Disclosure of trust account information to financial institutions

May 26, 2011

The Law Society has received a number of inquiries from lawyers regarding requests from their financial institutions to disclose information about the beneficiaries of their trust accounts and amounts being held in trust. This information is intended to be used by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation to determine deposit insurance coverage.

When providing such information, lawyers must guard against breaching their confidentiality obligations under the Professional Conduct Handbook. The client's name, address and the amount being held in trust for that client is confidential information that generally may only be disclosed with the consent of the client or if required by law.

Section 7(2) of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation Joint and Trust Account Disclosure By-Law permits lawyers to substitute disclosure of a client's name and address with an alphanumeric code or other identifier. Therefore, when reporting to their financial institution on their multi-beneficiary trust account, rather than disclosing the client's name and address and the amount held in trust for the client, lawyers could provide instead a file number or alphanumeric identifier relating to the client's matter along with the amount being held in trust for that client.

For further information, contact a Law Society Practice Advisor at 604.669.2533.