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Payments to Teranet Manitoba LP (The Property Registry)

Before and After eRegistration: An Overview of Law Society Rules and Requirements

Does your firm make payments to Teranet Manitoba LP (more commonly known as The Property Registry)? If so, you likely have heard about the upcoming ability to register documents online – 'eRegistration'. You may also have heard that eRegistration can be completed with the electronic transfer of funds to Teranet. Knowing that Law Society Rules require that all withdrawals from the pooled trust account be by cheque (with limited exceptions), you may be wondering if you will be able to transfer trust funds electronically to Teranet to complete eRegistration.

The Financial Accountability Rules of the Law Society have recently been amended to accommodate electronic transfer of trust funds to Teranet. However, there are a number of specific requirements that must be met in order to do so, including opening an additional limited purposed pooled trust account, called a restricted trust account.

 

To better understand the Law Society rules and requirements for firms using eRegistration and electronic funds transfer, you can link to:

  1. a package of materials which contains both a high level overview as well as in-depth requirements, and
  2. Frequently Asked Questions

 

The new Rules allowing for the establishment and use of a restricted trust account do not change anything about the pooled trust account – any online access for the pooled trust account must still be on a "read only" basis, and as noted above, all withdrawals from the pooled trust account must be made by cheque, signed by a lawyer.

Under no circumstances should the authorization for electronic funds transfer of any kind be provided for the pooled trust account. Instead, it must only be for a restricted trust account or a general account. In addition, the new rules are not allowing electronic funds transfer of trust funds from the restricted trust account generally – only for the narrow purpose of transferring eRegistration funds to Teranet.

Should you decide to sign up for Teranet's new feature for Deposit Accounts called the "Top-Up", it must be funded from a general account only.

If you decide to open a new restricted trust account to accommodate electronic funds transfer of trust funds to Teranet, you must direct your savings institution to remit interest on the account to the Manitoba Law Foundation (Letter of Direction). A copy of this letter must be provided to the Society, as well as to the Foundation.  Note that Rule 5-45 requires notice to the Society of any new trust account within 30 days of opening. Such notice should be provided to the attention of the audit department.

We have been advised by Teranet that eRegistration will soon be available, and thereafter mandatory. Until then, you can refer to our currently applicable policies and procedures.

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