E-Brief: September 2023

Honouring the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30 is a time to reflect, show support for those who were forced to attend Canada’s residential schools, to honour the survivors and the children who never returned home and to create awareness of inter-generational impacts. This day is an opportunity to consider how we can raise awareness and take action toward meaningful reconciliation. Everyone in the legal profession is encouraged to take the opportunity to deepen their understanding of the truth and legacy of Canada’s residential school system. The Law Society will observe this important day and close its offices on Monday, October 2 in lieu. See our news story for a list of resources and further information. 

Benchers approve 2024 annual practice and indemnity fees

The Benchers have approved the 2024 practice fee and indemnity fee, as recommended by the Finance and Audit Committee. The total annual fee for full-time practising, indemnified lawyers for 2024 will be $4,103, unchanged from 2023. The practice fee stays at $2,303, supporting the strategic plan, along with key operational priorities. The full-time indemnity fee also stays the same at $1,800. Visit our website for detailed information on fees.

New mental health resources available to legal professionals

In order to help improve mental health and well-being in the legal profession, the Law Society has reorganized and expanded the resources available to legal professionals through the new Lawyer Well-Being Hub. The hub provides a central access point for supports to lawyers and their families, including easy-to-access resources, videos and tools such as LifeSpeak. This digital wellness platform offers anonymous access to resources and content 24/7, including a library of short, digestible videos, live Q&A web chats with mental health experts and blog posts. LifeSpeak’s short videos offer practical strategies and insights into mental well-being that can be immediately implemented into daily life. It also provides access to courses that can be claimed for CPD credit.

Mental Health Forum rescheduled to February 6, 2024

Part two of the Mental Health Forum, hosted in collaboration with Continuing Legal Education BC, will now be held on February 6, 2024. The virtual event will focus on advancing personal mental health, as well as providing practical strategies that practitioners, firms and other legal employers can use to actively work toward improving mental health within their organizations and the profession. Register now for the event.

Printable/downloadable member cards available for 2024

For 2024 and onwards, the Law Society will be issuing printable and downloadable member cards, which will be available in the My Profile section of the Member Portal. Member cards will be provided as an image and in a PDF format and contain the same information as the paper cards. You may choose to save the member card image or file on your mobile device or computer or print your cards at your convenience. We are in the process of notifying the law courts, law libraries and jails of this change. If you have any questions, please contact Registration and Licensee Services at 604.605.5311 or registration@lsbc.org.

Reminder: Do not share Member Portal login credentials

A reminder that Law Society Member Portal login information is only intended for the account holder to use. Please do not allow support staff to access or use your login information as it could result in a privacy breach.

Survey: Judicial decision making

BC lawyers are invited to participate in a short survey that aims to explore ways to improve Canada’s legal system, with a specific focus on judicial decision-making and judicial decisions. The research is being conducted by Jon Khan, Ph.D. Candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School.

The short survey takes 13–15 minutes and covers three topics:

  • judicial decisions and judicial decision-making;
  • accessing information about what occurs in Canadian courts and about Canadian judges; and
  • keeping up with jurisprudence and preparing for litigation.

Participation is voluntary and all responses are anonymous. The survey will remain open until November 1, 2023. To learn more, please visit the research webpage or contact Jon directly.

Practice Support

Disclosure obligations under the Income Tax Act

The Federation of Law Societies filed a Petition in the Supreme Court of BC on September 11, 2023 challenging the constitutionality of the amendments to the Income Tax Act that came into force in June 2023. In response, the Federation is seeking an interim order exempting legal counsel from the application of the new mandatory reporting provisions in the Act pending the outcome of its legal challenge. More information about the litigation can be found on the Federation's website. Lawyers who have questions about the application of the legislation and how it might impact their practice are encouraged to discuss the matter with a tax counsel or with a practice advisor.

Education program: Anti-money laundering and terrorist financing

The Federation of Law Societies of Canada’s online anti-money laundering and terrorist financing education program for legal professionals is now live. The program consists of five interactive modules designed to enhance the ability of legal professionals to understand and respond appropriately to money laundering and terrorist financing risks, and to comply with law societies’ anti-money laundering and terrorist financing rules. You can access the program through the Federation’s website.

LTSA to retire COVID remote witnessing measures

The Land and Title Survey Authority of BC’s COVID-related remote witnessing measures will be retired, effective September 30, 2023. A reminder that remote witnessing of Enduring Powers of Attorney was made permanent by s.17.1 of the Power of Attorney Act and remains in effect. More information can be found on LTSA’s website.

Current Openings

2023 Bencher Election: Call for Nominations

Nominations of candidates for election in the upcoming Bencher General Election close at 5 pm on Monday, October 16, 2023. To submit a nomination, please complete the application form and the nomination and consent form.

For more information, see the Notice to the Profession or the Bencher election page.

Seeking expressions of interest: 2024 Law Society Committees and Task Forces

The Law Society is seeking expressions of interest from individuals who wish to be considered for appointment to the Law Society’s 2024 Committees and Task Forces for a one-year term starting January 1, 2024. To apply, please review information about each of the Law Society’s committees and task forces and submit an application form and supporting resume online, along with an explanation of why you’re interested in the opportunity. The deadline for applications is 5 pm, Monday, November 20, 2023.

Seeking Expressions of interest: Director, BC Land Title 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, 2024. To apply, please review information about the appointment, and submit an application form and supporting resume online, along with an explanation of how you meet the detailed criteria. The deadline for applications is 5 pm, Tuesday, October 10, 2023. For more information about the appointments process and requirements for each board position, see our Appointments Guidebook.

From Lawyers Indemnity Fund

Family law lawyers: Avoid common pitfalls when drafting agreements

Family law consistently generates a significant number of reports to LIF related to advising on or drafting agreements. Family law clients can be challenging to deal with, given the stress and emotion surrounding family law matters. Many have unrealistic expectations regarding the process, timing, cost and outcomes, making it difficult to satisfy them when dealing with the complex issues that often arise. The good news? You can learn to avoid common pitfalls by watching the below video of LIF Claims Counsel, Sherry Kooner. More risk management tips can be found on our website.

Funds transfer fraud: It really can happen to you

Funds transfer frauds can be devastating and easily exceed the insurance available through LIF and other providers. The reality is that every lawyer in every practice area, whether in a big firm, small firm or practising on their own, is a target. And all of these frauds can be avoided by a simple phone call to verify payment instructions. To find out how one lawyer got caught by a funds transfer fraud and what you should do to stay safe, read our recent Notice to Lawyers.

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