Information for new licensees

New licensees and The Law Foundation of Ontario: what you need to know

Licensees have a legal obligation to report mixed trust accounts. This helps ensure that The Law Foundation of Ontario receives the interest on these accounts, which it uses to advance access to justice.

1. Legal duty to direct mixed trust account

When opening a mixed trust account, lawyers and paralegals must direct their financial institution to pay the interest to The Law Foundation of Ontario.

Lawyers and paralegals must report on each mixed trust account held at any time during the licensee’s reporting year in their Lawyer Annual Report or the Paralegal Annual Report filing through the Law Society of Ontario Portal.

Established by statute in 1974, The Law Foundation of Ontario is the sole foundation in Ontario with the mandate of increasing access to justice. The Foundation’s main source of revenue is interest received from lawyers’ and paralegals’ mixed trust accounts. This revenue goes to The Law Foundation of Ontario to make grants that advance access to justice including Legal Aid Ontario. The higher the interest rate a bank provides, the more dollars are available for the Foundation to make grants.

2. The interest on your mixed trust accounts at work

The Law Foundation of Ontario directs 75% of the interest it receives to Legal Aid Ontario to support critical legal services for low-income Ontarians. With the remaining monies, the Foundation makes grants to advance access to justice across Ontario. Some examples of the work funded by the interest on licensees’ mixed trust accounts include:

  • $2M annually to Ontario law schools to support, among other things, legal clinics that give law students the opportunity for hands-on learning while delivering needed services to community members
  • Funds to place articling students at nonprofit organizations across the province including the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, Amnesty International, and the Canadian Centre for International Justice
  • Community-based projects that expand access to legal information, training, pro bono services, and support collaborations to advance access to justice

Stay connected with the Foundation to learn about our work, opportunities to volunteer, and as one way to stay active in Ontario’s access to justice movement: