E-Brief: January 2020

Anti-money laundering and terrorist risk advisories

The Federation of Law Societies of Canada has published Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Risk Advisories that address risk in five practice areas: real estate, trusts, private lending, shell corporations and litigation. Lawyers are reminded to review the Law Society’s changes to the client identification and verification rules that came into effect January 1, 2020. For information on the changes, refer to Client ID and Verification FAQs. Further guidance is also available in the Practice Advice columns “Rule amendments enhance Law Society’s anti-money laundering measures” and “New client verification and source of money requirements.” For further questions, lawyers may contact a practice advisor (practiceadvice@lsbc.org or 604.443.5797).

Sweeping amendments to the Securities Act

Lawyers, and securities lawyers in particular, should become familiar with amendments to the Securities Act, which received Royal Assent on November 28, 2019. The changes give the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) the ability to order administrative monetary penalties without a hearing for certain contraventions, introduce minimum sentences, increase penalties, as well as significantly expanding the BCSC’s investigative, enforcement and collection powers. In addition, the amendments give the BCSC enhanced powers to freeze and seize property transferred for less than market value by fraudsters to third parties, as well as an ability to direct ICBC to refuse to issue or renew a driver’s licence. Although regulations are still required to make the majority of these amendments operational, lawyers should become familiar with them. For more information, read the Securities Act.

Consultation on the future of legal services, legal practice and the legal profession

The Law Society’s Futures Task Force is seeking input to assist in its consideration of the future of the practice of law and regulation of the legal profession in British Columbia. Lawyers are invited to comment on factors and forces that are likely to influence the delivery of legal services, the regulation of the legal profession and legal practice over the next decade. Comments can be provided online here. For more information on the consultation, visit our website.

Tuition tax receipts available in February

T2202A certificates for PLTC will be available for download from the Member Portal in mid-February. The T2202A is an official tax receipt that is issued to all students who paid tuition for qualifying PLTC courses in the previous calendar year. It shows the amount of tuition that can be deducted for income tax purposes, as well as the number of months eligible for the education deduction. For more information on filing your income tax return, go to the Canada Revenue Agency website.

Notice for lawyers acting for potential purchasers of managed forest land

BC Assessment has published a notice for purchasers of private managed forest land on two aspects of tax law that have caused significant concern for some purchasers: 1) purchasers of managed forest land may be responsible for paying taxes on timber previously harvested by the vendor, and 2) purchasers of managed forest land may be responsible for paying exit fees to the Managed Forest Council if the property is removed from managed forest class.

From the courts

The provincial court has amended the Notice to the Profession regarding use of a support person in civil and family proceedings and announced that BC’s seventh Indigenous sentencing court will open in Williams Lake in April 2020. For more information, visit the court’s website.