Tag: Continuing Legal Education
Most professions require their members to complete a certain amount of continuing education. For example, lawyers in Ontario are required to complete 12 hours of Continuing Professional Development, with a minimum of 3 hours of Continuing Professional Development having certain “professionalism” content.
Failure to complete the required continuing education can lead to suspension. Often, professionals scramble at the last minute to complete their continuing education requirements.
In recent disciplinary proceedings, insurance agents had their insurance agent licences revoked where they did not complete the required continuing education, and submitted fraudulent continuing education certificates
In both D’Mello v. Ontario (CEO of FSRA), 2019 ONFST 20 and Sohi and Sandhu v. Ontario (Superintendant Financial Services), 2019 ONFST 9, insurance agents purchased continuing education certificates from a Mr. Rutledge, a continuing education teacher. The certificates confirmed that the agents received 30 hours of continuing education. However, the teacher did not provide the agents with any training or educational materials. The agents paid the teacher $100 for the certificates.
In the Sohi and Sandhu proceeding, the Financial Services Tribunal refers to the evidence of Mr. Rutledge. It is said that while he was at one point a continuing education teacher, he stopped teaching long before the incidents in question. When contacted by a former student or person referred by a former student, he would “help” them with their licence renewals by selling them the false continuing education certificates for courses they did not actually study for or take.
The Tribunal held that the agents knowingly submitted false continuing education certificates and intentionally misled the Financial Services Commission of Ontario. Their licences as insurance agents (all three had been agents for 20 years or more) were revoked.
The moral of the story is obvious: complete your continuing education. Actually complete it!
Also, complete it early. As stated in the D’Mello decision, while failing to complete your continuing education does not automatically constitute incompetence, leaving it to the last minute constitutes “brinksmanship”: in the case of the insurance agents, “leaving 30 hours of CE compliance to late in the two year cycle would seem to demonstrate a lack of good planning”.
For our blog from 2010 on the introduction of Continuing Legal Education requirements, see here.
Thank you for reading.
By writing this blog, I am now earning my Law Society Continuing Professional Development (“CPD”) hours. Surprised? So was I. According to this notice, writing and editing firm publications are now eligible CPD activities, to a maximum of six hours annually. The Law Society states that “[p]reviously, only writing and editing of materials for third-party publication or course materials were eligible. Writing for personal use remains ineligible for CPD hours.”
According to this post from the venerable Slaw, LSUC’s original notice was worded slightly differently. It apparently stated that “[w]riting for personal use, such as blogging, remains ineligible…” (emphasis added). The words, “such as blogging,” appear to have since been removed from the Law Society’s notice about the changes to the CPD requirement, indicating that it is a viable way to earn CPD hours. When asked about blogging in particular, LSUC’s coordinator of CPD Accreditation told Slaw that blogging is an “eligible activity” so long as the “purpose of the blog is not to advertise the lawyer or paralegal’s services.”
The author at Slaw comments that this was a strange use of the word “blogging” as it reflects the antiquated idea that a blog “is synonymous with personal journaling.” While that may have been true when blogging first emerged on the internet, blogs are now more commonly written by multiple authors such as employees of a corporation (or a law firm) and professionally edited. As the readers of this particular blog, you can see that it is not merely a collection of personal musings, but rather a collection of short informational articles about the world of estate litigation. Our partners and associates work hard to provide readers with useful and accurate information and I am happy to see the Law Society now formally recognizes the fact that blogging can advance legal professional development, which is one of the main reasons we started this blog in the first place.
Thanks for reading and have a great week!
Thank you to all who attended our Breakfast Series yesterday, and congratulations on getting a head start on your CPD!
For those of you who didn’t attend, you missed three wonderful presentations which covered a wide array of issues faced estate practitioners, both litigants and solicitors alike. Paul Trudelle provided a reminder to all of us that the Rules of Professional Conduct deserve a routine review, and drew our attention to specific examples of how estate practitioners are impacted by Rule 2, and how we should turn our minds to this rule during the course of every retainer. Natalia Angelini provided a detailed review of the Pecore decision and the issues of joint ownership in estate planning. While Ian Hull wrapped up the morning with discussion about the pitfalls and traps of disinheritance, and what planners and litigators should look to when strategizing.
Please check out our website and see our previous presentations and papers, the papers presented at yesterday’s seminar will be posted shortly. Also stay tuned to our website for information regarding our next breakfast series, I hope to see you there.
Have a great weekend,
Nadia M. Harasymowycz – Click here for more information on Nadia Harasymowycz.
Just a reminder that Hull & Hull LLP’s Breakfast Series will take place this coming Thursday, September 22, 2011.
Our Breakfast Series presentations are offered several times a year and provide valuable information on topics of interest to estate practitioners.
