Ontario lawyers and paralegals: Are you getting ready for the upcoming 2023 Law Society of Ontario Bencher election?
Here’s a mini-guide on what the process involves, and what to expect. These key points cover three different categories:
- The Bencher election process, and
- Candidate Information: The Law Society of Ontario (LSO) will publish a Voting Guide to provide voters with information about each of the Bencher candidates who are running. Separate Voting Guides will be published for the lawyer candidates and the paralegal candidates.
- Lawyer Candidates – Regional Election Scheme: In total, there will be 40 lawyer Benchers elected (20 from inside Toronto, and 20 from outside). Of those, eight will be elected as regional Benchers, to align with the province’s eight electoral regions.
- Paralegal Candidates: Province-wide, there will also be five paralegal benchers elected.
The Election Process:
The conduct of the LSO Bencher election, and the tallying of results, is subject to various safeguards.
- Following the law: The 2023 Bencher election process must be conducted in accord with both the Law Society Act, and with the provisions of By-Law 3 which was made pursuant to that statute.
- Supervising the election: The LSO has hired Computershare, a third-party company, to conduct the election. Computershare will administer the polling process and tally the results. It will also resolve any pre-election issues, such as cases where eligible voters have not received their control number.
- Preserving voter anonymity: Computershare will randomly assign a unique personal voter identification number, called a control number, to every eligible voter to ensure voter anonymity.
- Confirming voter eligibility: Every individual who is either a lawyer-licensee or paralegal-licensee of the LSO – and whose licenses has not been suspended – is eligible to vote in the Bencher election.
- Getting credentials ready: During the third week of April 2023, the LSO will post detailed voting instructions and the control number for each eligible voter, on their individual Law Society Portal account.
- Casting votes: Eligible voters may cast their ballots either by telephone or online. Voting is made available in both French and English.
And voters, that’s the sum total of it! Lawyers and paralegals in Ontario — get ready to cast your ballots at the end of April, 2023!
I’m running as your bencher candidate. Vote for me because I will keep an eye on the balance sheet, moderate LSO regulations, and improve access to justice. Learn more at russellalexander.com/bencher2023