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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 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 exeptions through by-laws. Exemption categories will be reviewed by the Law Society in two years - prior to May 1, 2009.

Groups/Individuals not captured by 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 or persons prescribed by the by-laws, in the circumstances prescribed by the by-laws.


Groups/Individuals exempt by By-law 4 (who do not require a licence)

  • Individuals employed by a single employer, such as municipal prosecutor.
  • Persons who are not in the business of providing legal services and occasionally provide assistance to a friend or relative for no fee.
  • Articling students.
  • Employees of legal clinics funded by Legal Aid Ontario.
  • Employees of organizations similar to legal clinics that provide free services to low-income clients, provided they meet certain criteria as to their non-profit status and funding.
  • Aboriginal Court Workers.
  • Staff of the Office of the Worker Adviser.
  • Staff of the Office of the Employer Adviser.
  • Constituency Assistants working in MPP offices.
  • Law students working in student legal aid services' societies, provided they are supervised by a lawyer and covered by the lawyer's insurance.
  • Injured Workers Outreach Services.
  • Ontario Federation of Labour staff and consultants representing union members in workers' compensation matters (under the Occupational Disability Response Team), including their work in representing families of deceased workers.
  • Trade union representatives acting on behalf of retired persons who were formerly members of the trade union and while providing services to another local of the same union.
  • Union representatives assisting families of deceased workers at Coroners' Inquests.
  • Members of the following listed voluntary standard-setting associations, subject to certain restrictions: the Human Resources Professions of Ontario; the Ontario Professional Planners Institute and the Board of Canadian Registered Safety Professionals.