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Home News Convocation approves continuation of online licensing examinations for the professions

Convocation approves continuation of online licensing examinations for the professions

February 25, 2021

At its February meeting, Convocation approved a plan to continue offering four-hour online licensing examinations until the end of the 2023-24 licensing cycle. This decision ensures stability in the licensing process and will allow the Law Society to thoroughly assess the effectiveness of the online delivery model.

Every year, the Law Society of Ontario (LSO) administers between 7,500 and 8,000 licensing examinations to lawyer and paralegal candidates. As the coronavirus pandemic upended work, businesses, education and home life across the globe in 2020, the LSO had a critical decision to make. It could cease its in-person licensing examinations indefinitely until public health conditions improved, or it could pivot into uncharted territory. The LSO decided to move ahead.

Over a nine-week period in the spring of 2020, the LSO contracted new providers, assessed and revised its processes and procedures, and communicated with stakeholders as the licensing examinations were transitioned from a traditional, in-person, paper-based model to an online, remote-proctored delivery model.

Between early May and December 31, 2020, the LSO successfully delivered over 6,500 individual online paralegal and lawyer licensing examinations that would have not been possible otherwise during the pandemic.

As each series of examinations were completed, the LSO continued the conversation about the online delivery model with candidates, employees, stakeholders and its service providers. The Law Society reviewed examination administration, security, proctoring, testing infrastructure and requirements, the candidate experience, the ability to implement Human Rights Code-based accommodations, examination outcomes and the resources required to offer online examinations so that processes and procedures could be adapted and improved. The conclusion – while challenges were encountered along the way, the LSO’s effort to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the licensing process has been a success. 

As it moves forward, the LSO will continue to evaluate the model, work with its providers to evolve the online platform and report on outcomes. Aided by clear strategic direction and having been immersed in the operations of online delivery over the last eight months, the LSO is resolute on setting a new foundation for modernizing its licensing activities, which assess entry-level competence which is in the public interest.

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