Paralegal Education Program Accreditation Policy

1. Definitions

2. Accreditation Process for Paralegal Education Programs

2.1 Introduction
2.2 Overview
2.3 Accreditation Application Process
2.4 Review of Submitted Application Package
2.5 Failure to Offer Accredited Program
2.6 Multiple Campus Locations
2.7 Application and Accreditation Fee Schedule
2.8 Changes to a Program
2.9 Declarations
2.10 Audit Process Site Visit
2.11 Audit Fee Schedule
2.12 Routine Accredited Program Checks
2.13 Reaccreditation
2.14 Program Expiry Due to Dormancy, Discontinuation and Change of Location
2.15 Program Accommodations

3. Program Requirements and Application Procedure

3.1 Academic and Field Placement Requirements
3.2 Program Coordinator and Field Placement Coordinator
3.3 Cohort Composition and Intake Dates
3.4 Individual Course Information
3.5 Faculty Information
3.6 Field Placements
3.7 Additional Campus Locations
3.8 Prior Learning Assessment and Transferring Credits
3.9 General Institution Policies
3.10 Contact Information

4. Preparing and Submitting the Application

4.1 Preparing the Application
4.2 Submitting the Application

Accreditation Forms

Form 1A—General Information Form
Form 1B—Payment Remittance Form
Form 2A—Paralegal Program Course Overview
Form 2B—Course Sequence
Form 3—Individual Course Information Form
Form 4A—Faculty Member List
Form 4B—Faculty Member Course Chart
Form 5—Field Placement Form
Form 6—Major Change Form
Form 7—Annual Declaration Form

 


1. Definitions

“Accreditation” means the formal approval by the Law Society for an Institution to deliver an Accredited Program according to the requirements set out in the Accreditation Documents.

“Accreditation Documents” means this document (the Paralegal Education Program Accreditation Policy), the Accreditation Forms, and any related documents.

“Accreditation Form” means each form associated with the Accreditation Documents, including Form 1A, Form 1B, Form 2A, Form 2B, Form 3, Form 4A, Form 4B, Form 5, Form 6 and Form 7.

“Accredited Program” means a Program that is offered by an Institution and that has received and retained approval by the Law Society.

“Active Good Status” means not suspended and not under any practice restriction as a result of being under active discipline by the governing regulatory or similar body for the Licensee, Licensee Equivalent or Exempted Individual.

“Application” means the completed documentation submitted by an Institution requesting that a proposed Program become or remain an Accredited Program.

“Cohort” means a group of students who begin their paralegal education studies in an Accredited Program at the same time for a given Session and continue their studies together.

“Compulsory Legal Course” means each paralegal education course set out under the heading “Academic and Field Placement Requirements”.

“Core Program” means the Compulsory Legal Courses, the additional courses that are part of the Accredited Program that together equal, at minimum, the mandatory number of hours in an Accredited Program and the field placement requirements.

“Engaged Individual” means an individual who is authorized to provide class P1 legal services without a licence under sections 30(1), (2) or (3) of By-Law 4 made under the Law Society Act, RSO 1990, c. L.8, and who is actively providing legal services to an administrative tribunal, a government or a government agency, a legal aid clinic, a collection agency, a court or a legal department. 

“Exempted Individual” means an individual who is (i) in Active Good Status, (ii) not subject to any relevant restrictions in his or her appointment, practice, employment, duty or service at any time during the individual’s participation as a Faculty Member, (iii) a judge, justice of the peace or an Engaged Individual and (iv) approved by the Law Society to instruct a Substantive Law Course in an Accredited Program. 

“Faculty Member” means an instructor in an Accredited Program.

“Field Placement Coordinator” means the individual responsible for the supervision and maintenance of the Accredited Program’s field placement program.

“Field Placement Host” means an entity that undertakes to host a paralegal student to perform a field placement as part of an Accredited Program. A Field Placement Host may be the same as a Field Placement Supervisor (e.g., in the case of a sole proprietorship).

“Field Placement Supervisor” means a Licensee or a Licensee Equivalent who undertakes to provide mentorship, guidance and supervision to a paralegal student during the student’s field placement.

“Full Time Faculty Member” means a Licensee who is either (a) a full-time employee of the Institution who dedicates the majority of his or her employment time to the Accredited Program; or (b) a contractor or part-time employee of the Institution who performs a combination of instructional and non-instructional duties in respect of an Accredited Program at a campus location for no fewer than 532 hours for each Accredited Program offered to each Cohort.

“Institution” means a post-secondary educational institution in Ontario that is registered with the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development as a Private Career College or a College of Applied Arts and Technology.

“Intake Date” means the date of commencement of paralegal studies by a Cohort in an Accredited Program.

“Law Society” means The Law Society of Upper Canada.

“Licensee” means an individual who is licensed by the Law Society as a lawyer or paralegal and whose licence is in Active Good Status at the time of his or her participation in an Accredited Program, whether as a Program Coordinator, Faculty Member or Field Placement Supervisor. For clarity, a Licensee can be in Active Good Status while at the same time being in a “not practising law” or “not practising in Ontario” status.

“Licensee Equivalent” means an individual who is (i) in Active Good Status, (ii) not subject to any relevant restrictions in his or her appointment, practice, employment, duty or service at any time during the individual’s participation as a Field Placement Host or Field Placement Supervisor and (iii) a judge, a justice of the peace, a member of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council or an Engaged Individual.

“Major Change” means any change to an Accredited Program’s course structure, location, content, hours, organization, assessment methods or delivery, key personnel (including the Program Coordinator but excluding non-key Faculty Members), Cohort size or field placement process.

“Paralegal Education Program Accreditation Policy” or “PEPAP” means this policy established by the Law Society for the regulation of paralegal education programming accreditation in Ontario.

“Program” means a paralegal education offering.

“Program Check” means a review of an Accredited Program to assess compliance with the requirements of the Accreditation Documents.

“Program Coordinator” means the individual responsible for the maintenance of the Accreditation for the Institution’s Program and who is responsible to the Institution and to the Law Society for monitoring, coordinating and controlling Program standards within an Accredited Program.

“Reaccreditation” means the formal approval by the Law Society for an Institution to continue to deliver an Accredited Program, according to the requirements set out in the Accreditation Documents.

“Session” means a time period for an Accredited Program, which may be, for example, full-day, morning, afternoon or evening.

“Substantive Law Course” means each Compulsory Legal Course, excluding Legal Computer Applications and Legal Accounting.


2. Accreditation Process for Paralegal Education Programs

2.1 Introduction

In 2007, pursuant to changes to the Law Society Act made by the Access to Justice Act, 2006, the Law Society assumed responsibility for the regulation of paralegals. This represented an important change, with the Law Society becoming the regulator not only for those who provide legal advice, but also those who provide legal services. The Law Society governs and regulates lawyers practising law and paralegals providing legal services in Ontario in the public interest. The underlying rationale for regulating paralegals and lawyers is to provide consumer protection and to ensure that consumers have access to competent and high quality legal service providers.

