The Law Society of Upper Canada wants input from paralegals on proposed changes to the Annual General Meeting. Proposals include ending the ability for members to make motions from the floor.
At Convocation in May, Treasurer Tom Conway announced that he was referring issues related to the AGM to a working group of the Priority Planning Committee. The Governance Issues Working Group report to October Convocation, Oct. 24, makes seven recommendations:
- Ending Motions at the AGM
- Creating a Forum for Dialogue
- Webcasting the AGM
- Remote Participation in the AGM by Electronic Means
- Treasurer’s Remarks on Key Law Society Initiatives/Reports
- Inviting a Prominent Guest Speaker to Address the AGM
- Rotating the Place of the AGM
The report notes the historic role of from-the-floor motions as a “means to bring to the Law Society’s attention issues relating to the work of the Law Society, and not have any immediate consequence.” Motions passed at an AGM must be considered by Convocation within six months.
These motions are not binding on Convocation. AGM motions offer a “limited and awkward way for the Law Society to engage with its members,” the report states. “In addition, the non-binding nature of a successful motion does not appear to be a well-known fact even among those who move a motion. This can be frustrating for those who are seeking to lead a change in Convocation policy through this vehicle.”
Advances in the frequency and means of engaging with members have added to the clumsiness of AGM motions as a means to bring matters to the Law Society’s attention, the report suggests. “The use of motions at the AGM no longer appears to be necessary either as part of the Law Society’s outreach efforts, or as part of its accountability structure.”
The working group report notes that there is a sense is that the AGM should evolve to be a forum that more effectively serves a number of purposes: communication with members, discussion regarding Law Society business, and education.
The AGM on May 8 proved to be contentious. A motion was to be presented from the floor, calling for the Law Society to investigate the possibility of expanding the Paralegal Scope of Practice. The motion was withdrawn before the meeting, but a heated discussion ensued nonetheless.
The Treasurer wants to have input from licensees and organizations, on the options being considered. Individuals and organizations have until Dec. 16 to make a submission to:
Governance Issues Working Group
Law Society of Upper Canada
130 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON M5H 2N6
Back to SCOPE Home Page