March 24, 2022
Trust Account Fraud Update
Lawyers in all areas of practice continue to be a target for fraudsters. Although fraud cannot be fully prevented, certain steps can be taken to minimize risk and loss. As we wrap up March, which is Fraud Prevention Month, we encourage lawyers to be aware of any fraudulent activity and pay close attention to their bank accounts, records, communication platforms and system security.

The charts below represent a summary of fraudulent activity reported to the Trust Safety Department from Jan. 2021 – Dec. 2021. The total amount of reported fraud loss is $1 million.
Changes to Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation’s (CDIC) Reporting Rules for Trust Accounts effective April 30, 2022
The Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) is a Canadian federal Crown corporation created by Parliament in 1967 to contribute to the stability of the financial system through orderly resolution of deposit insurance. It insures eligible Canadian deposits held in Canadian banks up to C$100,000 in case of a member institution (MI) failure. Not all financial institutions are CDIC insured. A list of CDIC members is available on their website.

The CDIC requires MIs to obtain and disclose information on accounts eligible for deposit insurance on an annual basis, including accounts held by trustees. This information is used to calculate deposit insurance coverage so that funds held in trust for beneficiaries receive optimal deposit insurance protection.

New process effective April 30, 2022

As of April 30, 2022, CDIC is introducing new disclosure requirements for deposits held in trust following amendments to the federal CDIC Act. The new rules create a special category of Professional Trustees, which includes legal professionals, who have unique disclosure requirements.

The new rules require law firms or legal professionals who hold funds in trust to designate those accounts as Professional Trustee Accounts (PTAs) with their financial institutions that are insured by CDIC. Rather than making an annual disclosure of the identities of the beneficiaries of trust accounts, law firms and legal professionals must attest annually to their financial institution that they qualify as a Professional Trustee under the CDIC Act and indicate which accounts are PTAs. Law firms and legal professionals will be asked to provide information identifying beneficiaries only in the event of the failure of a financial institution. CDIC will no longer accept alphanumeric IDs in lieu of information identifying clients as beneficiaries; therefore, prior to making such a disclosure, the law firm or legal professional must obtain the consent of their client(s) to protect solicitor-client privilege.

Read more about the change in rules on our website.
Alberta Courts’ Restorative Justice Pilot Project Symposium
The Honourable Beverley Browne – Wîyasôw Iskweêw – Restorative Justice Committee is holding a symposium on Thursday, March 31 commencing at 4 p.m. in the Indigenous Court in Calgary.

The symposium brings together representatives of Alberta’s Court of Queen’s Bench, the Provincial Court of Alberta, Indigenous communities, Crown and Defence counsel, and members of community organizations to discuss the launch of the criminal restorative justice pilot project.

At the symposium, the Chiefs of all Alberta Courts, Federal and Provincial Ministers of Justice, Co-chairs Queen’s Bench Justice Anna Loparco and Provincial Court Judge Michelle Christopher, and a panel of guest speakers will discuss how the pilot project aligns with the TRC Calls to Action and recognizes alternative pathways to justice.

Restorative justice referrals will be considered in cases in which:
  • The offender acknowledges responsibility;
  • The facts of the offence are agreed upon by all; and
  • There is voluntary, informed consent by all participating parties.

As part of this pilot project, the Committee will publish the prosecution guidelines for referrals and maintain a roster of Restorative Justice service providers that will allow parties to determine appropriate service providers given the circumstances of each case and the parties involved.

Please visit the project website for complete information on the symposium and on the Honourable Beverley Browne – Wîyasôw Iskweêw – Restorative Justice Pilot Project.

This event is free and open to all members of the bar and public. Register here via Eventbrite.
Court Announcements
Court of Queen's Bench

On March 15, 2022, there was an initial beta release of the Court Case Management (CCM) online digital service, a service of the Government of Alberta’s Justice Digital initiative. Read more.

The Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta is engaged in a project to consolidate and clarify its processes as set out in its practice notes, notices to profession and public and announcements.

As a first step in this project, effective April 14, 2022, Court of Queen’s Bench Civil Practice Notes 1 and 2 will be consolidated into a new Civil Practice Note 1: Justice and Masters’ Chambers. Civil Practice Notes 3 and 6 will be consolidated into a new Civil Practice Note 3: Class Proceedings.

The new Civil Practice Notes 1 and 3 have been posted to the Court’s website here.
Upcoming Events
Visit the Upcoming Events page for a full list of events.