Changes to the Law Society of Upper Canada CPD Requirements
The Law Society has made changes to the CPD requirement in response to lawyer and paralegal input and following its two-year review of the program. Some of the changes are effective immediately and the remainder will be implemented for the 2014 reporting year. For detailed information on these changes see the Report to Convocation.
Changes Effective Immediately
1. Co-writing and co-editing are now eligible activities
Writing and editing books or articles with a co-author are now eligible CPD activities, to a maximum of 6 Hours annually. Each author must be able to verify the number of hours he or she spent writing or editing. Previously, only sole authorship activities were eligible.
2. Writing and editing for firm publications are now eligible activities
Writing and editing for firm or other in-house publications are now eligible CPD activities, to a maximum of 6 Hours annually. Previously, only writing and editing of materials for third-party publication or course materials were eligible. Writing for personal use, such as blogging, remains ineligible for CPD Hours.
3. Accreditation Criteria for Professionalism Hours expanded
The Accreditation Criteria for Professionalism Hours has been revised to clarify the descriptions and provide increased flexibility with regard to its application. The revised Criteria is broader and recognizes a range of professionalism issues that may arise in different practice areas and practice contexts. Content submitted for accreditation on or after May 30, 2013 will be assessed according to the revised Accreditation Criteria. Highlights of the changes include:
- realignment of section headings to better describe content
- expansion of language to address government and in-house contexts
- expanded approach to client communication and legal writing
- addition of business of law topics such as financial considerations, client development and strategic planning
- broader approach to use of law office technology
Changes to be implemented in 2014
1. Accredited Provider Framework to be established
The Law Society has approved an accredited provider framework for CPD, to begin in January 2014. Under this new policy, the Law Society will grant Accredited Provider status to those providers who are able to demonstrate a history of delivering quality legal training and education to lawyers and/or paralegals through an application process. Accredited Provider status will allow education providers, law association, law firms and government providers of in-house training, and other such established organizations, to deliver professionalism content in CPD programs and courses without requiring an individual application for each session. Accredited Providers will be required to ensure professionalism content included in programs is appropriately aligned with the Accreditation Criteria for Professionalism Hours. Accredited Provider status does not mean the provider must include professionalism content in every program; it means that the provider need not apply for accreditation of professionalism content where it is included in its programming. Providers who are not accredited and members will continue to be able to apply for accreditation of a specific program or activity through the current accreditation process. See the Law Society website for more information and important dates for the Accredited Provider framework.
2. Elimination of separate New Member Requirement
The separate New Member CPD requirement will be eliminated for 2014. Beginning in January 2014, new lawyers and paralegals who practise law or provide legal services will be subject to the same CPD requirement as experienced lawyers and paralegals. Beginning in 2014, new lawyers and paralegals will be required to meet the CPD requirement on a pro rata basis in the month after which they become licensed. For example, lawyers called to the Bar in June of 2014 must complete 6 Hours of CPD, including 1.5 Professionalism Hours, by December 31, 2014. Similarly, paralegals licensed in March 2014 will be required to complete 9 CPD Hours by December 31, 2014, including 6.75 Substantive Hours and 2.25 Professionalism Hours. Lawyers and paralegals who become licensed in 2013 are not required to meet the CPD requirement until the 2014 reporting year. However, they may begin to accumulate CPD Hours in 2013. CPD programs and activities taken by new members in 2013 must contain a minimum of 30 minutes of professionalism content in accordance with the current CPD policies.
3. Late fee and reinstatement fee to be implemented
Lawyers and paralegals who do not complete their CPD Hours or who fail to report their CPD through the LSUC Portal by December 31, 2014 will be charged a late fee, in addition to being subject to administrative suspension. Beginning with the 2014 reporting year, lawyers and paralegals suspended for failing to meet the CPD requirement will be subject to a reinstatement fee.
4. Simplified reporting system to be introduced for 2014
The CPD reporting system will be simplified for 2014 as a result of feedback from lawyers and paralegals. The new Portal reporting system will be developed over the coming months. It is expected that the CPD section of the Law Society Portal will be significantly streamlined, permitting lawyers and paralegals to easily report all programs and activities through a free-form entry screen.
See the Law Society Website for a list of FAQs on the CPD Requirements and changes.
See the Law Society Website for more information on these changes.