JULY 4, 2017
Trust Safety Program  Changes
At the recent Bencher Meeting, changes were made to improve the Trust Safety program and increase compliance with annual filing requirements. These changes will enable the Law Society to better flag potential problem accounts or accounting practices, while streamlining the program for all Responsible Lawyers. Changes have been made to the Rules of the Law Society of Alberta, Rules 119, 119.3, and 119.30, with consequential amendments to Rules 115, 165.1 and 167.

The Trust Safety program is moving to a defined Designated Filing Date of December 31 for all Trust Accounts. This will result in an annual filing Due Date of March 31 for the Law Firm Self-Report and either the Electronic Data Upload or Accountant’s Report. 

This standardization of filing dates has been used in other Law Societies in Canada and has led to improved Trust Safety practices both for lawyers and the Law Societies. 

Along with these changes, late filing fees have been introduced. These will work on a sliding scale with late fees increasing each month that the annual reports are not received. The first late fee comes in on April 1 for those who miss the initial deadline. Each month that the Law Society does not received the required reports, an additional fee is incurred, until July 1. An administrative suspension has been introduced for those Responsible Lawyers who do not ensure that all of the filings for the year are received by the Law Society, along with any late filing fees, prior to July 1.  

In order to avoid late filing fees or an administrative suspension, ensure that your annual reports are received prior to the March 31 deadline for each calendar year. 

More information will be sent to Responsible Lawyers regarding the transition period, change in dates and late filing fees. For those lawyers impacted by the change in Designated Filing Date, we encourage you to work on implementing any changes to your Trust Accounting practices early. 

Questions? View our website or email AskTrustSafety@lawsociety.ab.ca

CPD Cycle Now Open
Visit the Lawyer Portal to develop and declare your 2017 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Plan. You may notice the Lawyer Portal has a new design - see the screen capture below to see where you can access your CPD information.
Program Changes

The two major changes made to this year’s CPD program affect all active lawyers:
  • The first change is the timing of the CPD declaration period. Going forward, the CPD declaration period opens on July 1 and declarations are due on September 30.

    This change coordinates the planning cycle with the traditional education calendar so you have an opportunity to review the Legal Education Society of Alberta course offerings for the upcoming year and the Canadian Bar Association – Alberta Branch subsection memberships and conference offerings while you develop your CPD plan. This does not preclude you from exploring other professional development opportunities outside of course offerings and subsection meetings. You are encouraged to select professional development opportunities that best meet your learning needs and preferences.

  • The second change is that failure to develop and declare a CPD plan results in an administrative suspension.

    An environmental scan found that all of the other provincial law societies, as well as many other legal regulators have suspensions for failure to complete the requirements of Continuing Legal Education. While our CPD declaration rates have increased over the past three years, these rates are below those of other provinces with penalties in place. For the vast majority of lawyers who fulfil their obligation to declare, this change will have no impact. Administrative suspension for failure to declare comes into effect October 1, 2017.  
CPD Assistance

Email CPD or call 403.229.4766.

The CPD program supports Alberta lawyers to continually strive for excellence in the practice of law.
Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta Announcement