Diploma in Paralegal Studies
This program will prepare you for a dynamic career in law. Upon completion, you can register for the LSO (Law Society of Ontario) paralegal licensing examinations and practice as a paralegal in the province of Ontario.
This program qualifies for Better Jobs Ontario funding.
Fees & Facts
- Obtain a broad understanding of legal procedures in the pursuit of access to justice in Ontario
- Develop the necessary knowledge and skills to be able to advocate for clients in all Federal and Ontario tribunals, Provincial Offences Court, Small Claims Court, Human Rights tribunal
- Broaden the scope of your career by pursuing opportunities as a Prosecutor in Provincial Offences Court, Justice of the Peace, Duty Counsel at the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board, and become a Decision Maker in all federal and Ontario tribunals
- Gain access to the Toronto legal marketplace through regular exclusive networking events and meet like-minded professionals who will expand your network and give you a leg up on your competition in securing employment after graduation
- Access to 20 + Law Sector Co-Op Partners
- Receive guidance on the Licensing Process with the Law Society of Ontario
- Receive study guidance and Practice Preparation for the Licensing Examination with the Law Society of Ontario
Paralegals in Ontario can earn up to $48/hour*
*According to www.jobbank.gc.ca – Last updated on June 14, 2022
Program eligible for a low-interest loan application with Windmill Microlending Funding
The modules include:
1. Introduction to Law in Canada:
Students will be provided with an overview of the law. Topics will include its purpose, history, rights and freedoms, legal terminology, different types of law, including Property Law, Business Law and Consumer Law, as well as the organization of the Canadian Court System. Students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the Structure of the Canadian government. Students will have acquired an understanding of the legal process and history in Canada. Providing students with a basic understanding of the Constitution and Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a core element of this module. Students will also gain knowledge of the Ontario court system, consumer law and business organizations. In addition, students will be introduced to the Law Society of Ontario application process.
2. Contract Law
Students in this course will acquire a comprehensive understanding of the legal principles and theory applicable to the law of contracts, and will learn to identify the elements and legal criteria required for binding contracts. The course will teach students to identify essential elements and parts of contracts and to recognize the major causes of contract breaches and failures. In addition, students will gain an understanding of the remedies for breach of contract. Students in this course will practice analyzing a contract law case or addressing and rectifying flaws in a poorly written contract.
Students will be able to read, interpret, explain and draft basic contracts, identifying the necessary elements and criteria for constituting a legally binding contract. They will develop the basic contract drafting skills appropriate to paralegals under the regulations. To accomplish contract drafting, students will learn to locate and use available resources for the preparation of contract terms.
Students will learn to identify major contract deficiencies and understand the causes and available remedies for breaches of contract.
3. Canadian Tort Law
Students will acquire familiarity with the essential principles of Canadian Tort Law as they apply to independent practice under the Paralegal Regulations of The Law Society of Ontario. They will learn the elements of a tort while also understanding the general classification system for torts as they relate to tort actions and defences.
4. Residential Tenancies Act
Students will acquire an understanding of the rules and practical application of the Residential Tenancies Act. Students will learn how the Landlord and Tenant Board processes applications and issues orders to resolve landlord and tenant disputes. Students will also learn about landlords and tenants’ rights and obligations under the Act, as well as the Landlord and Tenant Board rules and procedures.
5. Administrative Law
Students will be introduced to the basic principles of administrative law (natural justice, fairness, discretion, bias, substantive review of public decision making), the differences between courts and tribunals in terms of the general nature of tribunals, their functions, procedures and enabling/relevant legislation. This course will provide students with an understanding of the procedures, different tribunal functions under municipal, provincial and federal legislation and rules of evidence to prepare and argue cases before administrative tribunals. Extensive review of key cases is included to illustrate legal concepts and assist students with research assignments. The course provides an overview of administrative law, focusing on the principles flowing from procedural fairness, and is followed by an annotated version of the Ontario Statutory Powers Procedure Act, appeals, judicial review and standard of review.
6. Tribunal Practice and Procedure
In this course, students will learn the procedures they need to understand in order to prepare for and successfully argue cases before administrative tribunals. Students are introduced to the different functions and characteristics of various tribunals under municipal, provincial and federal legislation such as the Immigration Review Board, the rules of evidence as applicable for different tribunals and in an administrative law context, the principles of administrative law including procedural fairness. Summaries of key cases are covered to illustrate legal concepts and used for student research projects.
