Ontario Modernizing Regulation of the Legal Profession
Proposed Legislation Would Improve Processes Governing Lawyers and Paralegals
Ontario is introducing legislation that would, if passed, modernize the regulation of the legal profession.
The proposed bill would allow the Law Society of Upper Canada to strengthen its hearing and appeals process for alleged cases of professional misconduct involving lawyers and paralegals, making it more transparent, fair and cost-effective.
The proposed legislation would also increase the number of paralegals who sit on the Law Society's governing body, called Convocation, from two to five. This would provide for more equitable representation and recognize the importance of the maturing paralegal profession.
Improving the regulation of the legal profession is part of the government's economic plan to invest in people, invest in infrastructure and support a dynamic and innovative business climate.
- Other proposed changes would allow the Law Society of Upper Canada to recover legal costs from lawyers and paralegals who have been disciplined, and clarify that it can receive information that is solicitor-client privileged from any person in a hearing, including a client.
- Ontario is the only jurisdiction in Canada to regulate paralegals, which improves access to justice by giving consumers more choice and protection when obtaining legal services.
- Almost 5,000 paralegals are now licensed and insured in the province.
- The Law Society of Upper Canada has governed the practice of law in the public interest for over 200 years. It regulates the largest bar in Canada, with more than 44,000 members.
“The changes proposed in this bill would allow the Law Society of Upper Canada to strengthen its processes to ensure even more efficient, effective and accountable legal services both for the public and the professionals it regulates.”
“We’re delighted that the Attorney General has been able to move forward with a key recommendation of the Morris Report so quickly. This is the logical place to start in the evolution of the Law Society’s governance to accommodate the new paralegal profession.”
Thomas G. Conway
“I’d like to thank the Attorney General for his leadership in moving forward with this important first step in the implementation of the Morris Report, as we continue to advance the status of the paralegal profession.”