From the Paralegal Four Corners: Practice Updates

Toronto YMCA

Photo: thestar.com

Paralegal scope of practice is much more than tickets and small claims. Whether looking to branch out into a new practice area, or stay relevant with your current client focus, explore what’s new and important to Ontario paralegals.

Statutory Interpretation on Appeal of MPAC, Assessment Act

In Young Men’s Christian Association of Greater Toronto v. Municipal Property Assessment Corporation, 2015 ONCA 130 (CanLII), the Ontario Court of Appeal found that the wording of an Act dating to 1923 means that the organization’s leased premises are not tax-exempt.

The question before the court was whether the leased premises are buildings or lands of the Toronto YMCA occupied and used for its purposes, and therefore exempt from municipal property taxation by virtue of s. 10. The YMCA had applied for an exemption from property taxation for premises it occupies in four buildings located in the City of Toronto. It sought a declaration that all space used and occupied by the Toronto YMCA in respect of the subject properties is exempt.

Decision Hints at Future of Lawyer-Paralegal Partnership Liabilities

Does a law firm owe a duty of care to clients of a paralegal who works in association with the law firm? In a motion to dismss — Cruz v. McPherson, 2014 ONSC 4841 (CanLII) – Superior Court found that a claim for vicarious liability against a law firm that had a partnership relationship with a paralegal is a “novel but legally tenable tort claim.”

Tribunal Work Could be Going Online

As the province looks at ways to take some provincial offences cases out of the court system, other paralegal work could also face significant pressure. Disputes in the Social Justice cluster of tribunals — including Landlord & Tenant, the Social Benefits Tribunal and the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario — may be moved out of the public system, to an online dispute resolution system (ODR).

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