Remote Client Identification and Verification Update

March 27, 2024

In summer 2023, the Law Society extended the temporary exemption from the requirement under Rule 119.50(6)(a)(i) to be in their client’s physical presence when using the government-issued photo ID method. Alternative means, such as verification by videoconference, were permitted.

The extension of the temporary exemption was to give lawyers more time to find new methods of client identification and verification as well as to provide the Law Society with time to work on amending the rules and guidance regarding client verification and authentication to better align with the new guidance from the Federation of Law Societies of Canada regarding document authentication.

The Law Society is progressing its work on the Rule amendments and we anticipate that the temporary exemption will end sometime in the fall or by the end of 2024. We understand that lawyers require time to find new ways to verify a client and we will give adequate notice prior to lifting the temporary exemption.

With this temporary exemption remaining in place for the time being, lawyers who do not use the credit file or dual-process methods have three different ways to verify a client using the government-issued photo ID method:

  • In-person (when the individual is physically present): You or your agent may view the original document in the presence of the individual to ensure that their name and photograph match.
  • Virtual (via videoconference): Using a video conference application on your computer (Zoom, Teams or other similar platform), you or your agent may participate in a live video call with the individual and compare the name and features in the video feed with those on the government issued identity document.
  • Virtual (via technology platform): You or your or agent may virtually verify a client’s identity using one of the products for client identification and verification approved by the Law Society’s Innovation Sandbox.

See the FAQ for more information on obligations applicable to remote legal services. Please contact Customer Service for any other questions.