TORONTO, Oct. 28, 2021 /CNW/ - Today, the Law Society of Ontario's governing body (Convocation) approved the 2022 budget proposed by management. This budget reduces annual fees for licensees and fees for licensing candidates while maintaining the organization's solid long-term financial position. The budget ensures progression of strategic priorities including modernizing the systems and processes that support the effective regulation of the legal professions.
The 2022 budget incorporates expense reductions driven by adapted work processes and pandemic-identified efficiencies. It also integrates new programs and policy changes approved by Convocation, such as the transition to the online delivery of licensing examinations.
These changes and other cost-containment measures, along with the utilization of $16.2 million in fund balances, means the annual fees that Ontario lawyers and paralegals will pay will decrease for the third year in a row. In 2022, lawyers will see a decrease of $60, for an annual fee of $1,813, while paralegals will see a decrease of $9, for an annual fee of $955.
With the shift to online licensing examinations comes a reduction in examination delivery and related expenses. Licensing fees for lawyer and paralegal candidates will be reduced by $300 and $100 respectively, as of May 1, 2022.
The 2022 budget also includes funding of $8.542 million to support LiRN Inc. and the operation of the 48 county law libraries in the system. The LiRN network is an integral source of legal information and law library services across Ontario.
Budgetary expenses facilitate the Law Society's ability to regulate the legal professions in the public interest. This includes funding the Compensation Fund which provides for payments to be made to members of the public who have lost money because of the dishonesty of a member, and responding to strategic issues like anti-money laundering and terrorist financing and delivering programs such as the Practice Management Helpline, the Member Assistance Program and launching projects like Access to Innovation (A2I).
"In the development of the 2022 Law Society of Ontario budget, we have focused on stabilizing our activities following the pandemic. We are also looking ahead and planning for transformations that will create further efficiencies, reducing burdens internally and for our licensees," said Law Society Chief Executive Officer Diana Miles. "The Law Society's 2022 budget supports our primary focus on serving the public, licensees and candidates in a cost-effective and supportive manner."
"This budget allows us to move the Law Society forward with our strategic priorities and policy development in a timely and progressive way," said Treasurer Teresa Donnelly. "I would like to extend my appreciation to CEO Diana Miles; the Law Society's leadership team; Joe Groia, Chair of the Audit and Finance Committee, and Vice-Chair Lubomir Poliacik. This budget will maintain the Law Society's solid financial position for the long-term and enhance our ability to fulfill our mandate."
The report to Convocation on the 2022 budget is available online.
The Law Society regulates lawyers and paralegals in Ontario in the public interest. The Law Society has a mandate to protect the public interest, to maintain and advance the cause of justice and the rule of law, to facilitate access to justice for the people of Ontario and to act in a timely, open and efficient manner.
SOURCE The Law Society of Ontario
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