Individuals seeking to become licensed to provide legal services as paralegals in Ontario must, in addition to being of good character, meet two fundamental licensing conditions. First, the applicant must have graduated from a paralegal education program in Ontario accredited by the Law Society. Second, the applicant must have successfully completed the paralegal licensing examination set by the Law Society. The conditions set out in these Accreditation Documents not only establish the framework for Accreditation, but also provide the foundation, structure and conditions for paralegal education in Ontario.

2.2 Overview

As part of its statutory mandate, the Law Society determines whether a Program sought to be offered in Ontario by an Institution will receive or maintain Accreditation or Reaccreditation. Accreditation of a Program is required for both Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology and Private Career Colleges. The Accreditation Documents reflect the recommendations approved by the Law Society's Convocation in February 2014. It is important that each Institution read the Accreditation Documents carefully, including the definitions and Accreditation Forms.

The Accreditation Documents set out a comprehensive, integrated and sequential development process that supports a continuous learning environment for paralegal students, consisting of three pillars:

  • Training: the Accreditation Documents specify rules for the creation of an environment in which the paralegal student can develop the skills and attitudes required to perform the professional roles and responsibilities of paralegals.
  • Education: the Accreditation Documents mandate the provision of a base of legal and other relevant knowledge upon which the paralegal can rely in order to be able to correctly interpret legal situations and apply sound judgment.
  • Work Experience: the Accreditation Documents provide for the application and continued development of paralegal skills, knowledge and attitudes acquired through training and education in the performance of an assigned role and duties as a paralegal student in a field placement environment.

Among other requirements set out in the Program Requirements and Application Procedure section, Accredited Programs are required to include, at a minimum, certain Substantive Law Courses, which cover the essential elements of procedural and substantive legal services practice as well as ethical and responsible practice, certain other Compulsory Legal Courses, which relate to legal accounting and computer applications, and a field placement.

Accreditation and Reaccreditation are each in effect for a period of five years, unless terminated earlier. Where appropriate, the term Accreditation as used in the Accreditation Documents includes Reaccreditation, with any necessary changes as appropriate.

Graduates of an Accredited Program are (subject to meeting other obligations, such as payment of the applicable fees) eligible to apply to write the paralegal licensing examination that, in addition to other requirements, must be completed for an individual to qualify for a licence to provide legal services as a paralegal in Ontario.

Each proposed Program, as a whole, will be reviewed to assess whether the Application and the Institution demonstrate that (a) the Institution understands and reflects the goals of the Law Society’s entry-level competence requirements and (b) individuals who graduate from that Program will have the necessary skills, knowledge and attitudes to be licensed as paralegals and to provide ethical and professional legal services upon entering the profession.

2.3 Accreditation Application Process

As set out in the definitions, any Institution that wishes to make an Application to offer a Program must be registered with the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD). The Institution must provide proof of its approved status with its Application to the Law Society by including a copy of the Institution’s funding approval or confirmation of registration from the MAESD. If a Program is approved for Accreditation by the Law Society, notice of the Accreditation will be provided to the MAESD. At that time, the MAESD will decide whether or not to approve the Program.

2.4 Review of Submitted Application Package

The Law Society will initially conduct a technical review of the Application to ensure that it has been completed in accordance with the Program Requirements and Application Procedure section and that it contains the basic required elements of an Accredited Program. 

If, based on the technical review, the Law Society determines that the Institution has failed to meet the basic Application requirements (e.g., the Application contains serious or significant errors or inaccuracies; the Application is incomplete; course assessments have not been included; there are no Faculty Members or insufficient Faculty Members listed; or the Application fee has not been rendered), the Institution will be notified by letter of the deficiencies and the Application will be denied. The denial letter will be copied to the MAESD.

If the Application has been correctly completed and a full review is warranted, the Law Society will provide a letter of acknowledgement to the Institution. Each Application that successfully passes the technical review will undergo a full review of its contents, as set out in the Program Requirements and Application Procedure section.

If a full review of the Application reveals that the Program does not meet one or more of the Accreditation requirements (e.g., the Compulsory Legal Courses do not meet each of the competencies required for each Compulsory Legal Course, as set out in Form 3), the Law Society may decline the Application. 

If the full review of the Application reveals that additional information or revisions are required to complete the Application or to complete the full review assessment, the Law Society will notify the Institution in writing and will provide specific details regarding the information that is required to complete the review process. The Institution will be given an opportunity to respond, and the Law Society will complete its review when the additional requested information is provided.

The Law Society’s decision regarding the approval or denial of an Application is final. There is no appeal. Where an Application fails a technical or full review of the Application, the Application fee is non-refundable. Similarly, an Accreditation or Reaccreditation fee is non-refundable if a Program is later discontinued by the Institution, has its status as an Accredited Program suspended or terminated by the Law Society, or has its institutional registration or Program approval suspended or terminated by the MAESD.

The Law Society’s accreditation review consists of a paper-based review, as well as other activities, which may include:

  • Conducting document searches: Document searches may include the retrieval of data about the current state of programming within the Institution, program business cases, complaints, critiques or MAESD incident reports.
  • Conducting site visits: Site visits may be used to capture details of actual instructional performance, facilities and resourcing that an Institution may allocate to support an Accredited Program.
  • Performing interviews: Interviews may be used to obtain in-depth information from Institution graduates, students, proposed or existing Faculty Members and others on the quality of a proposed Program and the capability of the Institution to deliver an Accredited Program.
  • Using subject matter experts: Reports of subject matter experts may be utilized to ensure conclusions are objective and that Program proposals are feasible and beneficial and meet Accreditation requirements.
  • Conducting other research: Other tools, such as paralegal education market surveys or professional demographics, may be used to acquire information related to an Institution’s proposed Program.

Institutions that have received Accreditation for their Program are required to offer the Accredited Program to students and have the required minimum Cohort begin the Accredited Program no later than 12 months after the Application’s approval date to ensure that the information in the Application remains current with the Institution’s offering. The Law Society will not provide Accreditation for Programs more than 12 months in advance of the Accredited Program’s planned initial offering date. An invoice for the Accreditation Fee will be issued upon Accreditation.

An up-to-date list of all Accredited Programs is published on the Law Society’s website at www.lsuc.on.ca.

Institutions whose proposed Programs have been previously declined Accreditation are permitted to reapply for a proposed Program without restriction; however, each Application is considered a new application and all formal requirements, including payment of the Application fee, must be met with each submission.

2.5 Failure to Offer Accredited Program

Where an Institution does not successfully commence offering an Accredited Program to a Cohort within 12 months following the Application’s approval date, the Institution’s Accreditation automatically expires. Institutions whose Accreditation expires under this section are permitted to reapply without restriction; however, each Application is considered a new application and all formal requirements, including payment of the Application fee, must be met with each submission. For information on refunds, please see “Application and Accreditation Fee Schedule”.

2.6 Multiple Campus Locations

If an Institution wishes to offer a Program at multiple campus locations, a separate Application must be provided for each proposed campus location. Guidelines for these Applications are set out in the Program Requirements and Application Procedure section. Similarly, if an Institution wishes to expand its existing Accredited Program offerings by offering the Program at an additional campus location, a separate Application must be completed for that proposed new location. Approval of the Program at the additional campus location must be obtained from the Law Society before the Program can be offered at the new location. An Application fee is payable for each campus location seeking Program Accreditation.

