LSO Governance



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: 

  • 2/3 of respondents agreed that convocation should be reduced by elimination of ex officio benchers. 
  • Majority agreed that term limits should be reduced.
  • Goals: Focused oversight. Timely decision making. Focus on long term goals. Flexible and able to address risks. Ensuring diversity on board, fostering inclusion. Ensuring those with a vote effectively participate. 
  • Need to continue to modifying convocation after this report is done – to reduce size, modify treasurer’s term and names of board and positions. 

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)

Click here to view all submissions.


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:

  1. Comments on the size of convocation and the ratios of lawyers to paralegals to appointees ( be they government or proposed LSO appointees);
  2. Comments on changes to the sitting term of the Treasurer and Benchers;
  3. Comments on nomenclature currently in use.

FOLA's submission to the LSO.

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 for posting here.  


February 2018

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.

Report to Convocation – February 2018

May 2017

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.

Report to Convocation - May 2017

February 2017

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.

Report to Convocation – February 2017

September 2016

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.

Report to Convocation - Sept. 2016 - Terms of RefereG

2019 Bencher Elections

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.



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


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