As of January 1st, 2024, the Law Society of Ontario requires lawyers who only meet with clients virtually to verify their clients’ identity online by authenticating their identification documents, or using an alternate, approved verification method. This ends the emergency virtual-verification measures that permitted verification through simply viewing identification documents online.

The virtual authentication of identity is done via technology that does multiple searches/verifications of the client’s identity. For examples of such technology, the Law Society of Ontario refers lawyers to a directory maintained by the Digital Identification and Authentication Council of Canada.

For real estate lawyers, title insurers – including TitlePLUS – are establishing processes for lawyers to verify their client’s identity and authenticate their identification documents. We understand that Treefort will be used by Stewart Title and TitlePLUS, Bluink by FCT and VerifID by Chicago Title. Real estate software providers also have secured these services (Unity and Closer using Treefort; Realtiweb has its own).

The Law Society does not restrict lawyers to only using the suppliers in the DIACC directory, provided the technology satisfies the Law Society’s criteria to determine whether an individual’s government-issued photo identification document is true and genuine.

If you will not be meeting your client in person, you will be required to virtually verify their identity and authenticate their identification documents if your legal services include the receipt, payment or transfer of funds. The Law Society has created several resources to provide additional details.

Are you ready to authenticate your client’s identification? What technology will you be using?

Categories: Fraud Prevention