7. Small Claims Court
Students will acquire knowledge of the rules and procedures of the Small Claims Court, as well as learning what is required to prepare the documents for the commencement, conduct and completion of an action in the Small Claims Court. Students will be exposed to the procedures in acting for both the Plaintiff and Defendant in a Small Claims action. Students will learn how to find, use and understand the relevant legislation, rules and forms for these actions, as well as learning the place of this court in the judicial system in Ontario.
Students will be introduced to the principals of advocacy and the litigation process. Emphasis will be placed on courtroom etiquette, procedure and trial preparation. Students will receive instruction on matters from the initial interview to final submissions, including such matters as client preparation, witness preparation, theory of the case and case strategy. Students will be instructed in the types of evidence and the order of presentation of evidence. Students will gain knowledge in the types of objections and when to object. Instruction will be given on how to prepare submissions as to costs and sentence. Students will participate in a mock trial at the end of this module.
In this course, students will learn to present a case before a court or tribunal. Students will be given an overview of the litigation process. Students will learn the different parts of a trial or hearing and learn how to prepare for those parts. Students will be able to understand and discuss final preparation for a trial or hearing. Students will gain an understanding of the ethical issues in advocacy, the Paralegal Rules of Conduct and the Law Society of Ontario Regulations.
9. Evidence and the Litigation Process
Students will learn to locate and apply the statutory and common law rules or evidence, including the principles of admissibility, relevance, materiality, weight, hearsay, prejudicial effect and probative value. In addition, students will become familiar with exceptions to admissibility such as hearsay, opinion, privilege, improperly obtained evidence, and settlement discussions. Students will also acquire an understanding of the various types of evidence and witnesses, including eyewitness, testimonial, documentary, graphic, real, direct and circumstantial, expert, character, opinion, videotaped and taped evidence, and the use of similar fact evidence, admissions and confessions.
The course will develop students’ understanding of the adversarial process, the roles of judges, lawyers, investigators, experts and parties, as well as the burden of proof in both civil and criminal matters, and before tribunals. Students will acquire an understanding of disclosure and discovery, the Limitations Act and the commencement of proceedings, identifying parties and providing legal notice, capacity, litigation guardians and parties under disability. The course will provide students with an understanding of the issues dealt with motions, applications and actions, as well as with the sequence of steps and evidence in trials and hearings. They will learn, as well, the procedures for compelling the attendance of witnesses.
Students will learn about submissions as to costs and sentence, as well as how to conclude a case and enforce a decision.
10. Legal Research and Writing
Students will be taught the methods and resources for competent legal research and shown the art of proper legal drafting; after which they will be given legal scenarios to research using law library materials, CANLII and the internet. Students will further be required to draft legal documents based on their research, and to locate and interpret cases and statutory materials. The correctness of citations for all sources as well as their competence at research, writing and interpretation will be assessed at all stages.
11. Legal Computer Applications
On successful completion of this course, students will be able to organize, draft, write, edit and proof-read computer based legal documents and correspondence to standards appropriate to the duties and responsibilities of a professional paralegal. Students will have developed skill at locating, using and editing legal precedents, and will be able to research law using the internet. Students will learn to use and set up legal based computer software, like CANLII and QuickLaw. Students will learn to format and edit documents, produce spreadsheets, correspondence and memoranda. Students will be instructed in the production and use of legal forms such as headings and jurist. Students will receive instruction on the formation of legal documents such as pleadings and affidavits as well as the editing of precedents. Students will gain knowledge of the internet resources for legal research and documentation.
12. Alternative Dispute Resolution
Students will learn the advantages, disadvantages and availability of alternatives to the court centered resolution of disputes, including negotiation, mediation and arbitration, with emphasis on explaining the potential benefits and consequences of each procedure to clients.
13. Employment Law
Students will develop an understanding of the principles and practices of Employment Law, particularly with reference to the rights and duties of employers and employees under the legislation governing the workplace including the Employment Standards Act, Labour Relations Act, the Human Rights Code, Employment Equity Act, Insurance Act, and the Occupational Health and Safety Act, as well as an understanding of the procedures for applications to their related tribunals. Students will further be able to demonstrate the ability to identify legal issues in employment relations including employment standards, reasonable notice, just cause, wrongful termination, constructive dismissal, privacy, harassment, discrimination, disability and accommodation.
