Ontario Securities Commission Litigation Assistance Program
Information Sheet for Unrepresented Respondents
What is the Litigation Assistance Program?
The Litigation Assistance Program (“LAP”) is designed to provide duty counsel services to unrepresented respondents involved in enforcement proceedings before the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC”). A lawyer on an initial list of ten volunteer lawyers (the “Volunteer Roster”) may be available to assist you if you are an unrepresented Respondent to such proceedings.
Who is Eligible?
Any interested unrepresented Respondent to an administrative / regulatory enforcement proceeding before the OSC is eligible to apply for assistance under the LAP. As described below, there is no guarantee that you will receive assistance, even if you are eligible to apply.
At this time, the LAP does not provide assistance to persons facing quasi-criminal proceedings commenced by the OSC before the Ontario Court of Justice.
What Can Lawyers on the Volunteer Roster Help You With?
At this time, lawyers on the Volunteer Roster can provide only limited assistance to you. In particular, they can only provide you with assistance in respect of one or more of the following stages of your matter:
- a pre-hearing conference;
- a settlement conference and/or hearing;
- a sanctions and costs hearing; and/or
- on an exceptional basis, motions.
Lawyers on the Volunteer Roster will not provide you with assistance, legal advice or representation with respect to any other part of your case before the OSC, including the hearing on the merits of your matter itself. They also will not provide you with assistance, legal advice or representation with respect to any other legal matter.
What Happens if No Volunteer Counsel is Available to Assist You?
There is a limited number of lawyers on the Volunteer Roster. The OSC is not obliged to provide you with a lawyer. The OSC LAP is also not obliged to provide you with a volunteer lawyer. It is expected that the number of applicants will far exceed the number of people who will receive assistance.
A lawyer on the Volunteer Roster may not be available to assist you, and/or may have a conflict of interest that prevents them from being able to assist you. If there is no lawyer on the Volunteer Roster who is able to assist you, you will be required to continue with your case before the OSC either without representation, or with a lawyer or paralegal you identify, retain and fund yourself.
Who Pays for the Volunteer Counsel?
Lawyers on the Volunteer Roster provide assistance under the LAP free of charge. However, any disbursements (for example, photocopy charges or charges relating to document management) will be paid for by you.
Are the Lawyers on the Volunteer Roster Independent of the OSC and Staff?
Who Gives Instructions to the Lawyers on the Volunteer Roster?
If you are assigned a lawyer on the Volunteer Roster, they will only accept instructions from you unless you provide them with written permission to accept instructions from someone other than you.
Can a Lawyer on the Volunteer Roster Tell Anyone Else Something That a Client Told Them?
A Volunteer Lawyer may not tell anyone else outside of their firm, or a mentor assigned to them to help them assist you, anything that you tell them about your case unless you give them permission to do so. The lawyer’s firm and / or mentor are also bound in the same way.
How Does an Unrepresented Respondent Apply for Assistance?
Complete a LAP Application Form and agree to the Terms and Conditions it sets out. These forms are available online (www.osc.gov.on.ca). Give a copy of your signed and completed application form to The Secretary’s Office.
If a lawyer on the Volunteer Roster is available to assist you, you will be contacted directly by that counsel within ten (10) days.
If you have additional questions, please contact The Secretary’s Office by sending an email to LAP@osc.gov.on.ca.