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Registration Practices Assessment Report — Revised Summary


In November 2011, Ontario’s Office of the Fairness Commissioner assessed the way the Law Society of Upper Canada   registers people who apply for a licence to practise in Ontario, to ensure that the registration practices are fair and continue to improve.  

This summary of the assessment includes commendable practices that are under way and recommendations for improvement.

The Law Society of Upper Canada is subject to Ontario's fair access law, the Fair Access to Regulated Professions Act, 2006 (FARPA). The law spells out the society's obligation to have transparent, objective, impartial and fair registration methods and requirements.

The Office of the Fairness Commissioner

To encourage accountability under the fair access law, the Office of the Fairness Commissioner (OFC) works with professions’ regulatory bodies to improve the way they register people who apply for professional licences. As a result of the OFC’s work, qualified people, no matter where they were originally trained, will have faster, fairer access to their licence to practise here.

In its work with regulators so far, the OFC has found that they have succeeded in streamlining their registration processes, but they need to do more. For example, regulators need to be more transparent and hold their assessment agencies more accountable for fairness.

To encourage, and hold regulators accountable for, continuous improvement, the OFC assesses their licensing practices in a two-year cycle. This cycle includes recommending improvements where needed and monitoring the bodies’ action plans that address the OFC’s concerns. This approach benefits applicants, the professions and the province.

You can read more about the OFC’s strategy for continuous improvement and its guide for assessments elsewhere on this site.

For more information about this particular assessment, contact the OFC.

Note: The words license, register and certify all refer to authorizing a person to practise a profession.


Commendable Practices

The Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) is demonstrating many commendable practices, in the following areas. (These areas correspond to the sections of the assessment guide, and are derived from the fair access legislation.)

Information for Applicants

  • The LSUC uses a web messaging system to provide secure and personal communication and information-sharing between each candidate and the LSUC. Note: A "candidate" is an applicant who has completed the LSUC's online application form and has paid (or arranged to pay) the application fee.
  • The LSUC provides clear and complete information about licensing requirements, practices and timelines for paralegals, through various means, including the LSUC website (for example, on the Paralegal Licensing Process page) and the Licensing Process Policies for Paralegals document.
  • Candidates are notified of outstanding issues before a decision is made that may prevent their remaining in the licensing process or that may prevent their being licensed. Candidates are contacted immediately through their web messaging account when an application form is filled out incorrectly or if documents are missing.

Timely Decisions, Responses and Reasons

  • When the professional regulation division flags a "good-character" issue, the division involves the candidate immediately and keeps the candidate informed throughout the investigation process.
  • The LSUC responds to applicants' and candidates' enquiries within 24 hours in most cases, and within 48-72 hours during peak periods.

Information on Appeal Rights

  • As part of the hearing process, candidates may ask the LSUC investigation office to disclose information that is being put forward to deny their entry to the profession, and they may contact the LSUC's tribunal office to receive additional information about the appeal process.
  • Although the LSUC must disclose hearing information to candidates through its investigation office, candidates may also contact the LSUC to receive an oral or written explanation of the hearing results or to receive a copy of the order of the hearing panel.


  • The LSUC clearly communicates decisions, exam rules, and timelines involving payment of fees.
  • The LSUC has highly transparent review and appeal processes for decisions about applicants' good character.


  • Content experts, with help from experts in test validation and development, create the LSUC exam questions. The exams measure candidates' knowledge, ability to apply the knowledge, and critical-thinking skills. Evaluations are based on multiple-choice questions and are scored electronically, to ensure consistent marking.



There are no recommendations at this time.