If the Institution wishes to cease delivery of an Accredited Program at one or more of its campus locations or to consolidate multiple campus location offerings due to the Institution’s inability to meet the requirements of the Accreditation Documents or for other reasons, the Institution must notify the Law Society before any Accredited Program is discontinued.

Please note the obligations on the Program Coordinator in respect of multiple campus locations, under the heading “Program Coordinator and Field Placement Coordinator”.

Synchronization Requirement for Multiple Campuses

Where an Institution offers an Accredited Program at multiple campus locations, the Accredited Programs must be offered in a synchronous manner across the campus locations. Institutions are still required to submit a separate Application for Accreditation or Reaccreditation for each campus location.

The curriculum, assessments and policies of each Accredited Program should be managed centrally by the Program Coordinator.

Intake Dates and Sessions must be synchronized across the Accredited Programs. For example, if Campus A has an Intake Date of October 1 for the afternoon Session of the Accredited Program, all other campus locations offering an afternoon Session of the Accredited Program must schedule their Intake Dates on the same date (or one or two business days thereafter). Each campus location is permitted two Intake Dates per Session per year.

Intake Dates may not be rescheduled. If an Institution skips an Intake Date, the only other permissible Intake Dates are those the Institution has declared to the Law Society in the Annual Declaration Form. See “Cohort Composition and Intake Dates”.

2.7 Application and Accreditation Fee Schedule

Application and Accreditation Fees

Fee* ($)

Application Fee for Accreditation

500

Application Fee for Additional Campus Location

500

Accreditation Fee

4,500

Additional Campus Accreditation Fee (per campus location)

1,500

 *All fees are subject to applicable taxes.

Application fees are due at the time of Application and should be paid by cheque, or by direct deposit/transfer or other electronic transfer of funds, payable to The Law Society of Upper Canada. The Application fee is non-refundable. If an Institution submits an Application but fails to remit the required fee with the Application, it will result in a technical failure of the Application and the remittance of a denial letter to the Institution.

If the Application is declined due to technical deficiencies or the Application is denied after a full review, and the Institution chooses to submit another Application, each subsequent Application is subject to an additional Application fee.

An invoice for the Accreditation or Reaccreditation fee will be issued upon Accreditation or Reaccreditation. A notice for Reaccreditation will be sent by the Law Society at an appropriate date well in advance of the Institution’s requirement to submit a Reaccreditation Application, for each Accredited Program.

Institutions accredited for the first time who determine that they will not offer the Accredited Program have 12 months after receiving Accreditation to request a refund of the Accreditation Fee. Once a refund is requested, the Institution’s Accreditation is automatically terminated. For all refund requests, a minimum administration fee of $700 (+HST) will be levied, plus $190 (+HST) for each additional campus location. This refund does not apply to an Institution that has previously offered an Accredited Program at any campus location.

All fees relating to Accreditation are due by the date specified in the invoice, or, if no date is specified, within 30 days of the invoice date. Failure to remit monies owed by the due date may result in consequences for a Program's Accreditation status and may result in notification to the MAESD.

2.8 Changes to a Program

Administrators and Program Coordinators who govern the delivery of an Accredited Program must notify the Law Society in writing of any Major Change (see definitions) to the Accredited Program as soon as possible prior to the change so that the Law Society can determine if the change is permissible within an Accredited Program. Addition to or removal of individual Faculty Members does not need to be reported to the Law Society.

Institutions must use the Major Change Form (Form 6) for this purpose.

2.9 Declarations

In addition to the requirement to notify the Law Society of any Major Change to an Accredited Program, Institutions are required to submit the following declarations with respect to Accreditation in accordance with the stated time frames:

Annual Declaration

By December 31 of each year, Institutions must attest to their Program’s compliance with the requirements set out in the PEPAP and declare their Program’s two Intake Dates for each Session for the following calendar year. Where the Program Coordinator manages more than one campus location, the annual declaration must also include details of the activities undertaken by the Program Coordinator at each campus location to superintend the Accredited Program, both for administrative and teaching functions (see “Program Coordinator and Field Placement Coordinator”).

Institutions must use the Annual Declaration Form (Form 7) for this purpose. 

Cohort Composition Declaration

Six weeks before a new Intake Date, the Institution must declare the specific date (including the month, day and year), specific Session (e.g., full-day, morning, afternoon or evening) and number of students enrolled for that Intake Date. Only individuals formally enrolled count toward the minimum Cohort requirement — interested individuals/prospects do not. When an Institution declares a Cohort of fewer than 10 students six weeks before the Intake Date, the Institution will be served with a standard notice affording the Institution additional time to meet the enrollment minimum prior to the Cohort’s Intake Date. If 10 students have not been enrolled one week prior to the Intake Date, the Institution must notify the Law Society and the planned Cohort must be ceased by the Institution. Proposed Cohorts that do not meet the minimum size of 10 students one week prior to commencement are not eligible to proceed. There is no standard form for the Cohort composition declaration. An email with the required information sent to paralegaleducation@lsuc.on.ca will suffice.

Cohort Attrition Declaration

If, as a result of attrition after an Accredited Program’s Cohort has commenced the Accredited Program, the size of the Cohort drops below the minimum of 10 students, the Institution must notify the Law Society of this Major Change immediately, using the Major Change Form. As part of its notification, the Institution must provide the Law Society with: 

  • any relevant information on how the attrition impacts the effectiveness, efficiency and integrity of the Accredited Program until the intended date of completion of paralegal studies for the Cohort; and
  • the Institution’s recommendation regarding the Cohort’s continuation.

The Law Society will review occurrences of Cohort attrition on a case by case basis. The information provided by the Institution will be used by the Law Society to make any decision regarding its continuation (see “Cohort Composition and Intake Dates”). There is no standard form for the Cohort attrition declaration. An email with the required information sent to paralegaleducation@lsuc.on.ca will suffice.

Cohort Completion Declaration

For each Cohort finishing its studies, the Institution must declare to the Law Society the number of students who completed the academic portion of the Accredited Program. If the Institution’s field placements take place at the end of the Accredited Program, this declaration should be made at the conclusion of the Cohort’s in-class studies. The declaration must reflect the number of students in a given Cohort who successfully completed the mandatory coursework that forms the curriculum for the Accredited Program, and not necessarily the number who graduated. This declaration must be made for each Cohort within two weeks of each Cohort’s completion of such mandatory coursework and must include the period of the Cohort’s Session (e.g., full-day, morning, afternoon, evening).

There is no standard form for the Cohort completion declaration. An email with the required information sent to paralegaleducation@lsuc.on.ca will suffice. 

 2.10 Audit Policy

Accredited paralegal education programs will be audited at periodic intervals, but no less frequently than once in the first three years from the date of Accreditation and at least once every five years thereafter. As noted by Convocation in 2013, and as set out in the Accredited Paralegal Education Programs Audit Policy and Framework, audits help ensure compliance with the goals, criteria, and standards of paralegal education programs. Audits also promote consistency of practice among Institutions offering paralegal education programs and help ensure that students are exposed to and develop the knowledge and skills required to provide legal services to the public.   An Accredited Program site visit will be conducted to validate the information submitted by each Institution and to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of the Accredited Program’s content and processes. 

