About the Certified Specialist Program

Becoming a Certified Specialist gives you recognition as a leader in your field. The right combination of experience and education provides you with an opportunity to distinguish yourself.

The Certified Specialist Program will help lawyers acquire the requisite skills and knowledge to qualify for certification as a specialist in a given practice area. To that end, each specialty has:

  • learning criteria setting out required procedural and substantive knowledge and skills at the essential, intermediate and advanced levels of activity;
  • detailed experience requirements for certification used to assess a lawyer's eligibility for certification.

Certified Specialist Resources


The learning criteria and standards for certification are grouped by Areas of Specialization.

Qualifications for Certification

You may submit an application for certification when you have:

  • practised for a minimum of seven years prior to the date of the application;
  • had substantial involvement in the specialty area during five of the seven years, i.e.,
    • mastery of substantive law, practices and procedures, and
    • concentration of practice in the specialty area; and
  • complied with the professional standards requirements

Areas of Specialization

  • Bankruptcy and Insolvency Law
  • Citizenship and Immigration Law
    (Immigration/ Refugee Protection)
  • Civil Litigation
  • Construction Law
  • Corporate and Commercial Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Estates and Trusts Law
  • Family Law
  • Health Law
  • Indigenous Legal Issues
    (Rights and Governance/Litigation and Advocacy/Corporate and Commercial)
  • Intellectual Property Law
  • Labour Law
  • Municipal Law
  • Real Estate Law
  • Workplace Safety and Insurance Law

    To review the Standards for Certification and the Learning Criteria for each of these areas of specialization, go to Application Materials.


  • The one time application fee, due with the application package, is $400.00 (plus HST).
  • The annual fee is $375.00 (plus HST) due on January 31 of each year.
  • The annual fee for each additional certificate is $125.00 (plus HST).

Renewal of Certification

Certification is renewed on an annual basis by filling a Certification Annual Report (pdf) attesting to compliance with the Administrative Policies Governing the Certified Specialist Program.

Commitment to Equity

The Certified Specialist Program encourages participation from all qualified applicants, without discriminating on the basis of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, marital status, family status or disability. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19, s. 1; 1999, c. 6, s. 28 (1); 2001, c. 32, s. 27 (1); 2005, c. 5, s. 32 (1); 2012, c. 7, s. 1.

Ethical Standards

Certified Specialists must notify the Certified Specialist Board whenever they fail to meet the minimum standards of their area of specialty at any time during the course of their certification. The Board retains the power to revoke the specialist status where warranted.