E-Brief: November 2022

Bencher by-election in County of Vancouver

Online voting is now available and will close at 5:00 pm on November 14, 2022. Votes will be counted on November 15, 2022. Voting instructions and voter credentials have been sent to eligible voters in the County of Vancouver. Candidate biographies and election statements can be viewed here. Further information regarding the Vancouver by-election is available on the elections web page.

Comments still welcome: Regulatory modernization

Comments are still being accepted on the Ministry of the Attorney General’s intentions paper proposing modernization of the regulation of the legal professions through the creation of a single legal regulator. All who wish to comment on the proposal have until November 18 to submit a response to PLD@gov.bc.ca or to complete the online survey. In addition, comments may be submitted directly to the Benchers at slr@lsbc.org. Any comments provided may be subject to disclosure under freedom of information legislation.

The Law Society Tribunal is seeking a Tribunal Chair

The Law Society is looking to appoint a Tribunal Chair to serve a two-year, part-time term starting January 1, 2023. The successful candidate will be responsible for the overall performance of the Tribunal and for providing leadership and direction to the Tribunal to ensure it operates fairly, efficiently and effectively within its mandate. If you are interested in the position, you can find the job description and requirements here. Closing date for applications is November 30.

Law Society issues “no-action” letter to WT BCA LLP

The 2020 Law Society Futures Task Force recommended allowing for innovation in legal service delivery and alternative business structures while protecting the public, and recommended establishing a regulatory sandbox to allow for regulatory innovation. In keeping with that direction, the Law Society has issued a no-action letter to WT BCA LLP. The limited liability partnership will consist of the former partners of Whitelaw Twining and DWF Adjusting (Canada) Limited. The “no-action” letter provides conditions on the practice of WT BCA LLP consistent with the Law Society’s current Rules permitting multi-disciplinary practices. For more information see our news release and the no-action letter.

Go “Beyond the Bar” with CLEBC and Jeff Rose, KC

The Continuing Legal Education Society is proud to offer two more sessions of their popular series “Beyond the Bar: Adventures in Law with Jeff Rose, KC.” These free webinars are designed to help lawyers explore the many possibilities that await them with their law degrees. Upcoming sessions are with Vernon J. Pahl of Guild Yule LLP (Tuesday, November 15 at 12:30 pm) and Sue Paish, KC, CEO of Digital Technology Supercluster (Tuesday, November 29 at 12:30 pm).

Beyond the Bar will show new and experienced lawyers how to maximize their potential from those who followed traditional routes. They will also hear from those who decided to use their degree to create professional opportunities they may not have envisioned while at law school. Register for free here.

The Law Society Award – Call for nominations

The Law Society intends to honour an exceptional individual in the legal profession with the Law Society Award. Nominations are now open and will close on January 10, 2023. Lawyers are encouraged to nominate a candidate for their exceptional contributions to the legal profession. For more information, including how to submit a nomination, click here.

Seeking expressions of interest: Director, BC Land Titles Survey Authority

The Law Society is seeking expressions of interest from individuals who wish to be considered for nomination by the Law Society as a director of the Land Title and Survey Authority (LTSA) for a three-year term starting April 1, 2023. Persons interested in being nominated for appointment consideration by the LTSA are invited to review information about the appointment, and submit an application form and supporting resume online.

National study on wellness in the legal profession

The report on The National Study on the Psychological Health Determinants of Legal Professionals in Canada is now available. The Law Society’s Mental Health Task Force will be considering the report’s findings and any subsequent recommendations flowing from the report, and will provide advice to the Board on next steps.

2023 annual fee invoice is due November 30, 2022

Lawyers can access and download their invoice for the first instalment of the 2023 annual fee through the Member Portal. For information regarding the invoice, contact the Registration and Licensee Services department at registration@lsbc.org.

Legal opinions in commercial transactions

A group of senior BC lawyers (the “Solicitors Legal Opinion Committee”) has prepared a number of recommended forms of legal opinions for use by British Columbia lawyers in commercial transactions. These forms of opinions, previously available on the Law Society website, are now found on the Continuing Legal Education Society website: go to www.cle.bc.ca/solicitors-legal-opinions or search “legal opinions British Columbia.”

Bill 39 introduces clarification of the application of the JRPA to decision-making agreements between the Province and Indigenous Peoples

On November 2, the BC government introduced Bill 39, which will amend the Judicial Review Procedure Act. The amendments are intended to clarify that when Indigenous governing bodies exercise their right to give or deny consent made under consent-based decision-making agreements entered into between the Province and Indigenous Peoples, the JRPA processes will apply to that consent decision in the same way as they apply to the government’s decision following that consent. Learn more about these proposed amendments at BC supports decision-making agreements with Indigenous Peoples | BC Gov News.

Free, remote CPD: Anti-money laundering measures webinar

The Law Society has produced a free two-hour webinar to help lawyers comply with anti-money laundering rules. Watch Practice Advisor Barbara Buchanan, KC and Audit Team Leader Tina Kaminski discuss best practices and take you through information regarding money laundering, cash, client identification and verification, red flags and risk management. The program is eligible for two hours of CPD credit. View the program here.

From Lawyers Indemnity Fund

Was your action suspended? Don’t wait until March 26 to file your 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 (March 26, 2020) but before March 25, 2021, the limitation period expires on March 26, 2023. Find more information here.

Three reminders for real estate lawyers:

Reminder #1: Additional property transfer tax is payable for foreign nationals, foreign entities and taxable trustees

In recent years, LIF has received an increased number of claims against lawyers relating to additional property transfer tax. In those claims, lawyers forgot that a foreign national, foreign corporation or taxable trustee is required to pay additional property transfer tax on certain real estate transactions.

In this re-released video, Marlon Song, Claims Counsel at LIF, shares the common traps that will help you avoid a claim. The Ministry of Finance has also asked us to provide you with this reminder.

Reminder #2: File your Land Owner Transparency Reports by November 30

The deadline for pre-existing “reporting bodies” to file a transparency report with the Land Owner Transparency Registry (LOTR) was extended to November 30, 2022.

Lawyers who act for a relevant corporation, a trustee of a relevant trust, or a relevant partnership that acquired an "interest in land" prior to November 30, 2020, and continue to own an interest, should keep in mind that a transparency report can take some time to complete. Wherever possible, have your client execute the report rather than you. Also note the current obligation to file a transparency declaration by a transferee applying to register an interest in land, and if a transferee is a “reporting body,” to also file a transparency report.

For information about the offences and fines for a reporting body’s failure to file a transparency report see Disclosure by existing landowners. Visit the LOTR’s web page on policy help, the government’s web page for enforcement information and resources regarding interpretation, and subscribe here to receive emails with the most recent updates.

Reminder #3: Foreign buyers are banned from purchasing Canadian residential property as of January 1

The Prohibition on the Purchase of Residential Property by Non-Canadians Act (the "Act"), in force January 1, 2023, prohibits the purchase of residential property by non-Canadians. Every non-Canadian who contravenes this prohibition and every person or entity that counsels, aids or attempts to counsel or aid a non-Canadian to purchase, directly or indirectly, any residential property is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than $10,000 (see section 6). Note that a charge or fine is not covered under your LIF policy. In addition to the penalties, the Minister may apply to court for an order to sell a property that has been purchased in contravention of the Act. It appears that this prohibition will be in effect for two years, subject to any amendments. Learn more here.


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