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From Shaun D. Harvey

What I Stand For

  1. Progressive governance
  2. Fiscal responsibility
  3. A common sense approach to regulation

Video Summary

Note: The video starts at 0:12.

Progressive Governance

Progressive Governance is governance that looks towards the future and sets policies based on the ever-evolving and complex social systems that require greater and greater specializations in the administration of law. Progressive Governance seeks to adapt to the changes in society and sets policy that anticipates the realities of the modern world with an eye to the future.

Fiscal Responsibility

Fiscal Responsibility means that the LSO has a consistent plan, the resources to address its obligations, and the ability to reach its ideals.

A Common-sense Approach to Regulation

A Common-Sense Approach to Regulation means as an example if you have the skills knowledge, and ability to defend an application or document, you have the skills knowledge, and ability to draft it. A Common-Sense Approach to Regulation requires a rational connection between policy and its foundation or principal objective. We must mean the same thing across the profession when we say words


I have announced my intention to run as a Bencher for the Law Society of Ontario. I believe in being open and transparent with respect to the affairs of the law society. If elected, I will be open and available to communicate with the members of our profession about what is happening at the LSO concerning paralegal interests.

The Bencher Role

The primary duty of a bencher is the protection of the public, but what does that really mean? Protecting the public means acting as gatekeepers as to who can enter the profession. It means setting minimum standards for education, approving curriculums, and ensuring the integrity of licensing process. Protecting the public also means disciplining lawyers and paralegals who breach our codes of conduct, and ensuring that unlicensed individuals are stopped.

Protecting the public DOES NOT MEAN ensuring that paralegals and lawyers can make a profit. It DOES NOT MEAN protecting certain groups of lawyers from financial competition from paralegals.

My objective as a future bencher is to help align expanding the paralegal scope of practice with protecting the public interest and improving access to justice.

What is Access to Justice?

If you ask most lawyers this question, I think they would say access to justice means an expansion of the current legal aid program, or perhaps more integration of technology into the justice system. If you ask a paralegal, they are likely to say improving access to justice means expanding the range of legal services paralegals may provide. If you ask a member of the public, they will most likely say improved access to justice means cheaper legal services and faster response times from the courts and tribunals.

Access to justice means many things depending on your perspective. I believe we will make real progress towards improved access to justice once we recognize a definition of this term that takes each of these perspectives into consideration. I believe access to justice means ensuring the availability of effective, educated, well-trained legal professionals to assist members of the public in navigating our vast and complex legal system. The courts and tribunals have clearly and consistently stated that the right to counsel is not the same as the right to free or cheap counsel. Access to justice is not about price, it is about access to effective legal representation.

It would not be in the public interest to expand the paralegal scope of practice without ensuring that expansion is filled with representatives who are competent.

My Vision for the Paralegal Scope of Practice

The goal is to add a secondary class (P2) of paralegal licenses in addition to the current P1 license. This will make it possible for licensees to start with a P1 license and, through additional education, training, and field placements, work within scopes of practice otherwise inaccessible to paralegals with a P1 license.

Special P2 licenses will enhance the public’s access to justice and protect members of the public from dabblers or licensees with only theoretical knowledge providing legal services without practical experience and/or the supervision of a mentor. It would be reckless to simply expand the scope of practice to areas paralegals have no training and experience in. Using a second license model is a way to bridge the gap, allowing expansion but also protecting the public interest.

For those who still want to keep a more traditional P1 license model, we support this. We seek only to augment the current paralegal licensing procedures to give the public more options for accessing legal services and more protection.

Additional Clearification

The multi-license model would be akin to how the driver's license system works in Ontario. If for example a person qualified for a P2 license then their P1 license would be subsumed into the P2 license. A licensee would only ever hold one license, the difference would be what scope of practice would be permitted in an upgraded license.

A Proposal to Addition the Paralegal Licensing Model

It takes a four-year bachelor's degree, a three-year law degree, and eight months of articling, and successful completion of the bar preparation and examination before one can receive a license to practice law. This process takes more than nine years.

The issue with expanding the current paralegal licensing model is that there is far too much disparity in the educational standards, training, and experience that paralegals are subject to on their path to becoming licensed.

What I propose is the creation of a new, additional license. A P2 license. The P2 license would include all of the scope of a P1 license but with additional scope options. Additional P2 licenses would fall into various silos by area of law: Criminal, Family, Civil Litigation, Real Estate, etc.

A P2 license would be granted to an individual who would then be authorized to provide the full scope of paralegal services by virtue of their P1 license and also offer services in their P2 area of expertise. Each P2 license would include access to the full chain of appeal courts for that particular area of law. Think federal court for immigration appeals and divisional court for LTB and small claims matters.

Proposed Requirements for a P2 license:

  1. Completion of a 3 or 4-year Bachelor of Paralegal Studies
  2. Completion of a four-month work placement in the relevant practice area totaling 640 hours
  3. A licensing exam specifically for that P2 license


  1. 5 years of practical experience as a P1
  2. A full semester of relevant coursework at an accredited school
  3. Completion of a four-month work placement in the relevant practice area totaling 640 hours
  4. A licensing exam specifically for that P2 license

Not everyone who wants to work in criminal law should have to spend 9 years preparing for something they can practically and reasonably learn in 3 years. This new model would allow new people entering the profession an alternative path to becoming a lawyer that would still give them all the resources they need to serve their clients and thrive economically.

Who benefits

Existing lawyers will be able to expand their practices by hiring qualified candidates who specialized training and education. Colleges & Universities will benefit by offering expanded courses and education credentials for each additional P2 license. The public will have more options for service providers while continuing to benefit from regulatory protection.

Key takeaway

I want to see competency-based scopes of practice.

Policy Objectives

  • Expanding resources to help paralegals adapt to the new technology environment in the legal services industry.
  • Advance the cause of adding immigration to the paralegal scope of practice
  • Advance the cause of expanding the Family Law Service Provider (FLSP) license approved by the LSO on December 1, 2022.
  • Advance the cause of adding Divisional Court Appeals to the paralegal scope of practice via the introduction of a P2 license
  • Expand student placement hours and permit court attendances by students
  • Maintain efficient regulation, to ensure stable annual fees
  • Enhancing the educational standards of the paralegal curriculum.
  • Work towards the goal of instituting competency-based licensing frameworks for all areas of legal practice for paralegals.
  • Support anonymous voting for the benchers at on divisive issues convocation
  • Advance the issuance of an expanded P2 license scope that would permit paralegals to practice a full scope of law within a specific vertical silo of legal services.
  • Expand the P1 scope of practice to allow paralegals to do motions in Superior Court for the specific purpose of bringing a matter from Superior to Small Claims.
  • Expand the P1 scope of practice to allow paralegals to make motions in Superior Court for the specific purpose of enforcing injunctive relief, or mandatory orders granted by an Administrative Tribunal (eg.. the LTB).
  • Amend By-Law 13 - 10 (a) to require local law associations to allow paralegals to have access to the local law libraries.

Methodology and Approaches

I believe in building relationships with other benchers, stakeholders, members of the public, and members of our profession. Relationships are the heart of achieving results and moving forward that advance the cause of paralegals and a greater diversity of legal resources for the public.

Values and Principles

  • I believe in being open and transparent in my work as a public servant
  • I believe in being available to those who have questions
  • I believe in setting practical goals that can be measured and to which accountability can be applied.

Community Work

  • Lobbied the Landlord and Tenant Board to add more cases to CanLII
  • Built a publically caselaw encyclopedia for paralegals, lawyers, and the public (Caselaw Ninja)


Recorded Debates

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