ESC’s “Know Your Client” Guidelines for Lawyers

In an attempt to prevent money laundering activities by law firms’ clients, the New Client Identity & Verification Requirements under By-Law 7.1 introduced by The Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) require all lawyers and paralegals to verify the identify of clients (and any 3rd party beneficiary or principal for whom the client acts or represents), whenever they are being retained for legal services.

Complete By-Law details are available at

What You Need to Know:

If the client is an individual, the lawyer will have to collect, document and retain the person’s full name, business address and phone number, home address and phone number, and their occupation. In order to verify the client’s identity, the lawyer is required to review and obtain copies of two of an original government-issued document that can include any of the following:

  • Driver’s license
  • Birth certificate
  • Provincial health card (where permitted for identification purposes)
  • Passport
  • Other similar record

Where the client is an organization (e.g., corporation, partnership or trust), the lawyer is required to obtain and keep a record of the organization’s full name, business address and phone number, the organization’s incorporation or business identification number and the place of it’s issue, as well as the general nature of the business. They must also document the name, position and contact information of all individuals authorized to provide instructions on behalf of the organization. In order to verify the identity of the organization, the lawyer must obtain and review a written confirmation from a government registry as to the existence, name and address of the organization including the names of the directors or officers. Documents that meet the requirement include:

  • Corporate Profile Report
  • Corporate file search
  • Certificate of Corporate Status
  • Annual filings of the organization
  • Partnership or trust agreement
  • Articles of Association
  • Business Names Report

We recommend ordering a Corporation Profile Report and Certificate of Status for corporate identification purposes and a Business Name Report for business registrations. Note that these are merely suggestions and additional information may be required in order to fully satisfy the regulation requirements. 

ESC Corporate Services can help you get identification verification information in one of the following ways:

  1. Order your searches using our self-service offering from our evolving site at
  2. Let our expert staff help provide the documentation you need by submitting our Corporate Securities Search Order Form or contact us by phone, fax or email.  

Either way, we’ll do our best to help you get the information you need to fulfill these new requirements in a time efficient and cost effective manner.

For more information, contact us at or 1-800-668-8208 (416-595-7177).


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