E-Brief: September 2022, Supplementary Edition

Observing the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

The Law Society will be observing the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and closing its offices on Friday, September 30. The day provides an opportunity for reflection to remember all who have been impacted by residential schools, and to provide a time for people and communities to come together in the spirit of reconciliation. We encourage everyone in the legal profession to take the opportunity to deepen their understanding of reconciliation, and engage in meaningful and ongoing discussions about how we can continue to take action towards reconciliation.

Board endorses Indigenous Framework

At its meeting on September 23, the Board approved an Indigenous Framework of six principles to guide the Law Society’s application of its governing legislation, Rules, Code, policies, procedures and practices. The principles include ensuring Indigenous engagement in the development of policy proposals or decisions that may affect Indigenous interests, as well as a recognition that the Law Society understands credibility requires follow through on its commitments, and that its commitments are ongoing. The principles will provide an assessment tool to ensure the Law Society is meeting its existing commitments to advance reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.

Ministry of Attorney General Intentions Paper on Legal Professions Regulatory Modernization

The Board discussed the Ministry of Attorney General intentions paper at its meeting on September 23. Deputy Attorney General Shannon Salter attended the meeting and provided a high-level update on the Ministry’s proposal and answered questions. It is still early in the Board’s consideration of the Ministry’s intentions paper but the Board expects to provide a formal response to the Ministry prior to the November 18 deadline.

In the meantime, lawyers and others who wish to comment on the paper can provide their views directly to government by submitting a written submission to PLD@gov.bc.ca or by completing the online survey. In addition, comments may be submitted directly to the Benchers at slr@lsbc.org. Please note that any comments provided may be subject to disclosure under freedom of information legislation.

2023 annual practice and indemnity fees

Practice and indemnity fees will remain largely unchanged for 2023, other than a modest $14 increase to the 2023 Lawyers Assistance Program (LAP) contribution. LAP provides confidential outreach, education, support and referrals to lawyers and other members of BC’s legal community, and this change comes as a result of an increased demand for LAP’s resources, particularly regarding mental health. The practice fee for 2023 will be $2,303.00 and the full-time indemnity fee will be $1,800, resulting in a total fee for insured practising lawyers for 2023 of $4,103 (from $4,089 in 2022). More information about the 2023 fees is available here.

Development of a competence framework for licensing of legal professionals in BC

The Board has approved the Lawyer Development Task Force’s recommendation to develop a competence based system for the licensing of legal professionals in British Columbia, beginning with the development of a Competence Framework. This is a significant step towards identifying the knowledge, skills and other attributes required of a legal professional at the time of entry into the profession, which will help to ensure that both the profession and the public are better informed about entry-level competencies. Once the framework has been developed, the Board will have the opportunity to consider how to utilize the framework as the basis for any future changes, if any, to the licensure system.

Amendments to the commentary of Code of Professional Conduct conflict of interest rules 3.4-1 and 3.4-2

As recommended by the Ethics and Lawyer Independence Advisory Committee, the Benchers have adopted amendments to the commentary to Code of Professional Conduct rules 3.4-1 and 3.4-2. The amendments better reflect the Canadian law on conflicts of interest and more closely aligns with the Federation of Law Societies’ model code. The changes to the commentary are effective immediately. Questions? Contact Practice Advice by email (practiceadvice@lsbc.org), phone (604.443.5797), or through booking an appointment in ADMA.

2022 Bencher By-Election in the County of Vancouver: Call for Nominations

Nominations of candidates in the upcoming Bencher By-Election in the County of Vancouver (District No. 1) close at 5:00 pm on Monday, October 17, 2022. Nomination forms may be downloaded from the Law Society website, and nomination forms should be emailed to BencherRelations@lsbc.org. For more details, please view the Notice to the Profession and Call for Nominations dated September 15, 2022.

Indigenous intercultural course requirement

The Law Society launched the Indigenous intercultural course earlier this year, which all practising lawyers in British Columbia are required to complete over a two year period. The course was designed to help lawyers increase their awareness and deepen their understanding of the impacts of the colonization of British Columbia on Indigenous communities and individuals. Beginning or completing the course is a step you can take to learn more about the history and legacy of residential schools. To learn more about the course or how to certify completion, review the FAQS or a PDF of the course materials. Lawyers can access the course easily through the Member Portal on the Law Society website with a one-touch log in by clicking the “Go to Brightspace” button on the “Law Society’s Brightspace” page.

Name change: Member Services now Registration and Licensee Services.

To provide clarity to the role and responsibilities of the Member Services department, the name of the Law Society’s Member Services department has been changed to Registration and Licensee Services. The website has been updated to reflect this change and any inquiries can be sent to the new email address: registration@lsbc.org. Though the department name has changed, all of the services provided by the department remain the same.

Changes to the Law Society’s Brightspace and Online Learning Centre

Over the next few months, the courses available through the Online Learning Centre are moving to the Law Society’s Brightspace. As this occurs, you will see course icons appear on your Brightspace homepage. While articled students and lawyers are required to complete certain courses, a course icon appearing on your Brightspace homepage in and of itself does not mean the course is mandatory for you, and is simply offered as an option. Until December 31, 2022, practising lawyers can choose whether to take a course in the Online Learning Centre or through Brightspace. Questions can be directed to ProfessionalDevelopment@lsbc.org.

Vancouver Building Board of Appeal

The Law Society is currently seeking expressions of interest for appointment by the Law Society as a member of the Vancouver Building Board of Appeal. The appointment is for a three-year term. Further information about this opportunity is available here. For more information about the appointments process and requirements for each board position, see our Appointments Guidebook. The deadline for applications is 5 pm, Wednesday, October 12, 2022. You may submit an application online.

Updates to Provincial Court Links – Small Claims and Criminal

As of October 3, 2022, Provincial Small Claims and Criminal matters will be using MS Teams courtroom links, which means that MS Teams links for some court locations have changed. Updated links and a communication from the court explaining the changes are available in the Member Portal by clicking on “BC Courtrooms Live Links”.

From Lawyers Indemnity Fund

Foreign Buyers Banned from Purchasing Canadian Residential Property

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. It appears that this prohibition will be in effect for two years, subject to any amendments. Learn more here.

Reminder: File your Land Owner Transparency Reports Now

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 which 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 take note that the earlier extension does not change 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.

For the latest updates from LIF, follow us on Twitter @Lifbc, and check out our job posting for a Claims Counsel.


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.