Your Only Source of Paralegal News – June 25

Carefully curated for paralegals, these articles have been chosen for their relevance to the paralegal scope of practice. News briefs are provided without charge by your only source of unbiased paralegal news and information. No fluff. No hidden advertorial. Just real news.

  • Maison Canada Holdings Ltd. fined $120,000; young worker killed while working on a high-rise student housing project in Waterloo
  • Loblaws demands workers pay back thousands after payment error, may need to recover “overpayments” in court
  • Florida Uber driver is an employee, not a contractor, court finds
  • June 19 was the last day for Ontario employers to provide employees who are covered by the Employment Standards Act, 2000 with a copy of an Employment Standards poster
  • Ontario has launched public consultations on the changing nature of the modern workplace. The consultations will consider amending the Labour Relations Act, 1995 and Employment Standards Act, 2000
  • Standardizing carding practices: Ontario proposes rules to govern police “street checks,” including the rights of people being asked to provide information
  • Targeting turbans: Group asking for changes to new airport security “racial profiling” procedures
Paralegal Licensing Process Changes
Gossip

You have probably heard the rumours. The August Paralegal Licensing Examination will be impossibly difficult. The exam will be ridiculously easy. The exam location keeps changing. The exam will take two days. The exam is full of “trick questions” written by mean-spirited lawyers.

Such rumours flourish before each session of the licensing exam, one of the last steps in the licensing process developed by the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC). Rumours seem particularly rampant this year, as the exam has been updated to reflect substantive law competencies, in addition to ethics and practice management knowledge.

It may be tempting to count on social media for “inside advice” about the new exam, but candidates can rely on facts available from the Law Society and from their paralegal program co-ordinators. Experienced educators and mentors suggest that basing decisions on what someone else heard, or read on social media, will only add unnecessary anxiety.

Paralegal licensing exams ensure that candidates have demonstrated the required entry-level competencies, in order to provide services effectively and in the public interest
“One of the most important strategies that people can do independently is to be very clear on what is rumour and what is fact,” says educator Sandee Sharpe, of PREP Network. “If the Law Society has posted the information, it’s fact. If it’s passed on from person to person, the odds are, it’s a rumour. Any information on pass/fail rates or specific questions are simply rumours and only serve to cause greater anxiety.”

The LSUC licensing exam page has plenty of facts available about the exam, including:

MPP Jagmeet Singh

Photo: canindia.com

Paralegal practice is guided primarily by provincial legislation, covering everything from rules of the court, to defining elements of offences, and how traffic tickets are prosecuted.

Several pieces of Ontario legislation have been introduced or passed in the past few months which, if enacted, would affect large areas of practice. This includes condo law, Ontario immigration, cash stores and the Highway Traffic Act:

Paralegal Scope is among the contributors chosen to add content to CanLII Connects. CanLII content related to paralegal scope of practice includes these recent additions:

  • Reminiscent of pre-licensing paralegal days: Alberta provincial court justice denies an agent the right to represent a client on a summary conviction case, due in part to an extensive criminal record he had kept quiet. R .v. Hansen, 2015 ABPC 118 (CanLII)
  • Criminality and the Immigration Appeal Division” – Nguyen-Tran v Canada, 2010 FC 93
  • Would a “reasonably prudent” condo board director rent units to “multiple, unrelated, transient tenants,” in violation of the condo rules? Ottawa Superior Court says no – Ballingall v Carleton Condominium Corporation No. 111, 2015 ONSC 2484 (CanLII)
  • Reminder about rules around representatives as witnesses: LTB Rule of Practice 32. The paralegal, who is also a real estate agent, may not act as both witness and advocate for the landlord
  • How not to respond to job applicants: Commentary on
    Bouraoui v. Ottawa Valley Cleaning and Restoration, 2014 HRTO 1303 (CanLII)
business-shado-people

    Paralegal Scope is the only legal media that covers Convocation meetings and Law Society events for paralegals. Keep on top of what’s happening with the professional regulator! Click on a title below to get news briefs.

Paralegal Competence Update, Convocation Reports - May
Ontario's Proposed Immigration Act - LSUC Raises Concerns With Committee
Complaints are Down: Tribunal Committee Report
Regulating Legal Entities -- Plans Moving Forward
Updated June 8: Paralegal Discipline Orders, Feb. -- June
A Breach is a Breach, No Matter How Small
Scent allergy

Photo: Vancouver Sun

Paralegal Kristin Bisbee summarizes a recent case that highlights the risks of ignoring the terms of a tribunal settlement. How much accommodation is enough, and what can an Applicant do if an employer breaches the terms?

As an employer, you’ve received an Application to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) and you are now at the Mediation stage. You bring your best “good faith” game and enter into a settlement where you believe you have compromised quite a bit, but you believe it’s enough to put this all behind you. Who is going to hold you to that settlement, anyway?

In a recent case from the HRTO – Currie v. Ontario (Children and Youth Services), 2015 HRTO 478 (CanLII) — the employer was found to have breached its undertakings within the Settlement and they paid heavily for it.

The duty to accommodate lived on, despite no expressly written duty in the settlement agreement; the worker’s need for accommodation still existed
The HRTO has a mechanism by which either party can fill out a document (Form 18, “Application for Contravention of Settlement”) and file it electronically with the HRTO, indicating that they believe a contravention of a settlement has occurred. This will not re-open the original allegations of discrimination and must be done within six months of the alleged contravention or if there is a series of events, within six months of the last alleged contravention. This mechanism is not available to those who did not first make an Application to the HRTO.

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