Paralegal Election nomination packages available
Nomination packages are now available online for the second province-wide election for the five paralegal members of the Paralegal Standing Committee.
Nominations will close on January 17, 2014 and voting will take place from the second week in March to March 31, 2014 via an electronic online voting system.
Currently, two of the five paralegal committee members are elected as benchers (directors), who fully participate in and vote at Convocation.
Following election reforms adopted by the Law Society in April 2013, Ontario Attorney General John Gerretsen introduced amendments to the Law Society Act on October 1, 2013, that will result in all five paralegals being elected as benchers.
Bill 111, An Act to amend the Law Society Act and the Solicitors Act has passed first reading in the Legislature. (See Hansard Transcripts for October 1, 2013.) information on the progress of the legislation will be provided when available.
Election nomination packages include:
• Candidate Instructions
• Nomination Form
• Part VII.1 of By-Law 3
• Frequently Asked Questions
• Sample Candidate Page
A fillable Candidate Page is also available.
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Quick paralegal election facts
Here are some quick facts for paralegals who may be interested in running in the Paralegal Standing Committee election:
• All Ontario licensed paralegals are eligible to vote and to run as candidates in the Paralegal Standing Committee election, unless their licences are suspended.
• Each candidate running for election must be nominated by at least five licensed paralegals whose licences are not suspended.
• Licensed paralegals who are elected play an important role in the regulation and governance of their profession through the Paralegal Standing Committee, which develops policy options relating to the governance and regulation of paralegals. Members also participate in the hearing and appeal process for paralegals regarding conduct, capacity and competence matters.
• Nomination forms and accompanying material must be received by the Office of the Election Officer at Osgoode Hall by 5 p.m. EST on January 17, 2014. Original nomination forms with original signatures should be submitted, but faxed and electronic copies will be accepted.
• Candidates are advised to submit their nomination material well in advance of the deadline so that any problems with the material can be addressed prior to the close of nominations.
• Questions about the election process can be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org.
• The length of term of office is four years (April 1, 2014 – March 31, 2018).
• Electors will receive voting instructions via email.
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Election Eligibility Criteria
To be eligible to run for election, paralegals must:
• Be a paralegal who is licensed by the Law Society to provide legal services and whose licence is not suspended;
• Have a business address (or home address if there is no business address) that is in Ontario and on record with the Law Society;
• Be 18 or more years of age;
• Not be an undischarged bankrupt;
• Consent to be a candidate.
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Free webcast for interested candidates
The Law Society is offering a free webcast on November 25, 2013, from 5 to 6 p.m. for paralegals interested in being a candidate in the Paralegal Standing Committee election.
The Law Society’s Election Officer will provide an overview of the nomination process, election procedures, the committee’s role, time commitments and remuneration.
Details of the advance online registration are available here.
The webcast will also be recorded and archived.
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Special RCIC admissions stream for licensed paralegals
The Law Society of Upper Canada and the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) are working together on a special, streamlined admissions process for licensed paralegals who want to become Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCIC).
Paralegals licensed by the Law Society may represent a client before the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) and may provide legal services to clients for matters relating to an IRB hearing. However, other immigration-related legal services not connected to an IRB hearing are outside of the paralegal scope of activities, and federal law requires immigration professionals to be registered with and regulated by the ICCRC.
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Upcoming enhancements to CPD reporting process
In response to user feedback, the Law Society will be streamlining the CPD section of the Portal to simplify the process for reporting CPD Hours.
Highlights of the enhancements include:
- A single free-form entry screen for all programs and activities
- No need to search through a listing of professionalism programs
- Fewer steps and improved navigation.
The enhancements will be made in early 2014. As a result, the CPD section of the Portal will be unavailable from January 1 to 19, 2014.
Treasurer's Advisory Group on Access to Justice
The Treasurer’s Advisory Group on Access to Justice (TAG) is hosting an invitation-only symposium on October 29.
Leaders and decision-makers committed to access to justice issues will gather to discuss how to move forward more strategically and collaboratively.
More information about TAG is available online.
Important information for paralegal partners in combined licensee partnerships
Paralegals who provide legal services in partnership with lawyers under combined licensee partnerships will need to obtain professional liability insurance issued by the Lawyers’ Professional Indemnity Company (LAWPRO) for the 2014 policy year (which begins January 1, 2014).
This is a requirement of section 12 of Law Society By-Law 6, [Professional Liability Insurance], which was amended following Convocation’s approval in February 2013.
The new requirement is designed to provide better protection for paralegals and the public, in situations where negligence may occur outside the permitted scope of activity, or for various other reasons.
It also provides consistency in coverage between lawyer and paralegal partners in a firm, minimizing the potential for gaps in coverage and better addressing the shared risks that partners in any type of legal firm face.
All paralegal partners in combined licensee partnerships who have not already contacted LAWPRO, will receive policy and premium amount details directly from LAWPRO, beginning in October 2013.
Questions about the insurance premiums and effective date can be directed to Helen Payne at LAWPRO: email@example.com or 416-596-4612.
Questions about paralegal insurance regulation can be directed to Eric Smith at the Law Society: firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-947-3372.