Starting January 1, 2024, lawyers and paralegals will be required by the Law Society of Ontario to verify the identity of clients using one of the following methods:
- Virtual identity verification with authentication
- Credit file method
- Dual process method
1. Virtual identity verification with authentication
According to the Law Society, “licensees may assess the authenticity of the government-issued photo identification document by:
- Asking the individual to scan their government-issued photo identification document using the camera on their mobile phone or electronic device, and
- Using technology to compare the features of the government-issued photo identification document against
- known characteristics (e.g., size, texture, character spacing, raised lettering, format, design)
- security features (e.g., holograms, barcodes, magnetic strips, watermarks, embedded electronic chips), or
- markers (e.g., logos, symbols).”
Licensees can use the eID-Me identity verification service to automatically perform this entire process.
2. Credit file method
Licensees can use this method by matching the name, address, and date of birth provided by a client with the information in that client’s Canadian credit file, which must have existed for at least three years.
3. Dual process method
Licensees can use this method by reviewing “any two of the following pieces of information:
- Information from a reliable source that contains the individual’s name and address;
- Information from a reliable source that contains the individual’s name and date of birth; and/or
- Information containing the individual’s name that confirms that they have a deposit account or credit card or other loan amount with a financial institution” (Law Society of Ontario).
Licensees may use an agent on their behalf to verify the identity of a client under certain conditions.