June 1, 2007 by
The Law Society of Upper Canada is now responsible in law for regulating independent paralegals, including Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS) representatives.
FSCO has been consulting with the law society on how the transition to paralegal regulation by the law society will take place.
Currently, SABS representatives are required under the Insurance Act to file a declaration with the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) confirming they have met the requirements of the Insurance Act and agree to adhere to the Code of Conduct issued by the Superintendent of Financial Services.
“The requirements that SABS representatives comply with regulations under the Insurance Act and file certain information with FSCO will continue after May 1, 2007,” FSCO noted in a posting on its web site. “FSCO will continue to monitor and enforce compliance with these regulations for as long as they remain in force.”
Pending regulatory changes by the Ontario government, this will remain the case until May 1, 2008, FSCO noted.
As of May 2008, the law society will become fully responsible for the regulation of SABS representatives.
Complaints concerning the actions of paralegals arising on or after May 1, 2008, will be directed to the Law Society, although FSCO will retain jurisdiction in respect of contraventions of the Insurance Act and its regulations, including unfair and deceptive acts or practices.
From May 1, 2007, to Oct. 31, 2007, the law society will accept applications for paralegal licences from paralegals already practicing in permitted areas of practice. These will be known as “grandparent” applications.
The grandparent application will apply to paralegals that have worked full time providing legal services for at least three years. Eligible applicants will be required to pass a licensing exam to be given in early 2008.
FSCO said it expects the law society to be issuing paralegal licences by May 1, 2008.
Also, changes will be made to the dispute resolution forms to properly identify licensed paralegals involved in a claim.
The Law Society will be considering “transitional” applicants who have less than three years work experience as a paralegal and have met certain training criteria.
Licence application forms as well as information on the rules, requirements and procedures are available at the Law Society website at www.lsuc.ca.