Ontario Lawyers Move Toward
Regulatory Solution

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.

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