The Law Society of Ontario Coming to Play in the Regulatory Sandbox

  • February 27, 2022
  • Abby Benattar and Kristen Robertson, WeirFoulds LLP

Legal services are out of reach for many Canadians. Research shows that Canadians do not seek advice for more than 80% of their legal issues.[1] With the ever-present intersection between technology and legal services, and the goal of improving access to justice, the Law Society of Ontario (“LSO”) has joined legal regulators both throughout Canada and abroad in adopting its own “regulatory sandbox”.

The regulatory sandbox is a concept pioneered within the financial technologies sector that enables regulators to test the efficacy of new business models in a live environment. Without a sandbox in place, innovative businesses that operate in regulated industries and do not fit squarely into the existing regulatory framework might be subject to penalties. In Ontario, the hope is therefore for the LSO to maintain supervision over non-traditional legal service providers, such as those who implement AI solutions to deliver results, without imposing the repercussions that these businesses might otherwise incur. The outcome would be a market that welcomes new, accessible, and legitimate modes of service.