Lawyers and Paralegals
Often times clients wonder who will be able to better suit their needs, lawyer or paralegal. All other things being equal, you should always retain the most experienced and knowledgeable licensed professional in a particular field (specialty). Lawyers hold an “all inclusive” license, meaning that they are allowed to act on any matter, in any Ontario court or Tribunal if they have the requisite knowledge and skills.
Paralegals’ scope of practice is restricted to Small Claims Court, Traffic and other offences heard in Provincial Offences Court Hearings, and to some matters before tribunals (e.g. the Landlord and Tenant Board or the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, LAT on certain levels only), Minor criminal charges under the Criminal Code heard at the Ontario Court of Justice.
Unlicensed individuals are not likely to be professionally trained or experienced in dealing with Canadian legal system. What is worse, is that they do not carry liability insurance. Their opinions have no or little weight in courts and tribunals.
Credentials of all professionals can be checked at the corresponding licensing bodies.
All physicians who wish to practice medicine in Ontario must be licensed by the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons. Check the CPSO online Directory for up-to-date information. Please note that a psychiatrist is a medical doctor who must be licensed by the same College.
Medical Rehabilitation Professionals
Licensing requirements also apply to vast majority of rehabilitation professionals that are involved in your care. Massage therapists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, nurses, speech and language pathologists, osteopaths, social workers all must maintain current Ontario professional license.
Practice of psychotherapy in Ontario as of today continues to be in the public domain and the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 does not restrict who can provide psychotherapy services. However if you intend to rely on records of your psychotherapist in litigation, we strongly recommend that you use either a licensed psychologist or a professional registered with a College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario.
Personal Support Workers are unregulated in Ontario. If you require assistance of a support worker AND will be relying on his or her evidence in the course of litigation you must hire an individual who completed a PSW Certification Course and has a PSW certificate. Professional who hold either RN or RPN license often also able to provide services of a support worker. Please check the website of Personal Support Network for more information.
Insurers, Brokerages And Fake Pink Slips
Insurance fraud takes on different forms. Unfortunately there are instances where insurance policy has been prepared by a “broker” who operates without license or under a suspended license. We have also seen several cases where people were issued phony pink slips, naming insurance companies that are either not licensed in Ontario or simply do not exist. Please consult Financial Services of Ontario (FSCO) websit e to verify whether insurance company listed on your policy is in fact licensed to operate in Ontario.