The new client identification and verification requirements of the provincial Law Societies in Canada came into force on December 31, 2008.
As a result of these “Know Your Client” rules, all lawyers are required to obtain certain information concerning the identity of our clients (including long-standing clients) and verify this information in circumstances where we will be handling funds on behalf of a client.
For clients who are individuals, we will require your full name, home and business address, phone number and occupation.
For clients which are organizations, we will require the organization's full name, business address and phone number; name, position and contact information for the individual authorized to instruct us; incorporation or business identification number; and description of the organization's business activities. Certain exemptions exist for organizations such as financial institutions, public bodies and reporting issuers.
Unless exempted, we must verify the client identification information when we are involved in receiving, paying or transferring funds on behalf of a client. Exemptions include:
• where the client is a financial institution, public body or reporting issuer;
• where funds are received, paid or transferred by electronic funds transfer; and
• where funds are paid by or to a financial institution, public body or reporting issuer.
If verification of identification information is required, we may need to collect and retain copies of government-issued identification documents.