A paralegal has the required education and experience to provide legal services to the public, much like that of lawyers but they are not lawyers. Paralegals in Ontario have been licensed by the Law Society of Ontario since 2007. Paralegals have been recognized as officers of the court.
In Ontario, licensed paralegals provide several types of legal services to the public. Paralegals can appear before certain lower-level courts and administrative tribunals.
The Requirements to Become a Licensed Paralegal in Ontario
To be a licensed paralegal in Ontario, an individual must:
Graduate from a college paralegal program that has been accredited by the Law Society of Ontario (LSO),
Successfully complete an internship,
Pass the Law Society of Ontario’s Bar Licensing Exam,and
Hearings before Provincial & Federal Administrative Comissions, Boards, and Tribunals Some examples arethe Landlord and Tenant Board, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, Social Benefits Tribunal, Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, the Immigration and Refugee Board, and more.
There are over 500 Provincial boards, agencies and commissions in Ontario and over 20 Federal boards, agencies and commissions in Canada. Many of these are administrative tribunals, which have been granted the authority to make decisions under a statute or regulation. Tribunals are independent agencies responsible for making decisions and sometimes recommendations. There is a broad range of administrative tribunals dealing with a variety of subjects; for instance, some deal with regulatory and licensing issues, others with entitlement to compensation or benefits. Some tribunals are large organizations with many members
Pressently Paralegals can not act as a representive in Family Court. However, there are plans for this to be changed by the Law Society of Ontario in order to provide access to justice for all. To learn more click here.
The video by Julia Bass, of the Law Society and paralegals Michelle L. Haigh and Shelina Lalji explain how paralegals can help you understand the process in matters that paralegals practice in.
Comparison of Paralegals and Lawyers
In this section I have provided a side-by-side comparison chart of Lawyers and Paralegals. So, people can see the difference to understand when to use a lawyer and when to use a Paralegal and why.
$40 - $150/hr
$165 - $350/hr*
2 year Acredited College Program**
4 - year Univerrsity Program**
2 - year Law school Program*
Area of Practice
Licensed by the Law Society of Ontario
Recognized as an Officer of the Court
Must Pass LSO Bar Exam
Must Have Errors & Omissions Insurance
* Information obtained from the Law Society of Ontario's Fee Schedule based on Counsel's length of time since call to the bar (length of time being licenced) from less than a year to more than 20 years of expereince. To see the schdule click here. Lawyers can and do charge more than the fee schdule. For exmaple some bay street lawyers charge as high as $2,000/hr.
**Can be less with accelerated programs, with less scheduled breaks. Also, length of schooling depends on individual’s achievements.
*** Paralegals are limited to practice law in Administrative Boards, Commissions, & Tribunals and in Ontario Court of Justice - Criminal Court, Small Claims Court, Ontario Court of Justice - Provincial Offences Court. See above for more information on scope of Paralegals.
Information contained within this site is NOT legal advice!
You should always consult with a paralegal or lawyer. Even if you use this site or consult with me, this in no way consitutes a retainer, whether for bundled or unbundled services, and no paralegal-client relationship exists unless and until you receive written confirmation in the form of a signed retainer agreement.
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