Model Code needs to keep up with changing times

  • March 19, 2019

Technology is changing the way we all conduct business. What is sometimes forgotten is that the rules governing that business need to change as well in order to keep up with technology.

The CBA’s Immigration Law Section makes that point in a recent letter to the Federation of Law Societies of Canada with regard to the Model Code of Professional Conduct and the rules governing the electronic registration of documents.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will soon have all of its application processes online, something the Section supports. “But to access these processes, support staff would need to use the account of a lawyer or other authorized representative under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act” to do routine procedures such as preparing forms or retrieving government communications since they’re not allowed to create their own accounts for the portal. The Model Code, developed with property registrations in mind, does not allow lawyers to share their personal access information.

The Immigration Law Section says it is concerned about the unintended consequences of the rules when applied to the immigration context, given the high volume of applications and communications that would have to pass through the online portal.

“These include the detrimental impact on the legal services delivery model in the affected law firm, and the cost and affordability of those services.”

If the relevant rules apply to all areas of practice, “the CBA Section asks that the Federation create an exemption for immigration law and consider whether these Rules have an adverse impact on lawyers in other areas of practice.”

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