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Paralegal Regulation Resources


On May 1st, 2007, the Law Society of Ontario became responsible for regulating the paralegal profession as a result of amendments to the Law Society Act brought about by Bill 14.

The regulatory framework for the profession was successfully established by the 13-member Paralegal Standing Committee, which is made up of five paralegals and eight members of the Law Society's governing board, known as Convocation. Five paralegals were elected to the Committee in a province-wide election in March 2010.

The Committee initiated and instituted the Paralegal Rules of Conduct, as well as a set of criteria and an application process for paralegals already in practice, and for students already studying legal services. The Law Society issued the first paralegal licences in early 2008 to approved applicants who passed the licensing examination.

Anyone in Ontario providing legal services requires a licence, unless the group or individual is not captured by the Law Society Act,or is exempt by a Law Society by-law. The Law Society Act enables the Law Society to make exemptions through by-laws.

Legislation passed by the Government of Ontario, (primarily the Law Society Act and Regulations made under the act) authorize the Law Society to educate and license Ontario's paralegals and regulate their conduct.

Law Society by-laws and Paralegal Rules of Conduct - both based in the Law Society Act - set out professional and ethical obligations. Paralegals failing to meet these obligations are subject to the Society's complaints process.

If you have questions about paralegal regulation, please contact the Law Society at (416) 947-3315, or 1-800-668-7380, or send an e-mail to lawsociety@lso.ca

The Law Society governs legal service providers in the public interest by ensuring that the people of Ontario are served by lawyers and paralegals who meet high standards of learning, competence and professional conduct.


Exemptions

Anyone in Ontario providing legal services requires a licence, unless the person is excluded from regulation under the Law Society Act or a Law Society by-law, or is exempted from licensing requirements under a Law Society by-law. The Law Society Act enables the Law Society to exclude and exempt categories of persons through its by-laws.

Persons excluded from regulation under the Law Society Act (who do not require a licence)

  • A person who is acting in the normal course of carrying on a profession or occupation governed by another Act of the Legislature, or an Act of Parliament, that regulates specifically the activities of persons engaged in that profession or occupation.
  • An employee or officer of a corporation who selects, drafts, completes or revises a document for the use of the corporation or to which the corporation is a party.
  • An individual who is acting on his or her own behalf, whether in relation to a document, a proceeding or otherwise.
  • An employee or a volunteer representative of a trade union who is acting on behalf of the union or a member of the union in connection with a grievance, a labour negotiation, an arbitration proceeding or a proceeding before an administrative tribunal.
  • A person or a member of a class of persons prescribed by the by-laws, in the circumstances prescribed by the by-laws.
 
Persons excluded from regulation under By-law 4 (who do not require a licence)
A person who delivers courtworker services to Aboriginal people through an Aboriginal delivery agency that has contracted with the Government of Ontario or the Government of Canada to deliver courtworker services as part of the Aboriginal Courtwork Program.
  • A person whose profession or occupation is not the provision of legal services or the practice of law, who acts in the normal course of carrying on that profession or occupation, excluding representing a person in a proceeding before an adjudicative body.
  • A person whose profession or occupation is not the provision of legal services or the practice of law, who, on behalf of another person, participates in hearings before a committee of adjustment constituted under section 44 of the Planning Act.
 
Persons exempted from licensing requirements under By-law 4 (who do not require a licence)
  • An individual who is employed by a single employer that is not a licensee or a licensee firm, provides the legal services only for and on behalf of the employer, and does not provide any legal services to any person other than the employer.
  • An individual who is employed by a Legal Aid Ontario clinic, provides the legal services through the clinic to the community that the clinic serves and does not otherwise provide legal services, and has professional liability insurance coverage.
  • An individual who is employed by a government-funded not-for-profit organization established for the purpose of providing legal services, provides the legal services through the organization to the community that the organization serves and does not otherwise provide legal services, and has professional liability insurance coverage.
  • An individual whose profession or occupation is not and does not include the provision of legal services, who provides the legal services only for and on behalf of a friend or a neighbour, provides the legal services in respect of not more than three matters per year, and does not receive any compensation for the provision of the legal services.
  • An individual whose profession or occupation is not and does not include the provision of legal services, who provides the legal services only for an on behalf of a relative, and does not receive any compensation for the provision of the legal services.
  • An individual whose profession or occupation is not and does not include the provision of legal services, who is a member of Provincial Parliament or his or her designated staff, and who provides the legal services for and on behalf of a constituent of the member.
  • An individual whose provision or occupation is not the provision of legal services, who provides the legal services only occasionally, who provides the legal services as ancillary to the carrying on of her or his profession or occupation, and who is a member of the Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario in the Certified Human Resources Professional category.
  • An individual who works for the Office of the Worker Adviser, who advises a worker or the worker’s survivors regarding the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 or acts on behalf of a worker or the worker’s survivors in connection with matters and proceedings before the WSIB or the WSIAT or related proceedings.
  • An individual who works for the Office of the Employer Adviser, who advises an employer regarding the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 or acts on behalf of an employer in connection with matters and proceedings before the WSIB or the WSIAT or related proceedings.
  • An employee of a trade union, a volunteer representative of a trade union, or an individual designated by the Ontario Federation of Labour who advises a union, a member of a union, a former member of a union or a survivor on their legal interests in connection with a workplace issue or dispute, or acts on behalf of the person in connection with a workplace issue or dispute or a related proceeding before an adjudicative body other than a federal or provincial court.
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