March 19, 2020
Update from Alberta Land Titles
Due to COVID-19 concerns, the Land Titles Offices in Calgary and Edmonton have closed in-person counter services. Land Titles business in all other respects, including SPIN2, continues to operate as usual.  
Alberta Land Titles would like to assure you that they will do everything possible to maintain an acceptable level of service and thank you for your cooperation.
Questions can be directed to Land Titles Offices at:
  • Calgary Phone: 403.297.6511
  • Edmonton Phone: 780.427.2742
  • Email:

Land Titles Document Drop Off and Pick Up Procedure Change

In order to reduce exposure risk resulting from the spread of COVID-19, and to help ensure the health and protection of their clients and colleagues, Land Titles and Surveys Branch has modified document drop off and pick up processes. These measures only impact physical delivery of packages. Normal services for examination, SPIN2 and phone support continue to operate as usual.  

Changes to delivering documents to Land Titles Offices effective immediately:
  • Documents submitted to Land Titles Offices are to be placed in the after-hours drop box. Land Titles staff will retrieve documents regularly throughout the day and will handle all time dependent documents as per usual procedures.

Changes to document pick-up call boxes at Land Titles Offices effective immediately:
  • There is no change in process for clients who currently have a call box. Access is available as usual during office hours (8:15 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.).  
  • There are limited call boxes available in Edmonton and Calgary for those who wish to obtain one. Account holders who wish to obtain a call box must contact 780-422-4612. Requests will be fulfilled on a first come, first served basis.
  • In Edmonton, all requests where the return instruction selected is ‘pick-up’, packages will be mailed out to the address provided on the Document Registration Request (DRR)
  • In Calgary, all requests where the return instruction selected is ‘pick-up’, packages will be mailed out to the address provided on the Document Registration Request (DRR) and can still be picked up in a new self-serve location in the building. Signage will be posted to direct couriers or firms to the new location.
  • All documents currently in the pick-up location in Edmonton will be mailed out to the address provided.
COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
The Law Society has developed guidance for lawyers to support them in the delivery of legal services in the COVID-19 pandemic. This is an unprecedented situation, and flexibility and diligence is required to ensure continuity of essential legal services without risk to public health. Public health agencies have made numerous recommendations to reduce the risk of transmission, including social distancing and self-isolation.

For lawyers, many legislative requirements and risk management measures require in-person contact with clients and others. The Law Society is not able to relax the rules which require in-person execution of testamentary documents, transfers of title, and sworn affidavits because these are rules created by statute. This means that only the Government can change these rules via statutory amendment. The Law Society will be speaking to Government about this in the hopes of getting ‘urgent’ statutory amendments made. We will keep the profession updated as that conversation evolves. In the meantime, the Law Society is looking for ways it can assist lawyers during this health crisis. An example of this is that the Law Society is temporarily permitting lawyers to complete client verification using non-face-to-face methods. These issues, and more, are addressed in our FAQ .

We will continue to update this FAQ as the situation continues to evolve and as the Law Society makes more decisions about the short and long term impacts of COVID-19 on our work. Check back frequently for updates. 

The FAQ covers questions including:
  • Can a lawyer use a virtual means of identifying or verifying the identity of a client, such as video conferencing or telephone? 
  • Can a lawyer commission or notarize a sworn document over video?
  • Can electronic signatures be used to execute documents? 
  • How can lawyers communicate with clients while using social distancing to reduce the risk of transmission?
  • How may lawyers authorize transfers from a trust account?
  • What should lawyers do to prepare for practice interruptions associated with COVID-19? 
  • If lawyers are concerned about their professional liability, who should they contact?
  • What supports are available to assist with understanding my obligations in the context of COVID-19? 
Articling Students Working Remotely
Articling students can work remotely as long as they are still being supervised. Supervision of an articling student who is working remotely could take the form of daily telephone calls to check-in, videoconferencing, increased email communication, use of SharePoint sites to review work product, etc.

There should be a plan between the student and principal about how to communicate should the student need help and they are not in the office. Consider having backup contact information for another active lawyer that a student can reach out to for assistance in the event a principal becomes ill or is not available. As long as supervision occurs (remote or otherwise,) the student would still be considered to be articling.
For those sent home who will not be supervised, this could be a break in the articling term - a leave of absence. You will need to advise the Law Society if you have a break in your articles. Students will still be expected to meet the requirements of 12 months of articling plus complete the PREP Program.

If a principal gives a student time off for vacation or medical leave in the normal course of their employment (i.e. not months, but perhaps a few weeks), then this may not impact their articling term. For example, some firms routinely give all employees two weeks holidays and we have not considered this to impact the 12 months of articling time. We rely on the principal to confirm the articling term has been met. 
Update from Assist: Here To Help You
We are in an unprecedented situation as COVID-19 rolls through Alberta. Many lawyers and articling students are working from home and the law schools are delivering classes online. We are worrying about the health of our loved ones, our financial situations and whether we will go stir-crazy social-isolating for at least another month.

Uncertainty can cause stress, anxiety and depression. Don’t feel shame if this what you are experiencing—this is normal in a state of emergency and disruption. And you are not alone. You have friends and colleagues across the province who are experiencing this as well.

Assist’s confidential professional psychological counselling services are available, through therapists who are using social distancing principles or via Skype or telephone. Please call 1.877.498.6898 for more information or to book an appointment.

Crisis counselling continues to be available 24/7 at 1.888.498.6898 (just follow the prompts).

Assist is hearing from lawyers who are feeling alone while trying to keep their practices afloat. Remember that Assist also offers Peer Support—they will connect you with one of their trained lawyer volunteers for personal support by calling 1.877.737.5508. 

Assist will be live streaming Assist Yoga online on Wednesdays at noon and are looking into platforms for drop-in online Red Mug Coffee Circles. And if you just want someone to chat with, please call Eileen, Assist’s Program Coordinator, at 403.571.1063 or Loraine, Assist’s Executive Director, at 403.571.1066. 

Assist has resources about coping with COVID-19 on their website and will be adding to this collection as new information and materials become available.

Please follow Assist on social media or visit their website to see how they are creating connections for lawyers during this time. Assist is planning a webinar series with the Chartered Professional Accountants Assist Program. Topics will include Stress and Anxiety During the COVID-19 Crisis and Keeping Your Sanity While Working From Home. Stay tuned for more details.

Would you like to receive direct emails from Assist about their programs? Connect with Assist .