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New Regulations for Paralegal Representatives

As a result of changes in legislation, the Law Society of Upper Canada is now responsible for the regulation of most persons who provide paralegal services such as representing a party in an appeal or application before the Tribunal. In the future, only those who have completed an approved legal services education program in Ontario will be eligible to apply to the Law Society for a licence to act as a paralegal. In the meantime, the Law Society has accepted applications for paralegal licences from experienced representatives (“grandparent applicants”) or certain graduates of existing post-secondary paralegal courses (“transitional applicants”). These applicants must pass a licensing exam that will be given in early 2008 in order to obtain a licence to provide legal services as a paralegal. They are required to have errors and omissions insurance as required by the Law Society, and to comply with the Paralegal Rules of Conduct established by the Law Society of Upper Canada.

The deadline for grandparent applicants to make an application to the Law Society was October 31, 2007. After that date, only those representatives who are candidates for licensing may act as paralegals in appeals before the Tribunal. You may find out whether a representative is a candidate for licensing by consulting the Paralegal Candidate Directory on the Law Society’s website at www.lsuc.on.ca. Representatives who have not complied with the requirement to apply for licensing as a grandparent or transitional applicant must arrange for the transfer of their files to a person who is authorized to act as a paralegal. The Tribunal will work with these representatives to ensure that this happens.

Only the following representatives may continue to provide legal services to workers and employers with cases at the Tribunal: lawyers, registered paralegals, individuals exempt from the LSUC’s licensing requirements.

Please contact the Law Society of Upper Canada for information about persons who are exempt from licensing. Tribunal staff cannot provide you with this information.

You may obtain more information about paralegal licensing from the Law Society website. You may also call the Law Society at 416-947-3315 or 1-800-668-7380.

Standards of Conduct for Representatives

Representatives who are not required to have a licence from the Law Society to work as a lawyer or paralegal are not bound by its Rules of Conduct, but the Tribunal also has a Code of Conduct for Representatives that applies to all representatives. It recognizes that any person who represents either a worker or an employer has certain obligations and responsibilities to their client and to the Tribunal. The Code sets out the minimum standards of behaviour that the Tribunal expects from any representative who appears before it. You can obtain a copy of the Code from the Tribunal’s website or from the Tribunal’s Library.

Posted on: December 11, 2007