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About Paralegals

Ontarians have a choice when it comes to legal services — paralegals and lawyers can help you solve your legal problems and protect your rights.

Paralegals are an integral part of the legal system. They are professionally educated and insured and are licensed by the Law Society of Ontario to serve the public and provide access to justice.

Paralegals can provide an affordable option for those in need of legal services or representation. This helps to reduce self-represented litigants in court cases and deters people from seeking advice from non-regulated legal resources or individuals who may lead them astray.

As experts in the matters which their practice covers, paralegals often have many years of experience in-court and at tribunals. They are licensed to independently represent people in small claims court, traffic court, some criminal matters and before tribunals. (See the list below.)

In the following video, Julia Bass of the Law Society and paralegals Michelle L. Haigh and Shelina Lalji explain how paralegals can help you with these matters.


 

Here are examples of how paralegals serve Ontarians:

  • Small claims court cases (money owed or damage of property, up to $35,000)
    • Represent individuals and businesses, as either plaintiff or defendant, with small claims court matters such as breach of contract, disputes with contractors, unpaid invoices, personal injury, debt collection and damage to property.
    • File claims, assemble documents and evidence, prepare clients and witnesses for  appearance in court and represent clients in court.
  • Ontario Court of Justice cases
    • Prepare documents, provide advice and represent individuals charged with certain  criminal offences, such as assault, causing a disturbance and theft under $5,000.
  • Tribunal cases
    • Prepare documents, provide advice and represent individuals in matters before a tribunal, such as:
      • a dispute with your landlord over repairs at the Landlord and Tenant Board,
      • a denied insurance claim at the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board,
      • discrimination from an employer at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, or
      • a denial of social assistance benefits at the Social Benefits Tribunal.
  • Provincial Offences Court violations
    • Prepare documents, provide advice and represent individuals in certain matters before the Provincial Offences Court, such as:
      • Traffic violations (such as offences under the Highway Traffic Act, Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act or municipal by-law infractions) including: speeding tickets, seatbelt violations, careless driving, driving licence suspensions, parking infractions, driving without insurance.
      • Violations of municipal by-laws such as: trespassing, noise complaints, animal control and waste disposal.
  • Notary Public services
    • Serve as a third-party witness to the signing of a document after having verified the identity of the person signing. This protects against fraud and identity theft. Mortgages, deeds, powers of attorney and  living wills, all require notarization.
    • Verify that those signing a document understand what is being signed and are doing it under their own power.
    • Witness oaths, sign affidavits and certify documents to be true copies of the original.

Read our Fact Sheet for more detailed information about Paralegals.

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