Notice to the Profession
January 25, 2021

Video message from Law Society President Dean Lawton, QC

As part of an ongoing commitment to keep you informed about Benchers business and priorities, Dean Lawton, QC, 2021 Law Society President, introduces Strategic Plan 2021-2025 and outlines the aspects of the plan that will be the focus of the next few months in this video.

Suspension of limitations to end on March 25, 2021

The provincial government has announced that on March 25, 2021 it will lift the temporary suspension of limitation periods for commencing court proceedings. That date – one year from the date that the suspension was implemented – was chosen to make it easier to calculate the new limitations. Further background information is available in the information bulletin issued by the provincial government. While the announcement gives lawyers and litigants advance notice that you can use to prepare to commence actions and appeals, the best way to avoid the risk of missing a limitation is to be proactive and file your notices of civil claim now.

Current status on public access to Law Society offices

While every aspect of the Law Society’s functions and programs continue to operate at full capacity, we are encouraging remote work and have implemented strict physical distancing measures for employees, contractors and couriers who are required to enter the building. In order to protect the health and safety of employees, our doors will remain closed to the public until further notice. We remain available by telephone at 604.669.2533 or the email addresses listed on our website.

Update on provincial health emergency and state of emergency

Earlier this month, Dr. Bonnie Henry announced an extension of province-wide restrictions affecting travel and in-person gatherings to February 5, 2021. As part of these measures, the provincial health officer encouraged those who are able to work effectively from home to do so and requires employers to implement a daily self-assessment for anyone entering their workplace. Further information about workplace requirements is available from WorkSafeBC.

Last Wednesday, the provincial government renewed the state of emergency (first declared on March 25, 2020), for another two-week period ending February 2, 2021. The state of emergency provides extraordinary powers to government to manage the supply chain and implement other measures to support the pandemic response. The health emergency may continue to be in effect after the state of emergency is eventually lifted, and the provincial government has begun planning the transition for measures that will be maintained or come to an end when the state of emergency is not renewed. We will continue to monitor announcements and provide updates as further information comes available.

Mental health resources

With recent studies indicating that over half the population has struggled with anxiety and other mental health issues during the pandemic, and previous research to show that lawyers are often at even higher risk, it is important to remember that there are resources available to articled students, lawyers and their immediate family members who may be experiencing mental health or substance use issues. LifeWorks is an employee assistance program funded by Law Society membership fees and offers 24/7 counselling and other services, including online resources. Further information about LifeWorks is available on our website.