The September 22nd Breakfast Series presentation will cover the following topics:
- Is it a Gift? McNamee v. McNamee: A Look at the Recent Decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal – by Nadia M. Harasymowycz
- Representation Orders, Litigation Administrators, and Other Flashpoints Between Estate Litigation and Estate Administration – by David M. Smith
- Ethical issues for the Estate Planners – by Ian M. Hull and Suzana Popovic-Montag
The September 22nd Breakfast Series has been accredited by the Law Society for 30 minutes toward the annual Professional Requirement and has been accredited by the Law Society for 60 minutes toward the annual New Member Requirement.
Breakfast Series presentations are held at the Ontario Bar Association facilities at 20 Toronto Street, Toronto. If you are not able to attend in person, you can dial in for live audio or view the presentation from your PC via live webcast.
Click here to register or contact Diane Labao at 416-369-1140 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copies of papers and video from our previous Breakfast Series presentations are available on our website.
We look forward to having you join us on September 22nd.
Saman M. Jaffery
The summer sun finally seems to have broken through the clouds; with the weather this beautiful everyone seems to be focused on getting outside and taking a break. Yet, we can’t forget that we are nearly at the half year mark, meaning that there are only 6 more months to complete your CLE requirements. Rest assured, there are still opportunities to satisfy your hours, one of which occurs this week. Hull & Hull LLP is hosting its second Breakfast Series of the year, our own kick off to summer this Thursday, June 23, 2011.
I hope you are able to join us, whether in person, via webcast or through telephone dial-in, to hear Ian M. Hull and Suzana Popovic-Montag speak about the importance of addressing your digital legacy when preparing your Estate Plan. The program is sure to be interesting, and if that alone is not enough, it has been given CPD accreditation, putting you one step closer to meeting your CLE requirements. For more information regarding the Breakfast Series, or to register, please check out our website.
See you Thursday,
Nadia M. Harasymowycz – Click here for more information on Nadia Harasymowycz.
As I’m sure everyone is well aware, the new CPD requirements as regulated by the Law Society of Upper Canada have us all tuned in to the programs being offered and the hours accredited to each. While I blogged yesterday on a past CLE opportunity, I am happy to say that the future opportunities are equally as varied and interesting.
Among the CLE available in the Estate field which will certainly prove worthwhile, ‘Beyond Will and Estate Planning Essentials’, presented by the Ontario Bar Association, is taking place this afternoon. The program is accredited by the Law Society for 2.5 substantive hours and 1.5 professionalism hours of the required CPD for 2011. Presentations will be made on the following topics;
- Assessing Capacity and Vulnerability;
- Mutual Wills and More;
- Designation and Declarations – Landmarks and Landmines;
- Registered Disability Savings Plans and Related Planning;
- Business Succession Planning;
- A Review of Ethics and Defensive Practice Tools In an Estate Planning Context;
- 5 Success Strategies for your Estate Planning Practice; and
- Landmines for Lawyers: Exercising judgment in the fact of bad information or a lack of time.
The presentations will undoubtedly be insightful and provide guidance for all Estate practitioners. I’m certain that attendance will be worthwhile and although all CPD programs are in high demand, there may still be some space available. I hope to see you there.
Nadia M. Harasymowycz – Click here for more information on Nadia Harasymowycz.
Commencing January 1, 2011, lawyers and paralegals in Ontario must complete at least 12 hours of continuing professional development (“CPD”) in eligible educational activities in each calendar year. At least 3 of the 12 hours must be on topics related to ethics, professionalism and/or practice management.
New members in their first two full years of practising law or providing legal services are required to take 12 hours per year of programming that integrates topics related to ethics, professionalism, and practice management for at least 25% of the program. This component must be reasonably connected to the substantive or procedural law content of the program.
All programming must be accredited by the Law Society. There are a variety of activities that may qualify for credit so you can count preparation for and presentation at CPD programs as well as attendance. Activities other than courses must be accredited in advance by LSUC in order to qualify for professionalism credit. Lawyers and paralegals seeking accreditation of activities such as teaching, writing, study groups, or mentoring must complete an Application for Accreditation of Alternate Eligible Educational Activities a minimum of 30 days in advance of the commencement date of the proposed activity. For more information see the LSUC website.
It will be interesting to see the changes in programming and perhaps even the kinds of organizations that will be providing CPD programs with the new requirements.
If all this talk about continuing education has you ready to come out to mingle with your colleagues and discuss all things estates, Hull & Hull LLP’s breakfast series continues on October 14, 2010.
Sharon Davis – Click here for more information on Sharon Davis.
As all litigators in the province of Ontario likely know by now, January 1, 2010 ushers in not only a new decade but New Rules of Civil Procedure. The New Rules apply to all matters, regardless of when they were commenced.
The amendments to the Rules effected by Ont. Reg. 438/08 are the most extensive and significant since the Rules were adopted in 1985. The fundamental goal of the reform is to make the civil justice system more affordable and accessible for Ontarians.
