Convocation has removed two categories of exemptions for work within the Paralegal Scope of Practice. Members of the Canadian Registered Safety Professionals and the Appraisal Institute of Canada will no longer be able to offer legal services directly to the public without a licence.
The move comes as the Law Society’s Integration Process is winding down. The process started in 2011. It offered members of exempted groups the opportunity to become licensed under a policy to reduce the number of exempt persons providing legal services. LSUC stats show that 312 candidates became licensed under the process.
The 2012 Morris Report on Paralegal Regulation recommended that the Law Society review exemptions under the By-Law, where exclusions “cannot be justified in terms of facilitating access to justice and/or protection of the public interest.” In its report to Convocation, the PSC states that “there is no compelling argument for keeping the exemption for these associations.”
PSC Chair Cathy Corsetti said that Convocation has been looking into reducing the number of exemptions under By-Law 4 since 2009. The committee met with the organizations affected. They are “well-established associations, most of whose members do not provide any advocacy services.”
“The Law Society’s policy is that it’s generally in the public interest for anyone providing advocacy services to the public, including potentially vulnerable clients, to be licensed by the Law Society, insured and required to observe the Rules of Conduct,” Corsetti said.
Subparagraph 30 (1) 7 i of By-Law 4 (Licensing) is changed to provide a licensing exemption for members of the Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario in the Certified Human Resources Professional category.