Ontario regulates paralegals, ‘puts lawyers in charge’

This news is not a surprise, but it does sound like the battle continues:

"Ontario became the first province in Canada to regulate paralegals Thursday, but many in the profession worry they could be forced out of business because they will be regulated by lawyers – the very people they compete against for most of their work.

"The Liberal government had to use its majority to out-vote the Conservatives and New Democrats, who stood in opposition to the Access to Justice Act – a new law that puts the Law Society of Upper Canada in charge of regulating paralegals [PDF link].

"For the first time, paralegals will be required to receive training, carry liability insurance and report to a public body that can investigate complaints.

"’We are really witnessing the birth of a new profession,’ said Attorney General Michael Bryant. ‘Paralegals are joining the ranks of doctors, lawyers and teachers as a regulated and respected profession in Ontario.’

"But the Paralegal Society of Ontario is fearful the Law Society will stop paralegals from providing a low-cost alternative to lawyers for civil cases, incorporations, wills, divorces and other family law disputes.

"’This legislation is going to hurt the public, as they’re going to be limited in choice because it’s going to go back to just being lawyers,’ warned spokeswoman Susan Koprich.’"