GOVERNANCE REFORMS - UPDATE
The Governance Task Force discussed and voted on the Governance Task Force Proposed Initiatives. Below is a summary of their proceedings, which took place on Nov 30, 2018.
Note that individual benchers spoke for more than 2 ½ hours giving their arguments for/against the motion.
Comments from the chair of the task force:
The Governance Task Force made a motion for 6 specific recommendations, which were each voted on separately:
1. That effective for the bencher term beginning in 2019, Convocation approve that ex officio benchers who have served 16 years or more as an elected bencher (life benchers) have no rights or privileges in Convocation.
Approved by a vote of 29 to 27
2. That effective for the bencher term beginning in 2019, Convocation approve that ex officio benchers who are former Attorneys-General of Ontario have no rights or privileges in Convocation.
Approved by a vote of 38 to 4, with one abstention
3. That effective for the bencher term beginning in 2019, Convocation approve that ex officio Treasurers continue to have the right to participate in a debate in Convocation but not the right to vote.
Approved by a vote of 29 to 26, with one abstention
4. a) That Convocation approve that the offices of emeritus Treasurer be ended effective for the bencher term beginning in 2019.
Not approved by a vote of 40 to 16
b) That Convocation approve that the offices of emeritus bencher be ended effective for the bencher term beginning in 2019.
Approved by a vote of 32 to 24
5. That Convocation approve a reduction in the maximum term of service for elected lawyer and paralegal benchers (the term limit) to eight years, to be effective for the bencher election in 2023.
Not approved by a vote of 45 to 9, with one abstention
6. That Convocation adopt the Governance Policies and Practices incorporating the Bencher Code of Conduct and the Declaration of Adherence, set out at Tab 3.1.
The vote on this was tabled to allow further discussion (as most of the discussion was regarding the prior recommendations)
GOVERNANCE REFORMS - BACKGROUND
Over the summer of 2018, the LSO issued a "Call for Comment" paper regarding proposed changes to LSO Governance.
The Chair of the FOLA subcommittee tasked with providing comments to the LSO on its governance review consulted with FOLA membership in advance of our submission to the LSO on Governance Reforms.
The following key input was sought:
To view submissions from other law associations, please visit the Downloads section at the bottom.
If your Association made your own submission, please send it to Katie Robinette at email@example.com for posting here.
The Governance Task Force provided a report to Convocation outlining key findings and next steps under its the mandate of ensuring efficiency and effectiveness in Law Society governance as one of Convocation’s strategic priorities.
Convocation approved the Governance Task Force’s recommendation to change the Bencher election process, so there is a single election date for the lawyer and paralegal Bencher elections, starting on April 30, 2019.
The Governance Task Force proposed that Convocation consider a change to the bencher election process to hold the lawyer and paralegal Bencher elections on the same date.
The Governance Task Force was established by Convocation, at the request of the Treasurer, to review and make recommendations in regard to the Law Society's governance structure.
The work of the Governance Task Force 2016 supports Convocation's strategic priority to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of the Law Society's governance methods.
The next Law Society bencher election on April 30, 2019 marks the first time that lawyer and paralegal benchers will be elected simultaneously in Ontario.
As members of Convocation, benchers play a critical role in the governance of the Law Society and the regulation of Ontario’s legal professions in the public interest.
Lawyers and paralegals from all communities, practice and work areas, firm sizes and geographic locations throughout Ontario are encouraged to run in the bencher election.
Those interested in running need to submit nomination forms to the Law Society by 5:00 p.m. on February 8, 2019.
NOMINATION PACKAGE INCLUDE:
IMPORTANT DATES TO REMEMBER
Nominations open: October 15, 2018
Nominations Close: February 8, 2019
Information webcast: January 14, 2019 (TBC)
Voting opens: mid-April 2019
Voting closes: April 30, 2019
Questions regarding the election can be directed to the Office of the Elections Officer at 416-947-3404 or 1-877-947-3404 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.