Some of the more significant changes are as follows:
Proportionality – In April of 2009 we saw a movement toward proportionality of time and expense with the interests at issue in estate litigation upon the introduction of the New Practice Direction for the Estates List of the Superior Court of Justice in Toronto. New Rule 1.04(1.1) brings this factor into play for litigation in all jurisdictions and mandates that Court Orders and Directions be proportionate to the importance and complexity of issues and amounts at stake.
Summary Judgment – Rule 20 expands the Court’s discretion to assess credibility, weigh evidence, conduct mini-trials with oral evidence, and award substantial indemnity costs against a party acting unreasonably or in bad faith.
Expert Evidence – Experts must provide fair objective and non-partisan opinion, give opinion evidence only on matters that are within their expertise, and assist the Court as reasonably required. This duty to the Court prevails over any obligation experts owe to the party who retained them. Expert reports must be filed 90 days before the pre-trial conference and responding expert reports must be served 60 days prior to the pre-trial conference.
Discovery – Among the many changes regarding discovery is a new definition of relevance. The phrase “relating to any matter in issue in the action” has been replaced with “relevant to any matter in issue in the action”. This changes the test to one of simple relevance. Proportionality comes into play again in Rule 29.2, which sets out the considerations that must be made in determining questions to be answered or documents to be produced. Parties must agree to a written discovery plan (Rule 29.1) and there is a 7-hour time limit on oral examinations for discovery (R. 31.05.1).
Time – Calculation of time pursuant to Rule 3.01(1)(b) for notice periods of 7 days or less excludes holidays. There are also earlier deadlines for service and filing of materials for motions (Rule 37) Applications (Rule 38) and appeals from interlocutory orders (Rule 61).
If your New Year’s resolution is to learn the New Rules and their impact on your estates practice, you should attend the OBA Trusts and Estates Section Seminar, "Stay on top of the New Rules of court" on January 6, 2010.
Program Chair, Jane Martin, and speakers, Mr. Justice David M. Brown and Madam Justice Lois B. Roberts of the Superior Court of Justice, and Hull & Hull’s own Suzana Popovic-Montag, will guide you through the changes and provide an opportunity to ask questions regarding implications for estates practitioners.
For more on this topic see Gary Watson’s summary of the amendments and Marni Pernica’s recent article in OBA’s Deadbeat magazine. Previous Hull & Hull commentary by Rick Bickhram and Paul Trudelle can be found here and here.
I suspect that following the New Rules is one Resolution you will be sure to keep!
Sharon Davis – Click here for more information about Sharon Davis.
There are several interesting continuing legal education (CLE) events coming up in September and October 2008 that I wanted to mention as summer draws to a close and we look to the fall.
One is an Ontario Bar Association (OBA) full day program on September 23, 2008 commencing at 9:00 a.m. entitled “Trusts, Trustees, Trusteeships III – All you need to know and more”. This is the third year that this program on Trusts is running. The use of Trusts and Trust drafting are said to be the primary focus of this year’s program.
Topics include: Valuation Issues and Discretionary Trusts, The Effect of Bankruptcy on Estate Planning, Testamentary Trust Planning, The Use of Trusts as a Will Substitute, Charitable Gifts made by a Trust, Trust Variations, Insurance Trusts and Declarations, Judicial Supervision of the Exercise of Trustee Discretionary Powers and Trust Drafting.
What are some of the "red flags" to be wary of in the course of a retainer to prepare a Will? Corina Weigl considered this issue in an article she wrote for the 2007 LSUC Six Minutes Estates Lawyer (find it here) titled "How to Bullet-Proof Your Will". By far the most typical "red flag" arises in the context of third party involvement, such as where a close friend or relative (commonly a child of the testator), contacts the lawyer directly asking for advice in respect of the testator’s estate (i.e. “My Dad needs a will drawn up”). This is a common scenario for most estate planning practitioners. The lawyer should remind the third party who the "real" client is and that best practice demands that he or she deal with the testator (as opposed to the third party) directly. Lawyers are advised to hold meetings in private with the "real" client; to prepare detailed notes of telephone conversations and meetings with the "real" client, and to scrutinize motivations in cases where there are blatant departures from the provisions of former Wills. Another “red flag” is the unequal treatment of beneficiaries. To avoid the possibility of a dispute down the road, clients should be clear in expressing their wish to exclude an obvious beneficiary (i.e. leaving out 1 of his 3 kids). The lawyer may ask for an explanation of why the person is being treated differently, and the lawyer will likely take notes. Unequal treatment inevitably leads to family friction and may up the chances of a will challenge. Lastly, it is a lawyer’s duty to be satisfied that their client has the requisite mental capacity – once again the lawyer is advised to take notes and when in doubt, consult expert opinion.
Sarah Hyndman Fitzpatrick