In November 2019 the Convocation (Board of Directors) of the Law Society of Ontario approved in principle amendments to by-laws designed to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. The amendments which build on existing regulation include:
- a requirement that licensees identify and record the source of client funds for a transaction
- clarification with respect to the amount of cash that a legal professional can receive in respect of any one client matter
- changes to the requirements and processes for identifying and verifying the identity of individual and organizational clients
- new requirements to engage in ongoing monitoring of the business relationship with the client, including assessing whether there is a risk that the legal professional may be encouraging fraud or illegal conduct
- introduction of a new Trust Accounting Model Rule to explicitly prohibit the use of a trust account for a purpose unrelated to the practice of law.
The law society has issued a guidance document, available here, to assist licencees on their obligations.
For further information about the changes click here.