LAO Newsroom


LSUC Client Identification Requirement Exemption

Posted on: Tuesday, December 30/08
Updated on: Wednesday, February 11 /09

Client Identification: New LSUC Requirements
The Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) has amended By-law 7.1 ("Operational Obligations and Responsibilities") in order to incorporate new client identification and verification obligations. The amendment was originally to come into effect as of October 31, 2008, but was delayed until December 31, 2008.

The client identification requirements require a licensee (i.e. a lawyer or paralegal) to obtain the following information about his or her client:

  • The client's full name;
  • The client's home address and home telephone number;
  • The client's occupation/occupations; and
  • The client's business address and business telephone number, if applicable.

The new requirements apply, with narrow exceptions, to all Law Society licensees who are "retained to provide professional services to a client". The Law Society views a duty counsel assist as such a retainer. Had this requirement remained in place for duty counsel assists, it would have had the potential to seriously reduce the number of clients served or significantly increase costs -- all to comply with a requirement that is intended to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

LAO has been successful in obtaining an exemption for licensees who are providing duty counsel and advice lawyer services. This was approved by Convocation at its recent January meeting. The wording of the section 22 is as follows:

22.  (1)   Subject to subsections (2), (3) and (4), a licensee shall,

  1. when the licensee engages in or gives instructions in respect of the receiving, paying or transferring of funds,
  2. when the licensee engages in or gives instructions in respect of the receiving, paying or transferring of funds,
    (i) comply with the client identification requirements set out in subsection 23 (2), and
    (ii) comply with the client verification requirements set out in subsection 23 (4).

Exemption re certain licensees
(2)   A licensee is not required to comply with the client identification and verification requirements set out in section 23 if,

  1. the licensee is engaged in the activities described in subsection (1) on behalf of her or his employer;
  2. the licensee is engaged in the activities described in subsection (1) as agent for another licensee or a lawyer who has already complied with the client identification and verification requirements set out in section 23;
  3. the licensee is engaged in the activities described in subsection (1) for a client referred to the licensee by another licensee or a lawyer who has already complied with the client identification and verification requirements set out in section 23; or
  4. the licensee is engaged in the activities described in subsection (1), other than the activities described in clause (1) (b), as a duty counsel under the Legal Aid Services Act, 1998, as a duty counsel providing professional services through a duty counsel program operated by a not-for-profit organization or as a provider of legal aid services through the provision of summary advice under the Legal Aid Services Act, 1998.

While there was a period of several weeks between the by-law coming into force on December 31st and the passing of the exemption in January, the Law Society has advised LAO that the first year for the new by-law was always intended to work with those impacted by the by-law on issues of implementation "rather than seeking to catch the profession in violations".

For further information

For more information please refer to the LSUC website at www.lsuc.on.ca or contact PO Program Support.



Law Society of Upper Canada

For more info:

For more information please refer to the LSUC website at www.lsuc.on.ca or contact PO Program Support.