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CPD Requirements

What is the Law Society’s CPD requirement?

Lawyers and paralegals in Ontario are required to complete in each calendar year at least 12 CPD hours in Eligible Educational Activities consisting of a minimum of 3 professionalism hours on topics related to professional responsibility, ethics and/or practice management. The remaining 9 hours may address substantive or procedural law topics and/or related skills (substantive hours). Non-legal subjects may also be eligible for substantive hours if they are relevant to one’s practice and professional development. Effective Jan 1, 2018, Lawyers and Paralegals must complete the CPD Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Requirement. Lawyers and Paralegals must complete a total of 3 professionalism hours that focus on advancing equality, diversity and inclusion in the legal profession between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2020. Each year thereafter, Lawyers and Paralegals must complete 1 Professionalism EDI hour. These EDI hours count towards the 3 CPD professionalism hours required each year. Only programs and activities for professionalism hours including EDI professionalism hours must be accredited by the Law Society. Substantive hours do not have to be accredited.

How do I get my CPD hours?

  • Attendance in person, online or by telephone, at live CPD programs and courses that provide an opportunity to interact with colleagues and/or instructors.
  • Viewing or listening to archived or recorded CPD programs or courses (for a maximum of 6 hours per year where viewed without a colleague).
  • Teaching a substantive or professionalism topic (for a maximum of 6 hours per year). (actual teaching time is multiplied by a factor of 3 to reflect preparation time)
  • Acting as an articling principal, mentoring or being mentored (for a maximum of 6 hours per year).
  • Writing and editing books or articles (for a maximum of 6 hours per year).
  • Participation in study groups of 2 or more colleagues.
  • Attending the educational components of bar and law association meetings.

Activities not eligible for CPD:

  • Marketing to existing or potential clients.
  • Acting as an adjudicator, chair or member for a tribunal or board or other panel.
  • Doing pro-bono work.
  • Attending meetings (e.g. LSO meetings, AGMs, board or committee meetings etc.).
  • File-specific discussion.

Is subject matter limited to Ontario or Canadian law?

Eligible activities will not be limited to subject matter dealing primarily with the practice of Ontario or Canadian law. Subject matter related to the law of other provinces and countries and non-legal subjects will be eligible - if relevant to the lawyer’s or paralegal's practice and development as a practitioner.

How do I report my CPD hours?

You must report your CPD hours using the online LSO Portal by December 31 of each calendar year. Lawyers and paralegals can report eligible CPD programs and activities at any time on or before December 31 and are encouraged to report regularly. CPD hours should be entered into the Portal once an activity or program has been completed. The self-edit function allows members to edit or delete any entry for a professionalism program, substantive program or activity.

What documentation am I obligated to keep as proof of attendance?

Lawyers and paralegals are required to keep written confirmation of registration at CPD programs as proof of attendance. Program materials such as agendas, hand-outs, attendee lists and discussion notes should be retained on file until the end of the year following the year in which the CPD program or activity was completed. For a detailed outline of required documentation according to the type of eligible educational activity, please see Record Keeping Standards - Evidence of Compliance with Section 4 of By-Law 6.1 (PDF).

If I have additional professionalism hours, above the 3 hours, will they be applied to my substantive hour requirement?

Yes. Once you have reported 3 professionalism hours in the LSO portal, any additional professionalism hours entered into the portal will automatically be applied toward your substantive category. However, any substantive hours completed in excess of the required 9 substantive hours will not be applied to the professionalism category.

What happens if I obtain more than 12 CPD hours in a given year?

You are unable to carry forward any additional hours to the next year’s requirement.

What happens if I don’t complete the CPD requirement by December 31?

Following the completion of the calendar year, the summary suspension bencher will be provided with the names of the lawyers and paralegals who have failed to comply with the requirement and who are subject to a fine and administrative suspension from practice. If you are administratively suspended, you may be reinstated by completing the missing hours and providing proof of completion to the Law Society.

For complete details on the CPD requirement and LSO policies, please click here to visit the LSO website.

For more information or to register for a UniversiTorys seminar, please contact: universitorys@torys.com.