Regulatory Sandbox Pilot Program

The Law Society is accepting Sandbox proposals from interested individuals, businesses and organizations, including lawyers and law firms.

The objective of our Sandbox initiative is to improve access to justice by improving access to legal advice and assistance. Individuals, business and organizations with an interest in providing legal services that assist those with unmet legal needs or otherwise improve access to justice/legal services are encouraged to apply.

About the Pilot Program

The Law Society’s regulatory sandbox will provide a structured environment that permits individuals who are not lawyers and organizations that are not law firms to pilot their proposals for providing effective legal advice and assistance. It will also permit lawyers and law firms to pilot proposals for the delivery of legal services in innovative ways to improve access to those services.

Who Should Apply – The goal of the regulatory sandbox is to provide new pathways for the delivery of effective legal services whether through individuals who are not lawyers and organizations that are not law firms or through lawyers and law firms. This initiative is open to any type of legal service provider – persons who are not lawyers, businesses, not-for-profit organizations, lawyers and law firms. The project is designed for any providers who are seeking to deliver legal services to consumers in new ways for the purpose of addressing the public’s unmet legal needs and improving access to legal services.

If you have an idea to improve access, we encourage you to apply.

Submitting A Proposal

In your proposal please provide as much details as you can about the service you intend to provide. You will be asked to tell us:

  • the services that you are proposing to pilot;
  • who you expect to be your clients;
  • how your services will increase/improve access to justice;
  • who will be part of the pilot and their relevant credentials, education and training; and
  • what risks to the public, if any, are associated with the services or business model you propose to offer.

This information will help the Law Society of Manitoba evaluate your application. No single question or answer is intended to be qualifying or disqualifying. They all provide context to help the Law Society better understand your service.

Approval &  Conditions

If a proposal is accepted, the successful applicant will be provided with an approval letter setting out conditions as may be appropriate. Successful applicants will be given the opportunity to demonstrate that their proposal effectively meets the needs of Manitoba citizens in the areas of legal advice and assistance covered in the proposal. Individuals, businesses and organizations that do not effectively deliver on their proposals or comply with conditions imposed may be removed from the regulatory sandbox.

Background Information

Over the past number of years, several studies have been conducted relating to the unmet legal needs of Canadians. It is well-established that many people get no legal help to address everyday legal problems. Some people earn too much money to qualify for Legal Aid but not enough to afford the legal services necessary to address legal matters.

In 2021, Statistics Canada conducted the Canadian Legal Problems Survey to identify the kinds of serious legal problems people face, how they attempted to resolve them, and how these experiences have impacted their lives. Some of the reported results include:

Canadians reported experiencing one or more problems in the previous three years

Stating that these problems were serious or not easy to fix.

Canadians took action to resolve their most serious legal problems

The most commonly reported actions taken were

  • searching the internet
  • obtaining advice from friends or relatives
  • contacting the other party involved in the dispute.

One-third of affected Canadians contacted a legal professional to help address and resolve their problems. Of those who did not take any action to resolve their most serious problem, more than 50% said that they did not think anything could be done about the problem. Other commonly reported reasons:

  • they thought it would make the problem worse
  • they did not know what to do or where to get help
  • they thought the process would be too stressful

The majority of serious problems remained unresolved at the time of the survey.

Currently, legal advice and assistance in Manitoba is provided generally by more than 2,200 practising lawyers. However, for a variety of reasons lawyers are unable to address all legal needs.

In order to expand the ability of Manitoba citizens to obtain legal advice and assistance, the Law Society has created a regulatory sandbox. The sandbox will enable individuals, businesses or organizations that are currently not authorized to practise law to provide specific services that address an unmet need for legal advice and assistance within a structured environment. The regulatory sandbox is intended to provide Manitobans with additional options to receive legal information and legal services in a manner that minimizes the risks associated with providing those services.

Contact

If you have further questions, please contact Darcia Senft by phone at (204) 926-2023 or by email at dsenft@lawsociety.mb.ca