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References in Support of Paralegal Applications for a Licence

Paralegals who provide legal services, including representing persons in a proceeding before an adjudicative body such as the Tribunal, will be required to apply for and meet the licensing requirements that are set by the Law Society Act and Regulations, and by-laws of the Law Society of Upper Canada.  Certain paralegals are exempt from these requirements.  The Tribunal encourages paralegals to contact the Law Society of Upper Canada to obtain more information about the need to apply for a licence.

The Law Society will begin to receive applications from paralegals on May 1.  The Law Society will require references in support of applications, and one of the references must be from, among others, “a member or senior employee of a tribunal [or] agency…before which the applicant has appeared, who must attest to the experience of the applicant in advocacy work”.  This reference must provide information about the nature and recentness of the work experience, and the duration of the applicant’s provision of legal services.

The Law Society will prescribe the form of the reference, which will be made available on the Law Society website (www.lsuc.on.ca).

The Tribunal is aware that some applicants may wish to obtain a reference from the Tribunal to comply with this requirement.  In order to ensure that information provided to the Law Society about an applicant’s work experience before the Tribunal is current and accurate, the Tribunal has determined that all requests for references in support of an application for licence as a paralegal will be provided from a single source within the Tribunal.  The Tribunal will notify the Law Society of the staff who are authorized to provide these references.  Requests for references should be sent to:

Paralegal References
Workplace Safety & Insurance Appeals Tribunal
505 University Avenue, 5th Floor
Toronto, ON
M5G 2P2

All requests will be directed to senior Tribunal staff who will search the Tribunal’s and other records to provide information about the nature, frequency, and recentness of a representative’s advocacy work before the Tribunal.  The Tribunal will also provide information about any sanctions it may have imposed in the context of the applicant’s professional activity.  The Tribunal may require additional information from representatives to enable it to complete its review of its records. 

The Tribunal will not provide an opinion regarding the advocacy skills or legal knowledge of the applicant, or the suitability of the applicant for licensing as a paralegal.
In undertaking to provide references to requesting applicants, the Tribunal makes no warranties about the success of the applicant in the licensing process. 

The Law Society has advised the Tribunal that all references provided in the licensing application process will be confidential.  Before forwarding the reference to the Law Society, the Tribunal will require applicants to provide an undertaking s/he will not request a copy of the completed reference form.  The Tribunal will post the required reference request form and undertaking on its website. 

Posted on: May 1, 2007