E-Brief: March 2023

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Benchers vote to move forward with licensing paralegals

The Benchers have unanimously agreed to ask the government to bring amendments into force to allow for the licensing of paralegals. At their latest meeting, the Benchers were asked to consider whether the Law Society should ask the government to permit the licensing of paralegals by bringing into force the amendments to the Legal Profession Act in Bill 57 – 2018 Attorney General Statutes Amendment Act, 2018. Following a thoughtful discussion of the proposal, including recognition that licensing paralegals can make a difference to increase access to justice for the citizens of British Columbia, the Benchers voted unanimously to ask the government to bring the amendments into force. The Benchers also directed the Executive Director to take the necessary steps to provide for the licensing of paralegals in anticipation of the amendments being proclaimed in force.

Amendments to the Barristers and Solicitors’ Oath  

The Benchers approved amendments to the Barristers and Solicitors’ Oath to better incorporate and reflect the Constitution’s recognition and affirmation of the Aboriginal and treaty rights of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. As a consequence of the amendment, every new, incoming lawyer will swear or affirm to uphold these rights as guaranteed by the Constitution.

New Practice Resource: Inclusive language guide for legal professionals  

The Law Society is pleased to share a new resource to support legal professionals in their use of inclusive language. The new resource was developed in consultation and collaboration with legal professionals and stakeholders working in the area of equity, diversity, and inclusion. In particular, we would like to acknowledge and thank CBABC’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Community Section and BC’s Legal Equity and Diversity Roundtable, including the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers BC and the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers BC. The guide can be read and downloaded on the Practice Resources webpage.  

Indigenous Intercultural Course requirement  

The Law Society Indigenous Intercultural Course will help BC lawyers increase their Indigenous cultural awareness and understanding. The online course provides information regarding the colonization of British Columbia and Canada and the lasting impacts of discriminatory laws and policies that were imposed on Indigenous peoples. The course is revisited frequently for updating, so we welcome your feedback and are grateful for the feedback we have received so far.

The course must be completed by all practising lawyers by January 1, 2024, or within two years after a lawyer begins or returns to practice. Lawyers can claim up to six hours of CPD credit for completing the course, which can be accessed through the Member Portal. To learn more, read the FAQs.

Administrative Notice issued re Microsoft Teams video hearings

Chief Justice Hinkson issued Administrative Notice 18 – General Requirements for Microsoft Teams Video Hearings. This Administrative Notice sets out the technical and other requirements for anyone participating in a court hearing by Microsoft Teams video. It also provides information on how members of the media or the public can attend such proceedings. This information was previously included in the Court’s COVID-19 Notice No. 47, which is rescinded.  

Updates to BC courtrooms live links for Fraser and Vancouver Coastal Regions  

On April 3, 2023 all of the Fraser and Vancouver Coastal Regions Courtroom Teams links will be updated. It is recommended that all counsel who practise in those regions log into the Law Society Member Portal and access the “List of BC Courtrooms Live Links” document posted on the site under the Quick Links folder “BC Courtrooms Live Links.”   

Fee changes: Land Title and Survey Authority

Land Owner Transparency Registry fees, myLTSA service charges and other Land Title and Survey Authority (LTSA) administrative fees will increase by approximately five per cent as of April 1, 2023. The LTSA uses revenue from fees to cover operational costs and address the impact of inflation. View the current LTSA fees and projected fees here.

Seeking expressions of interest: Director, Vancouver Foundation

The Law Society is seeking expressions of interest from lawyers who would like to be considered for nomination by the Law Society as a Director of the Vancouver Foundation. Those interested in being nominated for this position are invited to review information about the appointment and submit an application form and resume online.

Rule of Law essay contest for secondary school students

BC secondary school students in grade 12, or who have taken or are currently enrolled in Law 12, Political Studies 12, Social Justice 12 or Social Studies 11, are invited to submit an essay on the following topic: How has the rule of law affected — positively, adversely or otherwise — the advancement of minority rights in Canada? The deadline for submissions is April 21, 2023. For further details on the topic and submission guidelines, visit the website.

Apply now: Law Society scholarships

Applicants are invited to apply for the Indigenous Scholarship and the Law Society Scholarship for Graduate Legal Studies for 2023. The two $20,000 scholarships are offered on an annual basis and applicants have until April 30, 2023 to submit their applications. For further information on how to apply and eligibility requirements, visit the website.

Lawyers Indemnity Fund

Career opportunity: LIF Claims Counsel  

Check out our careers page as we have an opening for a Claims Counsel.

Ministry of Finance proposes applying property transfer tax anti-avoidance rule

Several lawyers have contacted LIF advising that the Property Taxation Branch of the Ministry of Finance is considering applying the anti-avoidance rule in section 2.001 of the Property Transfer Tax Act to certain transactions. These transactions involve the re-registration of legal title to real estate into trust while claiming an exemption from property transfer tax. The transactions under review often involve a transfer of legal title to a related person, and then back to the original transferor in trust. Learn more here.

If you advised your client or assisted them to implement transactions that are the same as or similar to the above, and your client informs you that they received such a letter from the Ministry of Finance, consider reporting it to LIF.  

Last chance to file your suspended Notice of Civil Claim  

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many limitation periods for starting a civil or family action in the BC Supreme Court were suspended on March 26, 2020 and lifted on March 25, 2021. For causes of action that arose after the suspension of limitation periods but before March 25, 2021, the limitation period expires on March 26, 2023. Find more information here.

Watch: Learn what’s new in your indemnity policy

Let’s face it, nobody reads the indemnity policy until they need it, but it’s important to your practice to understand what is covered, what is not, and changes to your coverage.

In this three-minute video, Michael Mulhern, Director of Underwriting and Claims at LIF, will tell you what’s new in your 2023 indemnity program.

An overview of the policy and FAQs can be found here.

Protect yourself against real estate identity frauds  

Real estate identity frauds have reportedly surged in Ontario, and although we have not seen a similar surge in BC, lawyers need to be on alert. These frauds are sophisticated and not easily detected, if detectable at all. Find more detailed information here.

For the latest updates from LIF, follow us on Twitter @Lifbc.


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Send your comments or questions to communications@lsbc.org.