March 17, 2020
Law Society, ALIA & CPLED Offices Closed Until March 30 
As information continues to come from the Federal and Provincial governments, Alberta Health Services and the City of Calgary on a daily, if not hourly basis, we are committed to making the best decisions possible with the information we have at the time.

In response to the City of Calgary’s declaration of a state of emergency, the Law Society of Alberta, Alberta Lawyers Indemnity Association (ALIA) and Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education (CPLED) are closing our offices until March 30, 2020. We will re-evaluate the office closure at that point as further information is provided from government and health agencies as well as the City of Calgary.

Our staff will be working remotely to ensure that we continue to address any urgent needs.

We will post any further updates to our website as needed.
Anti-Money Laundering Client Identification and Verification – Guidance to the Profession
Due to the recent outbreak of COVID-19, the Law Society understands that members may face challenges in meeting their obligations under the anti-money laundering and terrorist financing rulesWhile we continue to expect that members will do everything possible to meet all of their obligations, we recognize that it may be challenging to verify a client’s identity where the member and their client are unable to meet in person.

The rules permit members to verify a client’s identity by two methods that do not require meeting face-to-face with the client – the dual process method or using information in a client’s credit file.

In addition, members should consider whether they may be able to rely upon the previous verification by another person (for example, a real estate agent) as permitted under the rules.

If, however, a member is unable to avail themselves of any other method, in these unique circumstances and as a last resort, the Law Society will take a reasonable approach in its compliance activity if the member were to conduct the verification of the client’s identity by using video conference technology, provided that:

  • The member can be reasonably satisfied that the government issued identification is valid and current;
  • The member can compare the image in the government issued identification with the client to be reasonably satisfied that it is the same person;
  • The member records, with the applicable date, the method by which the member verified the client’s identification;
  • The member treats the transaction as a high risk transaction and continues to monitor the business relationship as a high risk transaction; and,
  • The member documents the efforts that were made to verify the client’s identity in accordance with the existing rules and the reasons why the member was unable to verify the client’s identity in accordance with the existing rules.

Members are reminded that fraudsters look to take advantage of unusual circumstances such as are being addressed here, and therefore, if a transaction presents too much of a risk, members should decline to act.
COVID-19 Update: Pandemic Planning for the Scheduling of Matters in The Provincial Court 
Alberta Health Services has recommended that measures be taken to reduce the amount of time individuals spend in large crowds or in crowded spaces to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in the community. 

To protect the health and safety of all court users while ensuring respect for the legal rights of accused persons and civil litigants, the Provincial Court of Alberta is limiting all regular operations, effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020, until further notice.

The court will post further information as it becomes available, so please continue to check the Provincial Court website for updates.