Ontario regulatory developments in the legal profession
underline the validity of APEGGA’s “one act, one association” model
for engineering and geoscience. Lawyers in Ontario voted
late last month to end a 20-year logjam over the regulation
of paralegals – a situation with striking parallels
to APEGGA’s relationship with technologists.
At the urging of Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant,
the Law Society of Upper Canada voted 42-2 to end what one
newspaper called “a wild and wooly era in which paralegals
could simply nail up a shingle and begin practicing overnight.”
The Law Society will draft a regulatory framework for paralegals,
which will likely include provisions for accreditation, scopes
of services offered, a code of conduct and disciplinary procedures.
This is similar to what APEGGA had hoped to do for technologists
under the Kananaskis Model of inclusivity.
The Alberta Society of Engineering Technologists is not a
self-regulatory body and its members are not necessarily
university educated. There is no legal requirement for technologists
to join ASET before they practice.
APEGGA’s contention is that engineers, geoscientists
and related technologists are all part of the same applied
science teams. One act and one association would be a coherent
and efficient system of improving public protection.
In the end, however, the Alberta Government went with the
status quo. That isn’t an option for Ontario lawyers
and paralegals. For 18 months, various legal associations
have tried to find a common ground with the paralegals, after
decades of acrimony.
Last fall, Ontario Chief Justice Roy McMurtry publicly urged
the Ontario Government to proceed with the process of regulating
paralegals. Now that the process has begun, legislation could
be through the Ontario Legislature within the year.