The audit process site visit constitutes a comprehensive review that may result in:

  • confirmation of the apparent compliance, effectiveness and efficiency of the Accredited Program;
  • identification of deficiencies and required corrective measures; or
  • a decision regarding Accredited Program continuation.

Program Coordinators and Institution administrators will be required to verify that the Institution is maintaining the mandatory requirements of an Accredited Program. The Law Society’s audit team will request updated information regarding the Accredited Program prior to conducting a site visit at the Institution (note that, where there are multiple campus locations, multiple site visits may be conducted).

The site visit may consist of, but is not limited to, the following activities:

  • meetings with the Program Coordinator and the Institution’s and/or Program’s senior administrators;
  • meetings with a representative group of students;
  • meetings with Faculty Members;
  • class observations;
  • a tour of the facilities, including the library, computer labs and classrooms, if appropriate;
  • meetings with key staff, such as the Field Placement Coordinator; and
  • a review of records, such as samples of student work.

A draft agenda for the site visit will be sent to the Program Coordinator when the audit is scheduled. For more detailed information regarding the audit process, please see the Audit Policy and Framework, available on the Law Society’s website at www.lsuc.on.ca.

An invoice for the applicable audit fees will be issued to each Institution upon completion of the audit site visit. Additional fees may be incurred by the Institution for follow-up visits to address non-compliance with mandatory requirements or Accredited Program quality concerns. These fees are set out in the Audit Fee Schedule.

2.11 Audit Fee Schedule

Audit Fees

Fee* ($)

Program Audit Fee

4,500

Additional Campus Audit Fee (per campus location)

1,500

Audit Revisit Fee (non-compliance and remediation)

2,000

*All fees are subject to applicable taxes.

Audit fees are due by the date specified in the invoice, or, if no date is specified, within 30 days of the invoice date and should be paid by cheque, or by direct deposit/transfer or other electronic transfer of funds, payable to The Law Society of Upper Canada. The audit fee is non-refundable.

The Institution must make payments by the deadline stated in the invoice to maintain the Institution’s Accreditation (i.e., status as an Accredited Program provider). Delinquent accounts may also be drawn to the attention of the MAESD.

 2.12 Program Checks

The Law Society reserves the right to engage in Program Checks during periods when an Accredited Program may not be scheduled for a comprehensive review through the audit process site visit. The Law Society may conduct a Program Check when complaints or other information is received that indicates that an Accredited Program may not be fulfilling the standards and criteria in the Accreditation Documents.

Program Checks permit the Law Society to engage in ongoing monitoring of an Accredited Program and address concerns that may arise. The possible outcomes of a Program Check are:

  • moderate assurance that the Accredited Program is compliant and generally effective;
  • identification of problems and recommendations for solutions; or
  • identification of problems and recommendations for more extensive review.

Normally, a Program Check will not result in fees being incurred by the Institution. However, in situations where a Program Check uncovers deficiencies in an Institution’s Accredited Program that warrant a formal audit being initiated, applicable audit fees will be charged to the Institution upon completion of the audit site visit.

2.13   Reaccreditation

Program Accreditation and Reaccreditation are granted in five year increments. The Law Society will initiate the Reaccreditation process at the appropriate time. If the Institution wishes to continue to deliver the Accredited Program, it will be required to complete a new Application seeking Reaccreditation. Additional guidelines concerning Reaccreditation may be found in the Program Requirements and Application Prodecure section of the Accreditation Documents. The Institution must comply with the Law Society’s Reaccreditation process to maintain the Institution’s Accreditation (i.e., status as an Accredited Program provider). If Reaccreditation is not sought by the Institution, or if it is not granted by the Law Society, the Law Society will assist the Institution to determine a date by which students will have graduated from the Accredited Program. The Program will then be removed from the Law Society’s listing of Accredited Programs.

Reaccreditation Fees

Fee* ($)

Reaccreditation Fee (every five years)

3,500

Additional Campus Reaccreditation Fee
(per campus location, every five years)

950

*All fees are subject to applicable taxes.

The Law Society will issue an invoice for the applicable Reaccreditation fees. All fees relating to Reaccreditation are due by the date specified in the invoice, or, if no date is specified, within 30 days of the invoice date. Failure to remit monies owed by the due date may result in consequences for a Program's Accreditation/Reaccreditation status and may result in notification to the MAESD.

2.14   Program Expiry Due to Dormancy, Discontinuation and Change of Location

At any time, if 12 months pass without a new Cohort in an Accredited Program at an Institution’s campus location, and there is at the end of the 12-month period no other Cohort in progress in the Accredited Program at the campus location, the Program at the campus location is dormant and Accreditation at that campus location is deemed by the Law Society to expire automatically. No new students may be enrolled in the Accredited Program at the campus location once Accreditation has expired as a result of dormancy. For Institutions offering an Accredited Program at multiple campus locations, only the Accredited Program at the dormant campus location expires.

The Institution must notify the Law Society in writing if it intends to discontinue an Accredited Program (at one or more locations). If a paralegal Cohort is in the midst of its studies at the time of the notice, the Institution must specify the date that the Cohort will complete its studies and must provide a comprehensive plan describing how Accredited Program quality and quantity standards will be maintained until the Cohort’s graduation. No new students may be enrolled in the Accredited Program after the Institution sends the notice of discontinuation.

If the Institution wishes to subsequently restart a dormant or discontinued Program, the Institution must restart the process for Accreditation for the Institution or campus location, as applicable, including payment of the applicable fees.

Expiry and discontinuation information will be indicated on the Law Society’s website.

Where an Institution moves the location for an Accredited Program (e.g., to a new building in close proximity to the existing location), such move may not necessarily constitute the discontinuation of an Accredited Program; however, the Major Change Form (Form 6) must be completed and the Law Society will determine whether the change in location constitutes the discontinuation of an Accredited Program. Where the move is determined to constitute discontinuation of an Accredited Program (and not merely a move of location), the Institution must restart the process for Accreditation for the Institution or campus location, as applicable, including payment of the applicable fees.

2.15 Program Accommodations

The Law Society expects all Institutions offering Accredited Programs to discharge their obligations to students under the Human Rights Code in accordance with Ontario law.


3. Program Requirements and Application Procedure

3.1 Academic and Field Placement Requirements

An Accredited Program must offer a minimum of 830 program hours, comprising the following:

  • 590 instructional hours in Compulsory Legal Courses;
  • 120 hours of field placement/practicum work experience; and
  • 120 instructional hours in additional courses that relate to a paralegal’s permitted scope of practice or support becoming a well-rounded paralegal graduate.

Compulsory Legal Courses must be within a paralegal’s permitted scope of practice (see section 6 of By-Law 4 under the Law Society Act for the areas within the permitted scope of practice) and must meet the competencies set out in Form 3. The field placement/practicum must also meet the competencies set out in Form 3.