The course will also enable students to demonstrate an understanding of the prosecution and defence of regulatory offences related to employment.
14. Workplace Safety and Insurance Act
Students will be introduced to the basic principles of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. Students will be provided with an understanding of the administration and interpretation of the Act, which employers have coverage and which individuals are considered to be workers. The students will learn how to obtain compensation for the injured worker and how to recognize when an accident is considered to have arisen out of and in the course of employment. Further, the student will have an understanding of the employer’s obligation to re-employ the worker and assist in the worker’s rehabilitation. Focus on the benefits and determining benefits calculations are an integral part of this course. We end with a discussion of the employers duties, and provide an overview of the appeals processes.
15. Legal Accounting
Students will be provided with an overview of the basic principles of accounting and will be introduced to PCLAW. Topics covered in this course include: bank accounts in a law practice, general and trust accounts, disbursement of trust funds and sample books and records. Successful students will be able to establish and maintain, either mechanically or by electronic means, the essential financial books, records, files, journals, ledgers and summaries necessary for the maintenance of a paralegal office in accordance with the requirements of good business practice and the By-Laws of the Law Society of Ontario. Students will also learn to use and understand law office bookkeeping software such as PC LAW.
16. Legal and Business Communications
Students will learn to organize, draft, write, edit, and proofread legal documents and correspondence to standards appropriate to the duties and responsibilities of a professional paralegal. Students will learn the use of proper grammar, syntax, spelling and organization in writing, and they will apply these conventions to legal documents, forms and communications. Students will also learn that effective listening is an essential part of communication.
17. Provincial Offences
Students will acquire an understanding of the procedures involved in laying and prosecuting charges under the provincial legislation. Students will learn the different procedural streams and charging documents; the classification of offences and available defences; and the anatomy of a trial. Beginning with an overview of the Provincial Offences Act and a discussion of the roles and responsibilities of the actors involved in a prosecution, students will learn the process of a client being charged, arrested, and tried. It outlines the choices available to a paralegal at each stage, and describes the processes and techniques for entering pleas; filing motions, applications, and appeals; and interviewing and questioning witnesses. The principles of sentencing are discussed, and the steps that a paralegal should take following a satisfactory or an unsatisfactory outcome at trial are set out. Following the procedural discussion, the instructors offer in-depth coverage of offences and defences under key provincial legislation, including the Highway Traffic Act, Liquor Licence Act, Environmental Protection Act, Occupational Health and Safety Act, Trespass to Property Act, Blind Persons Rights Act, Dog Owners Liability Act, and relevant municipal legislation.
18. Criminal/Summary Conviction Offences
Students will be taught the history, framework, and current practice and procedures of criminal law in Canada. With a detailed introduction to criminal law legislation and court structure, this course will cover substantive criminal law (including a focus on elements and types of offences), the types of offenders, and explains corporate liability. As students progress through, they will gain knowledge as to how offences are classified under the Criminal Code, the differences in the way adults and youths are treated under Canada’s criminal justice system, and current procedures that are used in modern law offices.
19. Debtor/Creditor Law
Students will be introduced to the debt collection process including the role paralegals play in debt collection, applicable laws and procedures with an emphasis on Superior and Small Claims Court proceedings necessary to obtain remedies of either the creditor or the debtor. Topics covered include the retainer process, setting up and organizing collection litigation files, and obtaining necessary documentation from clients, how to carry out the background investigations before commencing proceedings, how to determine amounts owing on a debt, approaches to settlement, enforcement methods including construction liens, bankruptcies and safeguards against fraud. Students will exercise their knowledge by preparing applicable documentation including demand letters, and applicable forms.
20. Interviewing Client Techniques
Students will be introduced to how techniques of effective interviewing create the means by which a law firm can obtain the raw data necessary to provide excellent representation for clients. As well students will gain the knowledge of file management and legal office procedures.
21. Ethics and Professional Responsibility
Students will acquire familiarity with the essential principles of ethics and professional responsibility as they apply to independent practice under the Paralegal Regulations of the Law Society of Ontario. Students will develop an understanding of the principles of legal ethics and professional conduct, and the applicable guidelines. Students will also develop an understanding of the Paralegal Rules of Conduct which set the standards for professional conduct for paralegal licensees.
