Client Identification and Vertification

Law firms across Canada have been directed to follow Client Identification and Verification Regulations.  In Nova Scotia, this regulation became effective on November 3rd, 2008.  Lawyers are required to know their clients, and in certain circumstances they are also required to verify the identity of their clients. The Federal Government is advancing legislation (Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act) which seeks to prevent money laundering in Canada.  The Client Identification and Verification Regulations were developed by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada as part of an ongoing effort to prevent money laundering. As such, the Client Identification and Verification Regulations places professional obligations onto lawyers to “know their clients”.

In order to meet these obligations, lawyers must ask specific questions from their clients when opening a file, such as their name, address, telephone number and occupation for an individual.  For a corporation, the information required is the business name, address, business telephone number, incorporation number, province of issue, general nature of the business, name and position of contact individual as well as a contact number for the individual. Certain transactions may require a lawyer to verify the identity of a client.  Verification transactions are often triggered by a cash transaction, such as transferring, paying or receiving funds.  Verifying involves getting supporting documentation to confirm the information provided is in fact correct.  This may be a driver’s licence, a passport, a birth certificate or some other form of identification.  This step will apply to existing clients while opening a new matter and new clients alike.

We ask your cooperation and understanding when asked those few extra questions or when asked if you could provide documentation to confirm the information you have provided us.

For your convenience, we provide a copy of the ID & Verification form here so that you may review it in advance of your first meeting with us. We do not require that you fill it out the form or bring it with you, but you may certainly do so if you wish.  We would be happy to provide you with a form and assist you with its completion when you arrive in our offices.

Download ID & Verification Form