In respect of the 120 instructional hours in additional courses, an Institution is permitted to offer additional legal courses exclusively, in place of general education courses. Any additional legal course provided cannot fall outside of a paralegal’s permitted scope of practice. Alternatively, the Institution may increase the hours of the Compulsory Legal Courses to a total equal to or greater than 120 hours above the minimum 590 Program hours. A combination of additional legal/non-legal courses and augmented Compulsory Legal Course hours may also be implemented to satisfy the requirement.

The Compulsory Legal Courses, and the minimum instructional hours for each Compulsory Legal Course, are set out below.

 Compulsory Legal Course List and Minimum Instructional Hours

Compulsory Legal Course Name

Minimum
Instructional Hours

Administrative Law

30

ADR – Alternative Dispute Resolution

30

Advocacy

30

Communication/Writing

20

Criminal/Summary Conviction Procedure

30

Employment Law

30

Ethics and Professional Responsibility

30

Evidence and the Litigation Process

40

Introduction to the Legal System

40

Legal Accounting

30

Legal Computer Applications

30

Legal Research/Writing

30

Practice Management/Operating a Small Business

40

Provincial Offences/Motor Vehicle Offences

40

Residential Landlord and Tenant Law

30

Small Claims Court

40

Torts and Contracts

30

Tribunal Practice and Procedure

40


Delivery Format

The Accredited Program must be delivered in a format that allows students to study legal principles in context. To satisfy this requirement, Substantive Law Courses must be delivered concurrently with at least one (or preferably two) other courses. Semesters that include a minimum of two Compulsory Legal Courses or modular systems where students alternate course material morning/afternoon or during the week are acceptable formats to satisfy the requirement. This requirement must be satisfied for each Session of the Accredited Program that the Institution chooses to offer.

Online or remote delivery of the Program is not permitted.

Course Sequencing

The curriculum must be covered in a logical order in light of the subject matter of each course, with foundational courses as prerequisites and with more advanced courses being scheduled towards the latter portion of the Accredited Program. The field placement should normally be scheduled with advanced courses or after completion of the Compulsory Legal Courses. A recommended sequence is as follows:

Primary

  • Introduction to the Legal System
  • Legal Computer Applications
  • Communication/Writing
  • Legal Research and Writing

Secondary

  • Torts & Contracts
  • Criminal/Summary Conviction Procedure
  • Provincial Offences/Motor Vehicle Offences
  • Administrative Law
  • Employment Law
  • Residential Landlord and Tenant Law
  • Small Claims Court
  • Tribunal Practice and Procedure
  • Legal Accounting
  • Ethics and Professional Responsibility
  • Practice Management/Owning and Operating a Small Business

Advanced

  • ADR – Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Advocacy
  • Evidence and the Litigation Process

The courses may be provided in any order within these sections; however, the primary courses should be considered prerequisites and offered first in the Accredited Program. The advanced courses should be offered at the end of the Accredited Program, to build on learning from previous courses. One or two courses from the secondary category may be moved to the schedule of a primary or an advanced semester/module grouping, if the Institution has a valid pedagogical reason to sequence the courses in this way.

Course Names, Structure and Competency Coverage

Institutions may use different names for the Compulsory Legal Courses but these should not deviate greatly from those set out under the heading “Course Sequencing”.

Each Compulsory Legal Course must satisfy the minimum number of class hours as set out in the chart under the heading “Academic and Field Placement Requirements”. These hours must be Faculty Member-led (including lecture, discussion, group-work, tests, etc.). Hours other than regularly scheduled class time cannot be counted toward the minimum required hours. If the Institution wishes to allocate additional course hours to certain subjects, this is permitted. Certain courses, such as Torts & Contracts, Legal Research and Writing, Evidence and the Litigation Process and others may be separated by their respective subject matter into two courses; however, deviation from the sequencing model should be kept to a minimum.

While individual competencies may receive additional coverage in other courses, each Compulsory Legal Course must provide sufficient instructional time to, and coverage of, all of the required competencies, as set out in Form 3.

3.2 Program Coordinator and Field Placement Coordinator 

To receive and maintain Accreditation, a Program must have a Program Coordinator and a Field Placement Coordinator.

Program Coordinator

The Program Coordinator plays an integral role in the receipt and maintenance of a Program’s Accreditation and is responsible to the Institution and to the Law Society for monitoring, coordinating and controlling Program standards within an Accredited Program. The Program Coordinator is responsible for ensuring that all elements of the Accredited Program meet the Law Society’s requirements at all times. The Program Coordinator should have experience, education or training relevant to the administration of educational programs, the design of instructional systems and the provision of adult education. The Program Coordinator must be a Licensee.

Where the Program Coordinator manages one campus location, the Program Coordinator must teach no more than 20 hours per week in the Accredited Program.

In no event shall a Program Coordinator who manages more than three campus locations teach more than eight hours per week at the Institution.

The Program Coordinator’s responsibilities include:

  • serving as a central coordinating authority for the Institution’s delivery of the Accredited Program;
  • communicating with the Law Society as a primary point of contact for the resolution of any matter relevant to an Accredited Program;
  • coordinating and scheduling Faculty Members (including, e.g., ensuring that a Licensee or Exempted Individual is present in class to teach Substantive Law Courses);
  • ensuring that Faculty Members have the experience, training and subject matter expertise required by the Accreditation Documents;
  • coordinating regular Faculty Member meetings;
  • facilitating periodic classroom observations and monitoring of Faculty Members’ lessons for content, delivery and emphasis on paralegal scope of practice in accordance with the Accreditation Documents;
  • overseeing the field placement portion of the Accredited Program (e.g., ensuring that prospective Field Placement Hosts have been confirmed as appropriate hosts and prospective Field Placement Supervisors meet the requirements set out in the Accreditation Documents);
  • maintaining quality control over the curriculum and assessments to ensure that they are current and valid;
  • managing the coherent and consistent implementation of an effectively designed curriculum and effective assessments; 
  • assisting with the acquisition of effective instructional resources to support the delivery of the Accredited Program within the Institution; and
  • ensuring that the Accredited Program produces graduates who have adequately mastered the required competencies in order to support their continued progression in the licensing process. 

Where an Institution offers an Accredited Program at multiple campus locations and the Program Coordinator is not on-site at each campus location full time, the Program Coordinator or Institution must appoint a faculty head at each campus location to oversee the Accredited Program on a day-to-day basis. The Institution must also ensure that the Program Coordinator is sufficiently involved in the core operations of the Accredited Program at all campus locations to maintain the quality of the Accredited Program (sufficient involvement may be assessed based on frequency of attendance at each campus location, activities performed at each campus location, knowledge of and interaction with campus students and faculty, etc.). Each faculty head must be a Licensee, be made known to students, administrative staff and other faculty as the Accredited Program faculty head for the campus location, and report to the Program Coordinator on a regular basis.

Where a Program Coordinator is prohibited from conducting periodic classroom observations due to a collective agreement or other agreement regulating the terms and conditions of Faculty Members’ work in the Program, the Institution must ensure that periodic classroom observation is conducted by the individual designated to perform classroom observation under that agreement.

