Canadian paralegals do slightly different jobs than what other paralegals in other countries do. In Canada, paralegals are neither just law clerks nor assistants to attorneys. They are considered as legal agents and they could also represent their clients on a lot of legal matters. They are considered as officers of the court and thus making them formal parts of the Canadian justice system. Because of their highly regarded status, they can work as Notary Publics, Commissioners, and Justices of the Peace. By obtaining a paralegal license, paralegals in Canada are allowed to represent their clients in court.
??? Summary criminal matters – Summary conviction offences are considered as less serious than the indictable criminal offences. People who commit summary crimes are punished by being imprisoned for a few days or being forced to pay small fines. The maximum penalty for a summary criminal matter is six months and the maximum fine is only five thousand dollars. Paralegals have to be skilled as lawyers especially if they want their clients to be free from accusations.
??? Traffic tickets – Each province in Canada has a list of drivers and their corresponding traffic violations. This is because traffic laws are handled at a provincial level. After being ticketed on the road, the motorist will be given the chance to plead. Of course, pleading is not possible without the help of a paralegal or a lawyer. Motorists have the chance to show up with their paralegals up to fifteen days. However, this is not really followed since most provincial courts allow motorists to plead up to fifteen days.
??? Accident claims – Automobile insurance is compulsory in most Canadian provinces. Records state that there are more than one hundred and fifty thousand road traffic accidents that happen every year. The bottom line with automobile insurance is that whoever is responsible for the accident is required to pay compensation. The problem in accidents is that no one wants to take responsibility. This is where paralegals appear. They will have to investigate to find out which party is responsible. It is also their job to make sure that their client receives deserved compensation.
??? Landlord-tenant matters – Both Canadian landlords and tenants have their own rights. If one party violates the rights of another, it would be the duty of the paralegal to intercede and settle things. The Ontario Residential Tenancies Act provides the guidelines regarding landlord-tenant matters. Paralegals are experts in this field. They have to since a lot of right violation really occurs between tenants and landowners in Canada. Some of the matters that paralegals have to deal with include privacy, pets, temperature, maintenance, and evictions.
??? Free consultation – Canadian paralegals are very gracious when it comes to legal advice. They offer free consultation especially for those who do not really have money to pay for paralegal services.
These are the areas that Canadian paralegals usually specialize in their service provision. As you can see, their duties and obligations are really different from those of paralegals in the United States and other countries.