E-Brief: May 2019

Annual general meeting referendum

A number of lawyers have expressed concern that participation in our general meetings requires attendance, either online or in person, throughout the scheduled meeting, which is often not possible. As well, several of those who participated in the 2018 AGM experienced difficulty with the audio feed at remote locations and connectivity to servers that affected their ability to vote on member resolutions. The Benchers are proposing changes to allow online voting in advance of the meetings and assist with the duration of the meetings. Members will now have the opportunity to vote in a referendum to authorize the Benchers to amend the general meeting rules as proposed. Voting in the referendum will commence on May 15, 2019 and end on May 30, 2019. A video outlining the upcoming referendum and the general meeting reform proposal is available here, and more information, including FAQs, is available here.

Reports on money laundering in BC real estate

The British Columbia government has released a pair of reports into the impact of money laundering on the province's real estate market. The reports by Dr. Peter German and by an expert panel on money laundering in BC real estate led by Professor Maureen Maloney contain findings about the risk to lawyers of being targeted by money launderers, and they make recommendations for the Law Society and other regulatory agencies, including more stringent rules for reporting suspicious transactions. The Benchers will be giving careful consideration to the important and serious issues raised in the reports, as well as to their recommendations. A link to Dr. German's report is here and a link to Prof. Maloney's report is here.

Articling offers by downtown Vancouver firms to stay open to August 16

All offers of articling positions made by law firms with offices in the City of Vancouver north of False Creek and west of Carrall Street must remain open until 8 am on Friday, August 16, 2019. The deadline, set by the Credentials Committee under Rule 2-58, applies to offers made to first and second-year law students, but does not apply to offers made to third-year law students or offers of summer positions (temporary articles). For more information, read the highlight on the website.

Mark your calendars: 2019 Rule of Law Lecture

On June 25, 2019, the Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin and Richard Peck, QC will be featured speakers at the third annual Rule of Law Lecture on privacy, technology and the rule of law. The lecture begins at 6:15 pm at UBC Robson Square campus, with light refreshments provided prior to the lecture. Admission is free of charge. Seating is limited, so please RSVP lecture@lsbc.org to reserve your seat.

2018 Annual Report and audited financial statements now available

The Law Society's 2018 Annual Report and 2018 audited financial statements are now available online. 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.

CLEBC appointments

The Law Society is seeking expressions of interest for appointments as the Law Society's nominee to the Continuing Legal Education Society of BC's board of directors. In particular, candidates from Westminster County and Kootenay County are encouraged to apply. For information about the appointments process and requirements for the position, click here.

CBCA corporations must create and maintain an ISC register

Commencing June 13, 2019, Canada Business Corporations Act (CBCA) corporations (with some exceptions) are required to create and maintain (with annual updating) a register of individuals with significant control (ISC register). The ISC register is part of the government's efforts to provide greater transparency over the ownership and control of CBCA corporations, assisting investigative bodies to expose activities like money laundering and tax evasion. Corporations Canada has advised that new regulations will be in place for June 13, 2019. For more information, contact Corporations Canada at IC.corporationscanada.IC@canada.ca, see the initial guidance, and the Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2 (Bill C-86) which made amendments to the CBCA. 

Protection of Public Participation Act in force March 25, 2019

The Protection of Public Participation Act, sometimes referred to as anti-SLAPP legislation, affects proceedings commenced on or after May 15, 2018. Section 4 gives a defendant in a civil proceeding the right to bring an application to court for a dismissal order on the basis that: (i) the proceeding arises from an expression made by the applicant (defendant); and (ii) the expression relates to a matter of public interest. More information is available here.

Court Services Digital Transformation Strategy Consultation

Lawyers who appear in BC courts are invited to provide input on ways for digital technologies to improve their work, better serve the needs of clients and users, and support access to justice. The Ministry of Attorney General, Court Services Branch has been working with the justice sector on a Court Digital Transformation Strategy that has already produced initiatives such as the Online Divorce Assistant. Ideas that it has been asked to consider include increased digital content and e-filing, enhancing remote appearances, and better access to the electronic record of proceeding. Any lawyer who is interested in participating in a session to provide input, ideas and perspectives on a court digital transformation is invited to email CDT@gov.bc.ca.

From the Federation of Law Societies of Canada

The Federation's National Family Law Program has issued a call for papers and presentation proposals for their next conference held in Halifax on July 13-16, 2020. The deadline for proposals is May 30. More information is available here.


To keep up to date with Law Society news and events, follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

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