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What are Paralegals in Ontario Allowed to Do?

If you need some expert guidance on Canadian law, you might be wondering, what are paralegals in Ontario allowed to do?

 

Paralegals play a vital role in the Ontario legal system. As licensed practitioners, they offer an alternative to lawyers for certain legal services, providing accessible legal care to the public. Understanding the scope of paralegal practice in Ontario can help you determine when and how a paralegal can assist with your legal needs.

 

The Scope of Paralegal Practice in Ontario

 

Representation in Court

In Ontario, paralegals are empowered to represent:

 

·       Small Claims Court: Paralegals can represent clients in civil litigation cases where the claim does not exceed $35,000.

·       Provincial Offences: This includes representation for matters under provincial statutes, such as traffic tickets under the Highway Traffic Act.

·       Summary Conviction Offences: Paralegals may handle less serious criminal matters where the maximum penalty does not exceed two years less a day imprisonment and/or a $5,000 fine.

 

Administrative Tribunals

Paralegals are extensively involved in administrative tribunals, such as:


·       Landlord and Tenant Board: They can represent either landlords or tenants in disputes.

·       Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario: Paralegals may represent parties in claims involving alleged human rights violations.

·       Workplace Safety and Insurance Board: They can advocate for clients in workers’ compensation cases.

·       Other Tribunals: Including the Social Benefits Tribunal, the Immigration and Refugee Board, and the Parole Board of Canada.

 

Legal Advice

Paralegals in Ontario can provide legal advice concerning the areas of law in which they are permitted to practice. This includes:

 

·       Advising clients on their legal interests, rights, and responsibilities.

·       Advising on court procedures and the preparation of documents.

 

Paralegal Licensing and Regulation

To provide these services, paralegals in Ontario must be licensed by the Law Society of Ontario (LSO), which ensures that they meet professional standards of practice. Paralegals are required to:

 

·       Complete an accredited education program.

·       Pass a licensing exam.

·       Carry liability insurance.

·       Fulfill ongoing professional development requirements.

 

Limitations of Paralegal Practice

While paralegals provide valuable services, there are limitations to their practice, as they are not allowed to handle cases involving:

 

·       Family law.

·       Wills and estates planning.

·       Real estate transactions.

·       Matters exceeding the monetary or legal limitations set by their governing body.

 

Paralegals in Ontario are a cost-effective and knowledgeable resource for a variety of legal services. They play an indispensable role in the justice system, helping to facilitate access to legal services for a broader segment of the population. When choosing a paralegal, ensure they are licensed and in good standing with the Law Society of Ontario to get competent and professional legal assistance.

 


Yuliya Molchanova is a paralegal in Mississauga and the founder of Y M Paralegal Services. She specializes in helping you with your small claims court matters, Landlord and Tenant Board disputes or immigration service needs. She will work closely with clients to provide exceptional legal services, catered specifically to you. For a free, 30-minute consultation about your legal needs, Get In Touch.


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