E-Brief: June 2020

New health resources to help cope with returning to workplaces and the “new normal”

Weeks and months of working remotely is unusual for many and can place stress on health. At the same time, returning to office workplaces can also be a source of anxiety. There are resources available from the parent company of LifeWorks (our employee assistance program), including the following helpful articles:

Managing expectations about the new normal,
Managing fear of infection as you return to the physical community,
How you can help your kids learn this summer during COVID-19,
Recognizing stress in yourself and those you manage, and
Coping after lockdown.

Other related resources can be found here.

Law Society statement on racial injustice

President Craig Ferris, QC has issued a statement calling on the legal profession to be vigilant in our commitment to protect people who encounter unequal treatment and institutional biases because of their individual characteristics. Read the full statement here.

Consultation on retainers held by lawyers who are mediators, arbitrators or parenting coordinators

The Law Society is seeking input on a proposal to amend Rule 3-58.1, which prohibits lawyers who are appointed as a mediator, arbitrator or parenting coordinator from depositing to their lawyer trust account funds that are not directly related to the provision of legal services. The Law Society has heard concerns about the impact of the rule and proposes to amend the definition of “trust funds” in the Law Society Rules to provide that, for the purposes of the definition, “legal services” do not include the provision of legal services incidental to the provision of mediation, arbitration or parenting coordinator services by a lawyer. The proposal would permit a lawyer to deposit the entire amount of a retainer for these services into an account other than the lawyer’s trust account, including the lawyer’s general account. The consultation is open until August 31, 2020. Further information may be found here

The Law Society Award: Call for nominations

This year, the Law Society intends to honour an exceptional individual in the legal profession with the Law Society Award. Lawyers are encouraged to nominate a candidate and the deadline for nominations is August 14, 2020. For more information, including how to submit a nomination, download the flyer or click here.

2019 Annual Report and audited financial statements

The Law Society's 2019 Annual Report and 2019 audited financial statements are now available. Our annual report provides a progress update on our 2018-2020 Strategic Plan as well as key performance indicators. It also provides membership statistics illustrating trends that may influence the delivery of legal services in the future. The Annual Report is a critical part of our regulatory transparency, informing the public, government, the media and the legal community about how we are meeting our regulatory obligations.

New Provincial Court family rules

New provincial family court rules will come into effect on May 2021. The new rules streamline and modernize court processes, enable electronic filing, focus on early resolution of family law disputes, and use court forms that are easier to read and help parties tell their story. The changes follow a public consultation in 2019, and the new rules were developed through collaboration among the Ministry of Attorney General, the Provincial Court of British Columbia, members of the bar and a community advocate. Further information on the rules are available in the full order- in-council.

Draft legislation for suspension of federal limitation periods

The Government of Canada has published draft legislative proposals that would suspend certain time limits and enable federal ministers to extend or suspend other target="_blank" limits in federal legislation, including deadlines in the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and regulations in the Canada Labour Code, but would not apply to the investigation of or a proceeding respecting an offence. The proposals would suspend or extend time limits from March 13, 2020 to September 13, 2020 or any earlier day fixed by order of the Governor in Council. Further information may be found in the full draft Time Limits and Other Periods Act (COVID-19).

Discipline advisory: Securities fraud

To help securities lawyers understand the risks associated with micro-cap stocks, the Law Society has published a discipline advisory outlining factors that indicate a micro-cap company may be part of a market manipulation. Be aware of these risk factors to ensure that you are not unwittingly facilitating securities fraud. Read the advisory.

Call for QC nominations

Nominations for Queen's Counsel appointments are being accepted until 4:30 pm on Friday, July 17. For more information on eligibility requirements, nomination process and applications, visit the Ministry of Justice website.

BC Law Institute consultation on pension division

The BC Law Institute is seeking input on 25 tentative recommendations of its Pension Division Review Project Committee on how to reform pension division upon the breakdown of a spousal relationship. The consultation is open until September 14, 2020. Further information about the recommendations may be found in the consultation paper, and a link to the survey may be found here.

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