in different practice areas and practice contexts. Highlights of the changes include: 

  • realignment of section headings to better describe content
  • expansion of language to address government and in-house contexts
  • expanded approach to client communication and legal writing
  • addition of business of law topics such as financial considerations, client development and strategic planning
  • broader approach to use of law office technology

January 2014 

1.  Accredited Provider Framework established

2.  Elimination of separate New Member Requirement

The separate New Member CPD Requirement was eliminated for 2014. With this change, new lawyers and paralegals who practise law or provide legal services are subject to the same CPD Requirement as experienced lawyers and paralegals. 

New lawyers and paralegals are required to meet the CPD Requirement on a pro rata basis in the month after which they become licensed. For example, lawyers called to the Bar in June must complete 6 Hours of CPD, including 1.5 Professionalism Hours, by December 31. Similarly, paralegals licensed in March will be required to complete 9 CPD Hours by December 31, including 6.75 Substantive Hours and 2.25 Professionalism Hours. 

All hours must be completed between the license date and December 31. Hours accumulated during articling do not qualify for the CPD Requirement.

3.  Late fee implemented

Lawyers and paralegals who do not complete their CPD Hours or who fail to report their CPD through the Law Society Portal by December 31 are charged a late fee of $100, in addition to being subject to administrative suspension. 

4.  Simplified reporting system

The CPD reporting system was simplified as a result of feedback from lawyers and paralegals. 
Highlights of the enhancements include:

  • A single free form entry screen for all programs and activities
  • Fewer steps and improved navigation

January 2016

Lawyers and paralegals who are involved in mentoring, being mentored, providing coach or advisor support, participating in a coach or advisor program, acting as an articling principal, or supervising an LPP work placement or paralegal field placement are entitled to claim their entire 12 required CPD hours annually for such activities. If claiming all 12 CPD hours through mentoring, at least three of those 12 hours must be accredited Professionalism Hours.

In order to qualify for Professionalism Hours, activities must address topics of professional responsibility, ethics, practice management and/or equality, diversity and inclusion and be accredited by the Law Society. See CPD Accreditation Process for more information.

September 2017

Between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2020, lawyers and paralegals must complete a total of 3 Professionalism Hours that focus on advancing equality, diversity and inclusion in the lawyer and paralegal professions. Each year thereafter, lawyers and paralegals must complete 1 Professionalism Hour that addresses equality, diversity and inclusion topics. These hours count towards the 3 Professionalism Hours required each year. 

Professionalism Hours, including Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Professionalism Hours must be accredited by the Law Society. See CPD Accreditation Process for more information.

The late fee increased to $200 for lawyers and paralegals who do not complete their CPD Hours or who fail to report their CPD through the Law Society Portal by December 31. See the Audit and Finance Committee Report to Convocation for more information.

November 2020

On November 27, 2020, Convocation approved by-law amendments establishing a harmonized March 31 deadline for CPD reporting, annual fee payment, and annual report filing.

Effective January 1, 2021, the deadline for reporting CPD Hours is March 31 of the year  following the year in which the CPD Requirement relates (e.g., 2021 CPD Hours must be completed by December 31, 2021 and reported by March 31, 2022).

A late fee no longer applies for failing to report CPD Hours. However, lawyers and paralegals who do not report their previous year’s CPD by March 31 will be in default as of that day and may be administratively suspended immediately thereafter.

See subsection 3(3) of By-Law 6.1, Continuing Professional Development and the Professional Regulation Committee Report to Convocation for more information.

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