22. Practice Management
Students will acquire familiarity with the essential principles of Practice Management and the operation of a small business as they apply to independent practice under the Paralegal Regulations of The Law Society of Ontario. When complete, students will have the necessary skills to open, operate and work in a paralegal practice.
23. Microsoft Word
In this course, the student will learn basic and practical word processing techniques applicable to their future careers in legal office settings. Instruction includes lectures as well as instructor guidance through extensive in-class tutorials. Students are graded through tests, practical assignments and final examinations. On successful completion of this course, students will have learned the necessary skills to work with documents using Microsoft Word.
24. Microsoft Excel
In this course, students will learn basic and practical skills with Excel workbooks/sheets applicable to work in a legal practice including, for example, tracking client and financial data. Students are graded through practical assignments and final examinations.
25. Microsoft PowerPoint
In this course, students will learn basic and practical skills with PowerPoint to be able to prepare presentations to effectively communicate with audiences or to use this software as a creative tool in support of firm marketing efforts and in many other ways. Students are graded through practical assignments as well as a timed presentation for their final examination.
26. Year End Review
Students will have a program review based on material already learned. Students will review the legal principles as they apply to the Canadian Government, the Law Society of Ontario Rules and Guidelines and the Canadian Human Rights Code. Students will review the Law Society licensing process, the Paralegal Rules of Conduct, and the Paralegal Scope of Practice. Students will review the fundamentals learned in various courses throughout the program. This review will provide the students with a clear understanding of the professionalism involved in becoming a competent paralegal.
27. Field Placement
The Field Placement component of the Toronto School of Management Paralegal Program is 125 hours in length, or the equivalent to 4 weeks of full-time commitment. Placement hosts can include lawyers and law firms, paralegals, administrative tribunals, regulatory bodies, courts and legal departments (government or commercial) among others. The placement will introduce students to the legal professional workplace and put into practice the skills studied at TSoM. Students will adapt their work habits to suit the job market, to learn about current practices, advances in technologies in their field of choice, and add valuable work experience to their resume.
- Have an Ontario Secondary School Diploma or equivalent or be at least 18 years of age and pass the Wonderlic test.
For non-native English speakers:
- Successful completion of TSoM EAP Level 5 or
- Have the required IELTS 6.0 score or equivalent or
- Pass the TSoM English Assessment (Written onsite or online with exam proctor)
For more information on English language requirements, please see English Proficiency page
Computer Use Expectation
In order to successfully progress through your studies at Toronto School of Management (TSoM), it is recommended that you have access to a personal computer or laptop. TSoM offers access to computer labs on campus, but availability cannot be guaranteed and some program software may not be available on all open access computers.
In order to successfully complete the program, you need to obtain a 70% overall average in your courses and exams.
The assessment of each module consists of:
- Mid-term and final exams
- Class participation
- Course assignments
- Successful completion of your placement
If you do not pass the module, you can re-take the module when it is offered next and by paying a retake fee.
|Letter Grade||Percentage||Grade Point|
|A+||90 – 100||4.3|
|A||85 – 89||4.0|
|A-||80 – 84||3.7|
|B+||77 – 79||3.3|
|B||73 – 76||3.0|
|B-||70 – 72||2.7|
|C+||67 – 69||2.3|
|C||63 – 66||2.0|
|C-||60 – 62||1.7|
|D||50 – 59||1.0|
|F||0 – 49||0.0|
Upon completion of this program, you will be awarded Diploma in Paralegal Studies.
Graduates from this diploma can consider career opportunities under NOC 6525 which includes positions such as:
- Paralegal or law firms;
- Administrative tribunals;
- Government agencies;
- Regulatory bodies;
- Legal aid clinics;
- Collection agencies;
- Courts; and
- Legal departments
(government or commercial).
Advocate for clients in:
- All Federal and Ontario tribunals
- Provincial Offences Court
- Small Claims Court
- Human Rights tribunal
Broaden the scope of your career by pursuing such opportunities as:
- Prosecutor in Provincial Offences Court
- Duty Counsel at the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board
- Decision Maker in all federal and Ontario tribunals
- Justice of the Peace