Back to Navigation
Home News & Events Latest News Latest News: 2022 A letter from the Treasurer to candidates impacted by licensing examination changes

A letter from the Treasurer to candidates impacted by licensing examination changes

April 13, 2022

Candidates,

I want to provide further context and address some of the concerns we have heard from you regarding the change to the timeline and move to an in-person examination method for the 2022 – 2023 licensing cycle.

First, I want you to know that I see and hear the stress and anxiety that this change is causing you. While I realize this may offer limited comfort, I can assure you that the team at the Law Society is working to support you in a challenging and unexpected set of circumstances.

It is important to note that the move from an online to an in-person delivery format stems from the ongoing investigation into the actions of some licensing candidates, which strongly indicates that examination content has been improperly accessed through cheating. This is in contravention of the Examination Rules and Protocol and has compromised the integrity of the upcoming examination period. Evidence indicates the potential involvement of third parties in this activity.

To continue with an online examination in the face of this knowledge is impossible.  We cannot continue with online examinations that we strongly believe have been compromised.  We cannot license candidates under that cloud. Likewise, cancelling the summer examinations was unacceptable to us. 

As a public interest regulator we have to ensure that our exams are valid and defensible; that we have a timely path to licensure for candidates; that we take steps to protect the reputation of candidates not involved in cheating; and that we uphold the integrity of the legal professions.

In response to this unprecedented and disturbing situation, the Law Society is focused on delivering a plan that allows candidates to proceed with licensure as quickly as possible in a process that will not be tainted by the possibility of cheating. In the current circumstances, in-person delivery provides the necessary degree of security to ensure examination integrity and to protect the reputation of all those candidates who are in no way implicated in the investigation.

The four-week shift from June to July for the summer barrister and solicitor examinations is necessary to safely and effectively deliver in-person examinations at five cities across the province. The pivot to in-person examinations requires a complex array of logistics including securing multiple venues, implementing security and invigilation measures, preparing printed materials, implementing COVID-19 protocols and ensuring there are specific plans in place for candidates who require accommodations on human rights grounds.

Regardless of all these efforts, I am aware that this decision has affected and disrupted the lives of many candidates. We know that many of you had career plans, were hoping to rest or perhaps travel with family or loved ones; I am truly sorry for those that are experiencing these impacts.

The Law Society has taken steps to try to alleviate some of the challenges faced by licensing candidates by extending the deadline for examination deferrals and providing financial assistance through the Repayable Allowance Program. The Law Society will continue to offer accommodations on the established examination dates for the grounds outlined in the Human Rights Code. I encourage you to consider whether these initiatives might help your individual circumstance.

As you navigate these changes, I remind you that all candidates are eligible to access the Law Society’s Member Assistance Program which provides free access to confidential counselling, coaching, online resources and peer support.

More information about the in-person delivery model is available on the Lawyer Licensing Examination FAQs and Paralegal Licensing Examination FAQs pages on LSO.ca. I also encourage you to read the recent update about the ongoing investigation which is available in our newsroom.

In the coming days, if you have selected a summer examination, you will be receiving detailed information through your online accounts about the licensing examinations, including specifics about location selection and an invitation to join the LSO on May 9, for a live question and answer webinar hosted by the Law Society’s Licensing and Accreditation team.

If you have concerns about your specific situation, please reach out to the Licensing and Accreditation team through your online account so we can work together to address your needs. We appreciate your continued patience as we respond to this challenging situation. We will continue to support you and to keep you updated on developments as we move ahead.

We look forward to your successful completion of the licensing process.

Sincerely,

Teresa Donnelly
Treasurer
Law Society of Ontario


Click here to watch the Treasurer’s video message to candidates impacted by the licensing examination changes.
Terms or Concepts Explained