Law Times

February 25, 2019

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LAW TIMES 2 COVERING ONTARIO'S LEGAL SCENE | FEBRUARY 25, 2019 much it's going to cost." Shea says that, although most of the spending in the law soci- ety's 2019 budget makes sense for a legal regulator, benchers in Convocation might have to make some tough choices. The law society's budget, which was announced as "ap- proved" by Convocation on Oct. 25, 2018, says it aims to demonstrate "fiscal restraint" and focus on "professional regu- lation, professional develop- ment and competence, policy development and facilitating access to justice." Shea pointed to some budget items that could potentially yield cost savings, such as a pub- lic awareness campaign that is budgeted to cost $600,000 in 2019 and will total $1.2 million if the law society does not consid- er further expenditures this fall. The budget for bencher honor- ariums and per diem payments, as well as expenses and func- tions, is set to rise by $370,000 to $3.2 million, according to the budget. "The budget needs to be re- viewed, and you need to consid- er what in the budget is essen- tial," says Shea. In Ontario, some lawyers working in education, legal clin- ics or government may only have to pay 50 per cent of the annual fee, the LSO's website says. There are 6,500 lawyers who are in the 50-per-cent category, according to the law society. A discount may also apply to lawyers on parental leave or not working, according to the LSO website. Lawyers who have practised in Ontario for 50 consecutive years are granted fee exemp- tions, and licensees who are incapacitated or are over age 65 can apply for fee exemption, the LSO's website says. LSO communications ad- visor Susan Tonkin said in an email that the law society's an- nual pre-authorized payment plan will provide a $50 discount, pro-rated by fee category. Tonkin says fees take into account law libraries and the money set aside for clients "who have lost money because of the dishonesty of a lawyer or para- legal." The budget is set "based on the funding needed for oper- ations in support of the law so- ciety's strategic priorities, core functions and the priorities of Convocation," says Tonkin. Billeh Hamud, a sole practi- tioner who runs his own prac- tice, Hamudlaw, in Toronto, says that, if he is elected bencher, he would like to see if some of the money from fees can be reallo- cated to better support lawyers, such as guidance and assistance for new lawyers that are starting out in the profession on how to run a business or financial aud- iting preparation. He also says that the Dis- crimination and Harassment Counsel Program could use more resources. "I would like to see more ha- rassment and discrimination counsels hired by the law soci- ety," Hamud says. Bencher candidate Michael Metzger, a sole practitioner based out of Fort Erie, Ont., says that, if he had stayed in New York State, where he worked until 2014, he would be pay- ing US$350 every two years to maintain his licence. He says paying the Ontario fees were eye-opening for him, and he hopes to do a top-to-bottom re- view of the budget if elected, to see how it is tailored to strategic priorities such as mental health and discrimination. "We have to take a good look at that and see where the resour- ces are being allocated. Are we getting value for our dollars? Frankly, are the people work- ing [on these issues] being sup- ported properly?" he says. Phil Pothen, a sole practition- er practising environmental law in Toronto, who is not running for bencher, says reducing the overhead costs of lawyers serv- ing under-represented groups could improve access to justice, while increasing fees for high earners could improve the law society's ability to provide ser- vices. "I think the general public can be forgiven for imagining that lawyers are uniformly aff luent, but the law society is certainly in a position to know better and that ought to be ref lected in the fee structure," says Pothen. "It's the kind of issue that a lawyer might not even want to talk about because you want to keep up appearances. . . . The progressive law society fee op- tion has not become as much of a bencher election issue as it could have been over the years because people are reluctant to admit [the $2,201 fee] is a big deal for them." LT NEWS Continued from page 1 Fees hit $2,201 in 2019 THE CANNABIS C C What are the implications of the Cannabis Act? 7JTJUUIFXFCTJUFUIBUQSPWJEFTSFMJBCMF OFXTBOBMZTJTFYQFSUTBOESFTPVSDFTGPS QSPGFTTJPOBMTMPPLJOHGPSBOTXFSTȋXIFUIFS UIFZȎSFEFBMJOHXJUIDBOOBCJTJOUIF XPSLQMBDFJOUFSQSFUJOHMFHJTMBUJPO NBOBHJOH."USBOTBDUJPOTPSOBJMJOHEPXO JOUFMMFDUVBMQSPQFSUZSJHIUT Untitled-2 1 2019-02-20 1:17 PM No breach of agreement found Continued from page 1 ONSC 572 revolved around the two purchasers, Sandra Ania and Timothy Sullivan, who entered an agreement of purchase and sale for a $444,900 yet-to-be built condo. The condo was expected to begin construction in Septem- ber 2016 with a move-in date of March 2019, and condos in the same development had hit the market in 2014, said the deci- sion, written by Katherine Swinton. As of the time of the decision, however, construction hadn't started, and the development will "never be proceeding as a condominium," wrote Swinton. Nonetheless, the builder contacted the purchasers in Janu- ary 2018 asking for "a binding and unconditional mortgage commitment," although the purchasers had already provid- ed a letter in October 2016 that showed they had been pre- approved for a mortgage of $355,920. This time, the builder rejected the information, "because it was a pre-approval from a mortgage broker, not the lend- er, and because the approval was subject to conditions," said Swinton in the ruling. The couple then provided a letter in February 2018 with a $169,900 mortgage commitment from CIBC that required a credit check and an"unconditional agreement to sell their cur- rent residence," Swinton added in the decision. That, too, was rejected by the vendor, the decision said. Then there was another $355,920 mortgage commitment by CIBC on March 14, 2018 that would not contain a condi- tion respecting the sale of their residence, a commitment that the builder also would not accept, according to the decision, because Ania's parents were added as co-signers. During a cross-examination, the builder and developer, Spice Danforth, revealed it "would no longer be proceeding with a condominium development, but had decided instead to build a rental development," wrote Swinton. Swinton decided that the couple had met their obliga- tion under the purchase agreement, and she ordered that the couple's deposit be returned. Swinton also ordered a trial to determine damages. The couple has a child, said the ruling, but the child was not a party to the suit. Monica Peters, an associate at Garfinkle Biderman who represented Spice Danforth, was not available to comment on the decision. LT Annual fees lawyers pay to LSO 1990/1991: $951 1994/1995: $1,432 2000: $1,390 2005: $1,441 2010: $1,736 2015: $1,866 2016: $1,866 2017: $1,916 2018: $2,183 Source: Law Society of Ontario

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