Field Placement Coordinator

The Field Placement Coordinator plays an integral role in the maintenance of the field placement program, subject to the oversight of the Program Coordinator who retains ultimate responsibility for the entire Accredited Program for the Institution. The Field Placement Coordinator must:

  • communicate field placement requirements to students;
  • secure Field Placement Hosts and Field Placement Supervisors for students well in advance of the start of a field placement;
  • finalize arrangements with Field Placement Hosts (including verification of the Field Placement Supervisor’s status (in the case of a Licensee, with the Law Society; in the case of a Licensee Equivalent, with such other entity as is appropriate in the circumstances));
  • monitor the day to day operations of the field placement program on behalf of the Program Coordinator; and
  • respond to issues from students, Field Placement Hosts and Field Placement Supervisors.

While students are expected to be reasonably cooperative (e.g., by preparing résumés; identifying to the Field Placement Coordinator, upon request, their area of interest; making themselves reasonably available for interviews; behaving professionally at interviews; and making themselves reasonably available to potential Field Placement Hosts to perform work), it is the responsibility of the Institution to secure the field placements for students in the Accredited Program. The Institution must notify students in writing before the Intake Date if there are limits on the types of Field Placement Hosts it is able to secure (e.g., limited to one or two areas within the paralegal scope of practice).

3.3 Cohort Composition and Intake Dates

A minimum of 10 Accredited Program students is mandatory for each Compulsory Legal Course and for each Cohort of an Accredited Program. This minimum applies to each campus location that offers an Accredited Program (i.e., it does not apply on an overall Institution basis). Each Institution is required to make an annual declaration regarding whether this minimum mandatory student Cohort level continues to be met (or exceeded) throughout the Accredited Program’s offering.

Where a given Cohort falls below the 10-student minimum as a result of attrition, the Institution must immediately notify the Law Society by making a Cohort attrition declaration, as set out under the heading “Cohort Attrition Declaration”. Where this attrition could not have been reasonably anticipated by the Institution based on factors such as the experience of the Institution with student attrition generally or the experience of the Institution with Accredited Program attrition in prior periods, the Law Society will consider whether the goals behind the Cohort minimum requirement are able to be reasonably assured despite the attrition and render a decision to the Institution accordingly. Where, however, a Cohort could reasonably have been expected to fall below the 10-student minimum (e.g., as a result of low enrollment numbers and the Institution’s attrition history), the Institution risks losing Accreditation. For verification purposes, the Law Society may periodically request that the Institution provide a mid-term declaration of compliance.

Institutions are permitted to offer a grouping of non-mandatory courses before or after the Compulsory Legal Courses during which the minimum Cohort size requirement does not apply and/or new students may be added; however, the following conditions must be met:

  • The Accredited Program must contain a minimum of 710 hours of classroom instruction, exclusive of pre- or post-Program studies. These 710 Core Program hours must comprise a minimum of 590 Compulsory Legal Course hours plus 120 hours of additional legal and/or non-legal content.
  • The 10-student minimum must be met at all times for the Compulsory Legal Courses and no student may be enrolled as a deemed member of the Cohort after the start of the Cohort unless that student has received advanced standing in respect of the Compulsory Legal Courses already taken by the Cohort in accordance with the Institution’s advanced standing policy and the requirements of the PEPAP.
  • The pre- or post-Program course group must be a distinct offering from the Core Program and must not include any subject matter within the Compulsory Legal Courses.
  • If fewer than 10 students start their pre-paralegal studies before the Institution’s six-week Cohort composition declaration and the Institution fails to enroll the minimum 10 students at least one week prior to the start of the Core Program, these students will not be able to commence their paralegal studies until a future Intake Date.

The Institution must send written confirmation that the Cohort meets or exceeds the minimum number of 10 students per Cohort to the Law Society at least six weeks prior to each Intake Date, for every Accredited Program offering. Where as a result of the granting of advanced standing there will be some Compulsory Legal Courses that will not have 10 students, the Institution must notify the Law Society in advance, and the Law Society will consider whether the goals behind the Cohort minimum requirement are able to be reasonably assured and render a decision to the Institution accordingly. Where an Institution separates its non-Core Program course offerings from its Core Program course offerings, the Institution’s Cohort composition declaration is due six weeks prior to the start of the Core Program course offering of the Accredited Program.

New Student Intake Dates

Accredited Programs are limited to two Intake Dates per Session per calendar year (see sample Intake Date schedule, below). For example, an Accredited Program with a morning and an evening Session is permitted two Intake Dates for each Session per year. The Institution must maintain documentation that tracks Intake Dates and new registrant numbers and provide these statistics to the Law Society, when requested. The Institution is not permitted to admit new students (unless they have received advanced standing course credit equivalent to the Cohort’s already completed studies) to a Cohort after the Intake Date.

Session Intake #  Intake Date
Morning 1 March 1
Evening 1 June 1
Morning 2 September 1
Evening 2 November 1


These Intake Dates must be consistent for all campus locations where the Accredited Program is offered.

Intake Dates may not be rescheduled. If an Institution skips an Intake Date, the only other permissible Intake Dates are those the Institution has declared to the Law Society in the Annual Declaration Form.

3.4 Individual Course Information

Each Accredited Program curriculum must include all Compulsory Legal Courses and teach, practise and assess all competencies as set out in Form 3. Programs that include legal courses that fall outside of the permitted paralegal scope of practice will not be approved. Please see Section 6 of By-Law 4 under the Law Society Act for areas within the permitted scope of practice.

Individual Course Information Forms must be completed for each Compulsory Legal Course as well as for each course that is not a Compulsory Legal Course, if any, that will be taught as part of the Core Program.

Course Outlines

Institutions must provide to the Law Society a detailed course outline/syllabus for each course that will be offered in the Core Program, as well as all non-Core Program courses offered to satisfy the requirement for 120 additional course hours. The course outline must explain how students are assessed within the course and must include a detailed list of all topics covered and resources to be used in teaching each course (e.g., name and publication date of each textbook). If the course mark includes a percentage allocated for participation, an explanation is required as to the activities that will be considered for this grade.

Information on how the course competencies are taught and assessed must also be included in this detailed outline. Competencies must be identified by number within the instruction schedule for verification within the Accreditation review process.

Where a course upon delivery will deviate more than minimally from the detailed course outline/syllabus (other than in respect of an updated edition of the textbook), the Program Coordinator must notify the Law Society in advance. Such notification may be made by detailed email submitted to paralegaleducation@lsuc.on.ca.

Program Assessment Plan

Institutions must develop an overall Program assessment plan that provides a general overview of the tests and assignments that will be used for the Compulsory Legal Courses during the Accredited Program, when the tests and assignments will normally occur and how the results will be interpreted and used. The Program assessment plan must also provide guidelines on the development of individual tests or assignments, procedures for testing and the means by which results are to be recorded. A Program assessment plan must be provided along with an Application for Accreditation or Reaccreditation.

