Matters in Law Paralegal Services

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What is the permitted scope of practice for paralegals?

The regulatory scheme set out in the Law Society's By-Law 4 permits paralegals to practice in what were already permitted areas of practice. Subsection 6 (2) authorizes licensed paralegals to represent someone:

in Small Claims Court
in the Ontario Court of Justice under the Provincial Offences Act
on summary conviction offences where the maximum penalty does not exceed six months' imprisonment and /or a $5,000 fine
before administrative tribunals, including the Financial Services Commission of Ontario.

A person with a paralegal licence can do the following in the course of representing a client in any of the above-mentioned proceedings:

give legal advice concerning legal interests, rights or responsibilities with respect to a proceeding or the subject matter of a proceeding
draft or assist with drafting documents for use in a proceeding
negotiate on behalf of a person who is a party to a proceeding.

Paralegals 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.

For more information about Paralegals, you can visit the Law Society of Ontario at

Landlord Tenant Board

I had a tenant in arrears and I filed with the Landlord and Tenant Board. The tenant has left the unit, belongings left behind.  Can I keep those or throw them out?

If this means you received an order of termination after a hearing at the Landlord and Tenant Board, and the tenant moved out as a result, then pursuant to S. 41 (1) of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 you may keep, sell or dispose of any remaining belongings left behind by the tenant.

Our tenant has changed the locks to their unit, has not provided us with keys, and is preventing us from entering the unit through using a chain lock on the door. What can we do?

It is an offence under the Residential Tenancies Act for a tenant to change the locks and bar the landlord’s access to the rental unit. A landlord may write a letter to the tenant requesting that the chain lock be removed. If the tenant does not comply, a landlord may contact the Rental Housing Enforcement Unit at the Ministry of Housing at 416-585-7214. They can notify the tenant that he or she is committing an offence under the Act and can be fined. 

If that does not get the tenant’s attention, you can serve an N5 Notice to Terminate Tenancy. When you issue the N5, you have to be as detailed as possible when describing the issues and include dates and times for when the incidents are occurring. The N5 is a 20-day notice but the tenants have the first 7 days to correct the problems (by giving you keys or changing the lock back, in this case). If the problems are not corrected in 7 days, you can file an L2 application at the Landlord and Tenant Board to go to a hearing and ask for the termination of the tenancy.

My rental property has been infested by bed bugs, what are my responsibilities?

The Residential Tenancies Act requires landlords to maintain the property and ensure that it complies with health, safety, housing and maintenance standards. It is usually very difficult to prove how bed bugs were introduced to the rental property, therefore it is up to the landlord to take steps to correct the problem. To ensure the effectiveness of your efforts, a landlord will also need the tenant’s help and co-operation.

*The above answers are not legal advice. If you need legal advice please ensure that you speak with a lawyer or paralegal*