Updated: Nov 2
The traditional definition of a paralegal is "An individual who performs substantive legal work on behalf of a lawyer". While this has historically been an accurate representation of the profession, there are some major exceptions that contrast with this definition today. In Canada, the term may vary from province to province.
One of the more prominent exceptions to this definition is in Ontario. In Ontario, paralegals are licensed and regulated by the Law Society of Ontario and are permitted to provide legal services (ie. representation, paperwork, advice, etc.) directly to clients in a limited scope. Paralegals in Ontario are also officers of the courts for which they are permitted to practice. The term "paralegal" is protected in Ontario, referring specifically to those licensed to provide legal services by the Law Society of Ontario. Paralegals in Ontario are automatically appointed as Commissioner of Oaths and are eligible to apply for a Notary Public appointment. New paralegals in Ontario are required to complete a paralegal/legal services program accredited by the Law Society, complete a practical work placement, pass a licensing exam, pay fees, and must abide by regulations. A paralegal in Ontario is required to have insurance in order to provide legal services.
In Saskatchewan, the term "paralegal" is not defined under the law. Some individuals that work for lawyers may adopt the term. There is an initiative from the Law Society of Saskatchewan to allow non-lawyers to provide legal services under the Limited Licensing Pilot in a similar role to how Ontario allows paralegals. These individuals are informally termed paralegals by some. It will be interesting to see how the profession advances and whether they decide to adopt the term as an official designation when the profession becomes more formalized. A similar initiative exists in British Columbia. For more information on the Limited Licensing Pilot with the Law Society of Saskatchewan, visit this link.
Traditionally, paralegals worked as part of a lawyer's practice performing work that the lawyer is responsible for. This is still an accurate definition of a paralegal in a lot of places. In other places, it may be different. Ontario formally licenses paralegals to provide legal services and other provinces appear to be taking some influence from Ontario in allowing non-lawyer legal services providers, often colloquially known as "paralegals".
Joseph Gelinas is a Licensed Paralegal in Ontario and a Limited License Pilot Practitioner (Law Society of Saskatchewan). Contact Joseph Gelinas of Gelinas Limited Scope Legal Services for a free no-obligation to retain 30 minute phone consultation at 705 737 6451, or email GelinasLegal@gmail.com. Joseph also own Gelinas Paralegal Services, registered and practicing in Ontario courts and tribunals.
Disclaimer: Phoning, emailing, messaging or otherwise contacting Joseph Gelinas, Gelinas Limited Scope Legal Services, and/or Gelinas Paralegal Services, does not establish a representative-client relationship. A representative-client relationship is only established if it has been agreed to by the representative and the client(s). Do not provide any confidential or sensitive information when contacting Joseph Gelinas, Gelinas Limited Scope Legal Services, and/or Gelinas Paralegal Services. Nothing written on this site is to be taken as legal advice. Laws and the interpretations of laws are constantly changing and may have changed since this website was published. The facts of each case are unique and the laws may apply differently.
Important information about my relationship with the Law Society of Saskatchewan: I am not a lawyer or member regulated by the Law Society of Saskatchewan and the Law Society of Saskatchewan does not supervise my education, training or qualifications, or, apply a Code of Conduct or ethical standards (e.g. solicitor client privilege does not apply), provide a complaints or discipline process, nor mandate professional liability insurance with respect to my services; a Consumer Review Form is available to help the Law Society of Saskatchewan understand consumer experiences when accessing legal services through the Pilot.