Specifically, a Program assessment plan must set out:

  • a concept for the formative testing of learner progress within a course;
  • a concept for the summative testing of learner performance on the competencies for a course; and
  • the Institution’s policy for:
    • the assignment and interpretation of grades (letter grades, percentages, pass/fail, what percent or letter grade constitutes a pass, etc.);
    • the maximum time afforded to Faculty Members to mark and provide feedback following formative and summative assessments;
    • the remedial action to be taken where a student does not obtain a passing grade for an assignment, test, exam or course;
    • the manner in which course pass or failure will be determined; and
    • the maintenance of assessment records.
     

A minimum of one sample assessment, preferably a final exam or a major assignment, must be provided with the Application for each Compulsory Legal Course. Course assessments will be reviewed to determine whether they reflect assessment best practices for design and length, are sufficiently detailed, reflect an appropriate level of difficulty to test the student’s knowledge and test the mandatory competencies using fact scenarios and examples that are within a paralegal’s scope of practice.

Assessments used in the Accredited Program must:

  • have an appropriate marking rubric;
  • have a companion answer key;
  • state the maximum time allotted for completion of each assessment (excluding individual cases where additional time is allotted pursuant to an accommodation for a disability);
  • not contain true-or-false and fill-in-the-blank type questions; and
  • specify a timeframe for return of the marked assessment.

Students must be provided with marks and appropriate feedback in a timely manner (e.g., on mid-term assessments, students should receive feedback before they write their final exam for that course; for final assessments, students should receive feedback in sufficient time to enable them to re-register for the same course when it is next offered by the Institution in case the student does not receive a passing grade and in sufficient time to be of value when taking a subsequent course that may build on the competencies associated with the earlier course).

Students must also be afforded the opportunity to review graded assignments and tests with the Faculty Member who instructed the course or, where that is not possible, with a Faculty Member who has familiarity with the subject matter.

 3.5 Faculty Information

 An Accredited Program must have a minimum of two Full Time Faculty Members per campus location. These two Full Time Faculty Members must each be a Licensee and neither can teach more than 50% of the Accredited Program’s courses that form the Core Program. This obligation is in addition to the obligation, as set out in the definition of Full Time Faculty Member, that such Full Time Faculty Members be either (a) full-time employees of the Institution who dedicate the majority of their employment time to the Accredited Program; or (b) contractors or part-time employees of the Institution who each perform a combination of instructional and non-instructional duties in respect of an Accredited Program for no less than 532 hours for each Accredited Program offered to each Cohort.

Faculty Qualifications

Faculty Members who teach Substantive Law Courses are required to be Licensees or Exempted Individuals. As noted in the Definitions, such Faculty Members are required to maintain Active Good Status. Institutions must ensure that Faculty Members meet all aspects of such defined terms and should be cognizant that some individuals, despite meeting these definitions and other requirements set out in the PEPAP, may not be suitable Faculty Members within an Accredited Program. Exempted Individuals must be actively engaged in the provision of legal services during the period when they are acting as Faculty Members. When the Exempted Individual ceases to work in the relevant area, as in the case of retirement, the Exempted Individual is no longer qualified to instruct in an Accredited Program. An example of an Exempted Individual under  By-Law 4 would include an individual performing the duty of prosecutor as defined by the Provincial Offences Act, RSO 1990, c. P.33.

Faculty Members, regardless of whether they provide instruction on Substantive Law Courses or other courses that form part of the Core Program, must have teaching experience or formal training in education (this may include a degree, diploma or certificate program in teaching or adult education). Despite the foregoing, if a prospective Faculty Member lacks teaching experience or formal teaching training, the individual may instruct in the Accredited Program if the individual participates in formal teaching training courses or activities within six months of being hired and continues such activities while still engaged as a Faculty Member until a certificate, diploma or other accreditation is received.

Faculty Members who are Licensees must have at least one year of practice experience in Ontario as a paralegal or lawyer in the subject matter areas that they will be teaching. Concurrent experience does not count toward the one year practice experience requirement. Current Faculty Members already teaching at the Institution who do not meet this requirement may be “grandparented” upon application to the Law Society.

Faculty Members who are Exempted Individuals must have at least one year of practice experience in the subject matter area they will be teaching. Concurrent experience does not count toward the one year practice experience requirement. Current Faculty Members already teaching at the Institution that do not meet this requirement may be “grandparented” upon application to the Law Society.

Monitoring of Faculty Member Qualifications

Institutions are responsible for conducting proper due diligence regarding Faculty Member qualifications and credentials before a Faculty Member is hired to teach in the Core Program. Institutions are also expected to routinely monitor the status of each Faculty Member after the Faculty Member is hired and implement the administrative measures necessary to address the occasions when a Faculty Member’s status (e.g., a Licensee’s status with the Law Society) changes. When a Faculty Member ceases to meet the definition of Licensee or Exempted Individual in the PEPAP (including in respect of status), such Faculty Member is no longer permitted to instruct a Substantive Law Course. In such cases, the Institution shall advise the Law Society of its plans for addressing instructor scheduling and instructional continuity.

Institutions must advise Faculty Members of the above requirements and must require Faculty Members to report immediately to the Institution and the Law Society any status changes that may impact their ability to instruct in an Accredited Program. Should any question or concern arise as to the status or suitability of a Licensee or Exempted Individual to perform instructional roles within an Accredited Program, the Institution must investigate any question or concern raised and take appropriate action in accordance with the results of the Institution’s investigation, including notifying the Law Society of the action to be taken. Additional information on the Law Society’s resources to review the status of a lawyer or paralegal can be found on the Law Society’s website at www.lsuc.on.ca in the Member’s Directory section or by contacting the Law Society directly.

3.6 Field Placements

As part of the Accredited Program requirements, each student must complete a minimum of 120 hours of field placement/practicum work. Field placements can be completed in entities such as:

  • paralegal or law firms;
  • administrative tribunals;
  • government agencies;
  • regulatory bodies;
  • legal aid clinics;
  • collection agencies;
  • courts; and
  • legal departments (government or commercial).

Students must be exposed to areas within the permitted paralegal scope of practice throughout the course of their field placement and must meet the competencies set out in Form 3 for field placements. 

Each field placement must be approved by the Institution prior to the student undertaking it, and a Field Placement Supervisor must be associated with each field placement. The Field Placement Supervisor must supervise and review the student’s field placement activities. The field placement program must be supervised by a Field Placement Coordinator (who may also supervise other field placements within the Institution), but the Program Coordinator is ultimately responsible for ensuring that each field placement is appropriate.

The student and Field Placement Supervisor must evaluate the competencies met by way of a report prepared by the Field Placement Supervisor and signed by both the student and Field Placement Supervisor.
Each Institution must have a paralegal field placement policy that sets out key issues, such as:

  • how field placements are chosen;
  • how field placements are assessed;
  • whether field placements are paid or unpaid, or both;
  • when field placements for a given Cohort will be secured;
  • what students can expect regarding the location and type of field placements and what options are available to them;
  • what measures will be taken in respect of students who are removed from a placement or remove themselves from a placement (e.g., for performance or conduct deficiencies on the part of the student or for other reasons);
  • what deadlines exist;
  • what students are required to do to secure a placement and by what date;
  • what the “critical path” procedure is for placements;
  • what happens where a student does not secure any interviews despite the Institution securing potential placements;
  • what happens where a student fails to receive any placement offers; and
  • how the Institution finalizes arrangements with Field Placement Hosts (including verification of the Field Placement Supervisor’s status with the Law Society or other relevant status).

