Paralegals in Canada are not only given more responsibilities per law, but are seen with a higher regard than in the United States. Canadian law permits a licensed paralegal to handle tasks and provide legal advice to a client in some situations such as:
- Small Claims Court;
- Ontario Court of Justice (under the Provincial Offences Act);
- Summary conviction offences where the maximum penalty does not exceed six months’ imprisonment and /or a $5,000 fine; and
- Administrative tribunals such as the Financial Services Commission of Ontario.
A person with a Canadian paralegal license can represent a client in any of the above-mentioned proceedings:
- Provide legal advice concerning legal interests, rights with respect to a proceeding or the subject matter of a proceeding;
- Draft legal documents for use in a proceeding; and
- Negotiate on behalf of a person who is a party to a proceeding.
Paralegals in Canada are not permitted to appear in Family Court and may not provide legal services that only a lawyer may provide, such as drafting wills or handling real estate transactions or estates.
American paralegals work hard and receive years of education (majority hold a Bachelor’s Degree) to keep up with their attorney superiors; however, many are still not given the credit they deserve. Hopefully, in the near future the US will catch up to other neighboring countries.
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