E-Brief: March 2024

News you need

Client verification rule changes – Rules 3-102 and 3-104

Effective March 8, 2024, lawyers may verify an individual client’s identity virtually, provided that they use reliable technology to confirm that the individual’s government-issued photo ID is genuine, and confirm that the name and photo are those of the individual in the ID. A video conference with the individual by itself is not sufficient to satisfy a lawyer’s obligations. Lawyers can use this virtual verification method regardless of whether the individual is inside or outside of Canada. For more information, see the changes to Rules 3-102 and 3-104 and the new practice resource "Guidance for Virtual Verification of Your Client’s Identity," and other resources on the Client ID & Verification resources webpage, including FAQs and ADMA. Lawyers can contact practiceadvice@lsbc.org, phone 604.443.5797, or book an appointment if they have questions.

Code amendments regarding technological competence

The effective use of technology has become an essential element of responsible legal practice. While the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia already provides extensive guidance on standards for lawyer competence, the impact of technology on the contemporary delivery of legal services merits specific guidance for lawyers on the competent use of technology. Commentaries 4.1 and 4.2 have been added to BC Code rule 3.1-2 to address this issue and bring the Code more closely in line with the Federation of Law Societies’ Model Code of Professional Conduct. Questions? Contact Practice Advice at practiceadvice@lsbc.org or 604.443.5797, or book an appointment.

Attending call ceremonies encouraged, but no longer mandatory

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the requirement to attend a call and admission ceremony was postponed until late 2021. Subsequently, to manage the backlog of those wishing to be called, Rule 2-84 was amended to provide that lawyers transferring from other Canadian jurisdictions and articling students could choose whether to attend a call ceremony or not. The Benchers have now made the temporary changes permanent. The Law Society still encourages new calls to attend a call ceremony in person to take advantage of the benefits of connecting with peers and mentors and to celebrate the important milestone.

Don’t forget to check in on your mental health

Juggling the pressure of work and your personal life can leave you feeling exhausted, empty or burned out. Stress at work can cause physical and mental symptoms that not only impact your well-being, but your family and friends as well. Learn more about burnout and stress, and access additional mental health resources that are easily accessible 24/7 from any device. Lawyers are reminded that LifeSpeak provides access to courses that can be claimed for continuing professional development (CPD) credits.

ICYMI: LawCast BC’s episode on Indigenous reconciliation


Listen to our latest episode of LawCast BC on one of the most critical areas the Law Society is addressing: meaningful Indigenous reconciliation and cultural safety. Hear from Vicki George, Senior Advisor, Indigenous Engagement, who shares one component of her role that includes guiding the implementation of the Indigenous Engagement in Regulatory Matters Task Force’s recommendations. She also provides an introduction to the new role of the Law Society’s Indigenous Navigator, the importance of relationship building and the context that has informed the Law Society’s ongoing efforts and path toward reconciliation. Listen here, on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

New app offers more accessible legal services for BC families

The BC Family Maintenance Agency (BCFMA) has launched a mobile app designed to lower barriers to legal services, including offering culturally appropriate services for Indigenous people, and making it easier to receive and pay child and spousal support. For more information, visit BCFMA’s website.

New tax on home flipping

The BC government has announced the creation of a home flipping tax as part of their 2024 budget. This tax applies to the income from the sale of properties in BC owned for less than two years and sold on or after January 1, 2025. More information will be available when the legislation is introduced, including filing instructions, tax rates and exemptions.

LOTR search fees removed to aid fight against money laundering

The BC government and the Land Owner Transparency Registry (LOTR) have taken a collaborative step to increase transparency in the fight against money laundering. Effective April 1, 2024, LOTR search fees will be removed for everyone, making it easier for law enforcement agencies, journalists and researchers to expose tax evasion, hidden ownership and other criminal activity within the BC housing market.

Are you a defence lawyer? Your perspective matters

Defence lawyers across Canada are invited to take part in a voluntary, 15-minute anonymous survey as part of research being conducted by the University of Montreal. The survey explores the experiences of defence lawyers when representing marginalized people in order to understand how social context is taken into account within practice and court proceedings. The research will be used to advance knowledge of legal representation for marginalized litigants with the goal of improving access to justice. Examples of marginalized people include those who experience racial discrimination, homelessness or financial insecurity and those who are stigmatized because of their mental health needs, substance use or involvement in sex work.

Have your say: Help improve the Family Law Act

Do you have expertise on or lived experience with family law topics such as caregiving and time spent with children, parenting assessments and reports, or protection from family violence? Your input could help improve the Family Law Act. See the discussion paper and surveys on govTogetherBC and provide your input before March 31, 2024.

Latest discipline news

Looking for news on discipline outcomes, conduct review summaries and admitted discipline violations? Head to our Disciplinary Outcomes section to stay updated on the latest information. Tribunal information, including hearing dates and outcomes, can be found on the LSBC Tribunal website.


Register now: CBABC’s legal conference on independence and regulation

Registration is open for the Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch’s legal conference Through the Looking Glass: Independence & Regulation in BC Today, taking place on Friday, April 12 in Vancouver. Law Society President Jeevyn Dhaliwal, KC will be speaking as a panellist, along with Attorney General Nika Sharma, KC and an esteemed lineup of lawyers and judges. Learn more on the conference website.

Chief Justice Hinkson retirement event

Celebrate the retirement of Chief Justice Christopher E. Hinkson on April 26, 2024 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. The event will feature dinner and live music and will highlight Hinkson’s extraordinary career as a lawyer and judge. For more information about the event, visit CBABC’s website.

Film screening: Asian Heritage Month

May is Asian Heritage Month and the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers, BC chapter is holding a film screening of their documentary “But I Look Like a Lawyer” at the Law Society on May 22, 2024 at 5:30 pm. Register here for the event.

Upcoming criminal and family law conferences

Registration is now open for two conferences organized by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. This year’s National Criminal Law and National Family Law Programs, taking place in Halifax in July, will cover various topics presented by distinguished experts and will offer participants a unique opportunity to meet their CPD requirements in just one week. Visit the Federation’s website for more information.

Latest from Lawyers Indemnity Fund

ICYMI: New T3 filings required by March 31, 2024 for trusts

If you are holding funds in a separate trust account for a client, perhaps as security for a builder’s lien, from an estate or trust distribution, or from the sale of real estate, you will now need to file a T3 income tax return, unless exempt, for that trust account by March 31, 2024. New rules in the Income Tax Act require T3 returns to be filed for many types of trusts for taxation years on or after December 31, 2023. Multiple T3 returns may need to be filed by a single law firm, taking considerable time to prepare. Read our previous Notice to Lawyers to learn more about the changes and exemptions.

Attention wills and estates lawyers: Claims hit an all-time high in 2023

We broke a record both in the number and dollar value of wills and estate claims last year, with. challenges to the validity of wills becoming frequent. This is a complex area of the law, requiring knowledge of a wide range of legislation, including the Wills, Estates and Succession Act, Rule 25 in BCSC Rules of Court, the Power of Attorney Act and the Trustee Act.

What can you do? Watch for signs of undue influence. Learn what to look out for from Maryanne Prohl, LIF’s Director, Risk Management in this video.

Here is a checklist with our top nine risk management tips. Print it out and use it on every file. You can find more resources in our recent Notice to Lawyers.

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