Keep Paralegals practice in immigration for affordable access to justice.
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Petition to the House of Commons of Canada.
We, the undersigned, paralegals and members of the community who resides in Ontario,
Draw the attention of the Members of Parliament.
Where as the requirements to become a paralegal in Ontario include,
- complete an approved Paralegal program at a university or college including an internship component;
- pass the good character requirement (i.e. supply the Law Society with requested documentation); and
- pass the Law Society and Paralegal licensing exam;.
Where as there are two types of paralegal training programs available: diploma and degree and these programs are accredited by the Law Society of Upper Canada, subject to strict competencies provided by the LSUC;
Where as the educational institutions offering the diploma and degree programs are subject to LSUC audits every 5 years and, upon completion of a successful audit, re-accreditation of the Paralegal program at that institution;
Where as paralegal diploma programs at the public community colleges are 2 years in length. Both the community college diploma programs and the degree program include general education courses and paralegal specific courses. A degree usually can be earned in four years;
Where as the Paralegal Licensing Examination is offered 3 times per year and consists of a 7 hour examination on substantive legal principles, practice management and ethics;
Where as a licensed paralegal can represent clients and practice in:
- Small Claims Court;
- Provincial Offenses Act matters at the Ontario Court of Justice, including appeals in the Ontario Court of Justice;
- summary conviction offenses under the Criminal Code, where the maximum penalty does not exceed six months' imprisonment and/or a $5,000 fine; and
- before Provincial and Federal administrative tribunals, including the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (Law Society of Upper Canada, Paralegal Licensing Frequently Asked Questions, online: http://www.lsuc.on.ca/licensingprocessParalegal.aspx?id=2147491230 );
Where as a licensed Paralegal currently can:
- give legal advice concerning legal interests, rights or responsibilities with respect to a proceeding or the subject matter of a proceeding;
- draft or assist with drafting documents for use in a proceeding; and
- negotiate on behalf of a person who is a party to a proceeding;
Where as paralegals, by regulation, are held to high professional standards and are under the same obligations as Lawyer (L1 licensees) to remain current in their areas of practice, carry Errors & Omissions;
Where as the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) was passed in June 2011 and paralegals were included as being permitted to represent an individual before the Immigration and Refugee Board for which there are regulations for a paralegal prescribed by the LSUC;
Where as a present report improving Government Oversight of Immigration Consultants June 2017, removed paralegals from 91 (2) (b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA);
We the undersigned call on the House of Commons to consider and grant the following;
1. That Paralegals be included in sub. 91(2)(b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and that Paralegal scope be broadened to include completion of immigration applications under the economic, family, and humanitarian classes equal to the scope of lawyer and that paralegals be regulated by the LSUC under their paralegal license to perform these functions as are lawyers.
2. In the alternative, and at a minimum, as a result of the positive results of paralegals in their scope in Ontario, and in their current scope in immigration at the IRB as presented within this Petition.
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