The Institution must include a copy of the paralegal field placement policy in the Application. Field placement proposals must be provided to assess whether there is sufficient infrastructure for students to properly complete this mandatory portion of an Accredited Program, including secured field placements that offer relevant, within-scope work experience for paralegal students.

Monitoring Field Placement Supervisor Status 

Institutions are required to ensure that Field Placement Supervisors maintain Active Good Status throughout the duration of a field placement. Institutions are required to ensure that prospective Field Placement Hosts have been confirmed as appropriate for a field placement and to implement procedures to monitor a Field Placement Supervisor’s suitability to supervise students during the field placement. Institutions must undertake verification of the status (with the Law Society or other relevant entity) of a Field Placement Supervisor no less frequently than at the start of each student’s placement. Where any contact with the Field Placement Supervisor occurs during the field placement, the Institution must also verify the Field Placement Supervisor’s status at the time of the contact or concern. Should any question or concern arise as to the status or suitability of a Field Placement Supervisor prior to, during or after a field placement, the Institution must investigate any question or concern raised and take appropriate action in accordance with the results of the Institution’s investigation, including notifying the Law Society of the action to be taken.

3.7 Additional Campus Locations

If an Institution wishes to offer an Accredited Program at more than one campus location, and the curriculum or Faculty Members of those Programs differ, a new set of forms must be completed for each campus location. If the only change to the Program at the other campus locations is the complement of Faculty Members and Field Placement Hosts, then only Forms 1A, 1B, 4A and 4B must be completed for each additional campus location that will offer an Accredited Program, and these documents must be provided in a separate binder. The Institution is required to declare the common elements of the Program’s delivery at the different locations, and which policies are applicable to each location. An Application fee is due for each campus location seeking Accreditation or Reaccreditation, per the Fee Schedules set out in the Accreditation Documents.

3.8 Prior Learning Assessment and Transferring Credits

Prior learning assessment may be conducted by an Institution as a means of granting advanced standing within an Accredited Program. The development and articulation of prior learning assessment and advanced standing policies, including in respect of transferring course credits from another Institution, is the responsibility of each Institution. Each Institution must have an appropriate policy in place that is specific to the Accredited Program regarding the provision of prior learning assessments or advanced standing course credit to paralegal students. 

The Institution and its policy must comply with the following requirements: advanced standing course credit for a Compulsory Legal Course can only be given for the same Compulsory Legal Course previously completed by the student in an Accredited Program and advanced standing course credit can only be given for a maximum of 40% of an Accredited Program’s total courses (i.e., Compulsory Legal Courses and other Program courses). Except as specifically provided below, advanced standing cannot be used to reduce the number of hours established under the Accredited Program for field placements and advanced standing cannot be given for prior work experience. Prior work experience may be counted toward field placement hours where an Institution requires more than the minimum number of field placement hours set out in the Accreditation Documents; however, under no circumstances shall the number of field placement hours completed by the student under the supervision of the Field Placement Supervisor during the course of the Accredited Program be less than that set out in the Accreditation Documents. The Institution must provide a copy of the prior learning assessment and advanced standing policies to the Law Society as part of its Application, and will be asked to provide these policies on a periodic basis following Accreditation.

3.9 General Institution Policies

If an Institution engages in practices that may reasonably be expected to affect a student’s relationship with the Law Society (e.g., the submission of documents required to be remitted to the Law Society for examination, licensing or other purposes), the Institution must provide a copy of the policy containing such practices to the Law Society (in the Application or, if the Institution has already received Accreditation, at the request of the Law Society) and provide a copy of the policy containing such practices to each student who enrolls in the Accredited Program. Such policy must set out all relevant details regarding such practices.

3.10 Contact Information

If an Institution has any questions about this process, the Institution may contact the Licensing and Accreditation department at paralegaleducation@lsuc.on.ca.


4. Preparing and Submitting the Application

The procedures set out below for preparing and submitting the Application must be followed.

4.1 Preparing the Application

  1. The following forms must all be completed in their entirety: Form 1A, Form 1B (if applicable), Form 2A, Form 2B, Form 3, Form 4A, Form 4B and Form 5.
  2. The hard copy of the Application must be contained in a 3-ring loose-leaf binder with sequential and numbered tabs.
  3. The name of the submitting Institution must be on the spine and the cover of the binder.
  4. The Application must be prepared using standard 11-point font size and standard weight 8 1/2" by 11" paper.
  5. A dated cover letter prepared by a senior administrator or the (proposed) Program Coordinator confirming that one hard copy and one electronic copy of the completed Application are being sent to the Law Society must be included.
  6. A table of contents must follow the cover letter indicating the contents of each tab and sub-tab.
  7. The Application must be prepared using the standard Accreditation Forms provided by the Law Society.
  8. Where indicated, the standard Accreditation Forms must be accompanied by supporting attachments, including detailed course outlines/syllabi, course assessments, policies and Faculty Member résumés.
  9. The contents of the Application must be tabbed numerically according to the Accreditation Forms. For example, Tab 1 should include Forms 1A and 1B, Tab 2 should include Forms 2A and 2B and the program assessment plan, etc. Required additional documents must be included. For Tab 3, each course should be separated by a labelled sub-tab with the course’s identifying name/number on the tab, with the relevant course outline/syllabus and assessment(s) inserted after each Individual Course Information Form. Tab 6 should contain the prior learning assessment and advanced standing policies and any general Institution policies.
    • Tab 1
      • Form 1A, Application for Paralegal Education Program Accreditation
      • Form 1B, Payment Remittance Form
    • Tab 2
    • Tab 3
      • Form 3, Individual Course Information Form
      • Detailed course outline/syllabus for each course
      • Proposed course assessments, including marking rubric and answer key, maximum time allotted for completion and maximum timeframe permitted for the Faculty Member to return the marked assessment
    • Tab 4
      • Form 4A, Faculty Member List
      • Faculty résumés
      • Form 4B, Faculty Member Course Chart
    • Tab 5
      • Form 5, Field Placement Form
      • Field placement policy (see “Field Placements”)
    • Tab 6
      • Prior learning assessment and advanced standing policies
      • General Institution policies (see “General Institution Policies”), if applicable
  1. Electronic submissions should be delivered to the Law Society on a USB flash drive, along with the hard-copy of the Application.
  2. The electronic version of the Application must be organized in the same manner as the hard-copy (i.e., electronic documents must be combined and organized either as a single PDF document that has been electronically tabbed, or with each tab provided as a single document).

Each Institution must prepare two complete copies of its Application for Accreditation, one copy in a paper format and the other copy electronically.

4.2 Submitting the Application

Submit one hard copy and one electronic copy of the Application to:
Paralegal Education Program Accreditation
Licensing and Accreditation
Professional Development & Competence
The Law Society of Upper Canada
130 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON M5H 2N6