Overview of National PD

The CBA is a national Professional Development provider. Our audience includes CBA members, as well as non-members within the legal community and in related fields in Canada and abroad.


The CBA typically delivers 15-20 In-Person Conferences in the Spring and Fall, as well as approximately 40 live webinar programs. The PD Department added Online conferences/symposia in 2020 as an alternative to in person conferences.


The National PD Department considers and approves proposals for PD conferences submitted by National Sections and Committees. Those interested in developing a conference should be aware that it requires an active commitment of eight to twelve months. A motivated conference Chair and strong organizing committee, with time to dedicate to a project this size, are both essential to ensure success. Sections with well-established conferences generally try to include past Section conference organizers, at least one person who resides in the conference location, one of the Section officers and several more volunteers. At least one or two organizing committee members for every half day of PD programming would be ideal, to share the workload.

An online symposium involves a similar time commitment and can be delivered in one or two days or over multiple non-consecutive days. CBA PD staff is available to discuss which format works best for your Section.


Law Series webinars are delivered live online and accessed by participants through a web link. The programs cover substantive law and are interactive, allowing attendees to watch slide presentations, participate in polls, ask questions to the presenters and download supplementary materials.

Sections are encouraged to submit Law Series proposals covering matters of importance to Sections members and others involved in the Section’s practice area. Topics can include recent substantive and procedural law developments, practice management and risk management strategies, ‘hot’ legal topics, analysis of recent important decisions, or lawyers’ obligations under their respective law societies. The CBA PD Department gives preference to topics that are timely and national in scope.


Proposal forms must be submitted to the CBA PD Department for consideration. Deadlines for receipt of PD proposals are as follows:

  • In-Person Conferences and Online Symposia
    • Please advise the PD Department of your Section’s interest in hosting an in-person conference or online symposium in 2024 by October 31, 2023
  • Law Series Webinars
  • EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) Series Webinars



Who do you want to attract and why should they attend?


Law Series and EDI Series webinars are generally 90 minutes. Online symposia typically consist of three to five sessions and take place over one to three non-consecutive days. Typically, in-person programs range from a half day to a full week, although most conferences are 1 to 2 days long.


Due to holidays, CBA PD does not schedule programs between December 15 and January 10, or between June 30 and August 31. Major religious holidays should also be considered when scheduling programs.


Online webinars are hosted via the Zoom webinar platform. A link is emailed to participants with viewing instructions so that live webinars may be watched on participants’ personal electronic devices in the location of their choice.

In-person programs are held in large urban centres. With some exceptions, it can be difficult to attract delegates to more remote areas.


For online webinars, the CBA can accommodate a variety of delivery styles in order to best meet the needs of your program. Options include panel presentations, debates, fact situations and case studies and live polls.

For in-person events, we can accommodate a variety of delivery styles that best suit your program. Options include: panel presentations, debates, workshops, demonstrations, mock trials, fact situations and case studies.


The CBA is a bilingual organization. Online webinars are offered in the language of the presenters and as agreed upon with the Director of PD. Depending on available funding as well as audience needs, online webinars may be offered in both official languages with prior approval from the Director of PD. Program descriptions are either bilingual or advertised by language of instruction. Program descriptions are either bilingual or include a French summary.


Speaker selection for CBA National PD programs must be made in accordance with the CBA Policy on Speaker Selection. In selecting qualified speakers, consideration should be given to geographical representation, gender, language, race, ethnicity, cultural background, sexual orientation, and disability.


Program chair(s) and organizing committee members are responsible for the substantive content of the PD program, and with the selection of speakers.

The PD Manager and staff work with the program chair(s) to facilitate the development of the program and are responsible for logistical, contractual and financial arrangements. If approved, all PD programs must be developed under the auspices of the PD Department, in keeping with existing policies and procedures.


It is essential that all PD programs are posted far enough in advance of their scheduled dates to allow time for marketing and promotion. The following table lists the due dates for agendas, speakers and materials according to the type of program.

PD Type Title, Chairs, Description Agenda with Minimum 1 Speaker per session Confirmed Speakers Materials/Slides
In Person Conference 18 weeks prior 14 weeks prior 10 weeks prior 3 weeks prior
Online Symposium 18 weeks prior 14 weeks prior 10 weeks prior 3 weeks prior
Law Series & EDI Webinar** 8 weeks prior Description is usually enough 7–8 weeks prior 2 weeks prior
**Due dates may not apply where webinars are organized quickly in response to a recent development


Events offered by outside organizations will generally not be promoted to CBA members. Links to educational programs offered by ‘friendly organizations’ may be posted if, in the judgment of the PD Director, there is no conflict with CBA programming. Additional information is contained in the promotion of non-CBA events policy.

For additional information on CBA National PD programming, please contact: pd@cba.org.