Program Overview

The front lines of the legal profession require practical knowledge and an ability to work with many different types of people and situations. If you’ve considered a career in law, this one-year Ontario College Graduate Certificate program will give you the knowledge to make a career providing legal services within the paralegal’s scope of practice.
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Program Details

Program Code
Ontario College Graduate Certificate
45 weeks

Canadian Students

Start Dates

Full Time Offerings

2024 September
2023 September

International Students

Start Dates

Full Time Offerings

2023 September
2024 September

Your Learning Experience

You’ll start by learning how to communicate effectively, as you work your way through different areas of the law, with courses in legal research and writing, torts and contracts, criminal matters and motor vehicle offences. You’ll also learn about advocacy, alternative dispute resolution, and other areas of law within the Paralegal Scope of Practice. The program includes an extensive 140-hour field training component to provide students with the opportunity to gain practical hands-on experience in a legal environment. When you complete your studies, you will be prepared to apply for the provincial exam and seek licensing with the Law Society of Ontario (LSO). 


Paralegals are required to be licensed by the Law Society of Ontario (LSO). Fanshawe’s program is accredited by the LSO. To obtain a paralegal license, graduates must graduate from an accredited program, pass a licensing examination and be of good character. As a licensed paralegal, you might choose to be self-employed and offer legal services directly to the public without the supervision of a lawyer, or you might choose to work for a law firm or government agency. Either way, you will be able to put your entrepreneurial mindset and knowledge toward providing access to justice.  


Upon licensing, paralegals must remain in good standing with the LSO by paying annual dues, carrying insurance, completing minimum CPD requirements, and submitting annual reports. Applicants are strongly encouraged to review the paralegal licensing and license management requirements prior to applying to this program.  


Fanshawe's Paralegal program has been accredited by the Law Society of Ontario and provides training in those areas in which a licensed paralegal may legally practice.


Career Information

Graduates of Fanshawe’s Paralegal program have the knowledge and skill to apply for the provincial licensing exam which is required to work as a licensed paralegal in Ontario. Paralegals work in various legal environments offering specified legal services directly to the public for a fee without the supervision of a lawyer. Paralegals are typically self-employed.


Did you know Fanshawe consistently ranks high in graduation employment rates among large colleges in Ontario? 

Here are some examples of career opportunities for graduates of Fanshawe’s Paralegal program:

Working as part of a small team in a very busy office that handles Provincial Offences, Small Claims Court and Landlord and Tenant Board Matters.  You will be responsible from the initial client interviews to appearing before the court or tribunal. You will have support from multiple mentors, as well as an administrative assistant. You will be expected to have integrity and ambition. Travel is required in order to attend satellite courts.

Junior Paralegal

The Junior Paralegal will be responsible for tasks such as: drafting pleadings; filing documents with the courthouse; conducting client intake consultations; attending court appearances; serving documents on opposing parties; drafting eviction notices as per Residential Tenancies Act; filing applications with the Landlord & Tenant Board; communicating with clients.

Alternate to the Discrimination & Harassment Counsel Program (Paralegal)

The Alternate will act as a resource and offer confidential advice and assistance to members of the public, licensing candidates and licensees who may have experienced discrimination or harassment by a licensee.


Learning Outcomes

The graduate has reliably demonstrated the ability to:

1. Analyze and synthesize the fundamental elements of Canadian and Provincial governments, legal systems, and court structures, including principles and laws related to permitted areas of practice and rules for procedure and evidence in each court or tribunal.

2. Articulate and adhere to the general principles of law, legal ethics and business practices, specifically related to paralegal rules of practice.

3. Utilize the applicable structure, process, and jurisdictional authority of courts and administrative tribunals to successfully resolve disputes and appeals within the permitted scope of paralegal practice in the legal system.

4. Develop and assess strategies which adhere to established principles of ethics and codes of conduct, and enhancement of professional competence.

5. Select, evaluate, and compose effective advocacy techniques, including oral and written legal presentations, using accurate legal terminology.

6. Employ effective human relations, interpersonal, and intervention strategies in alternate dispute resolution to assist in resolving conflicts.

7. Select appropriate and use diverse legal research tools to research, interpret, analyze, synthesize, and update cases, legislation, and legal literature, and write persuasive, accurate, legal documentation and memoranda using appropriate legal citation.

8. Apply legal research findings, the legal problem solving method, and ethical and practice guidelines to analyze case studies and client scenarios.

9. Develop an effective case management strategy for court, administrative tribunals, or other representation and execute it efficiently.

10. Analyze and evaluate the limitations on representation for paralegals and conduct all work within areas of permitted practice.

11. Utilize information technology resources and current industry computer software.

12. Manage a paralegal practice and operate a small business, including client service, communication, and accounting principles, in compliance with the Paralegal Rules of Conduct, the ethical and professional responsibilities of Paralegals, and the principles of effective business management.


Academic School

Program Coordinator:

Lia Davila 


Admission Requirements

A College Diploma in a Law related area

(Note: minimum 'B' average or cumulative 3.0 GPA)

A University Degree

(Note: minimum 'B' average or cumulative 3.0 GPA)

An equivalent qualification from another institution as judged by the College*

A combination of relevant education and work experience in a related field as judged by the College to be equivalent to the above

*Applicants may be required to submit a resume and cover letter that includes details of work experience.

International Admission Equivalencies
Admission equivalencies for Fanshawe depends on your country of study. Please enter your location to see the requirements for your country below.
English Language Requirements

English Language Requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to demonstrate proficiency in English by one of the following methods:

  • A Grade 12 College Stream or University Stream English credit from an Ontario Secondary School, or equivalent, depending on the program's Admission Requirements
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) test with a minimum score of 88 for the Internet-based test (iBT), with test results within the last two years
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic test with an overall score of 6.5 with no score less than 6.0 in any of the four bands, with test results within the last two years.  SDS Program Requirements.  
  • Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL) test with an overall score of 70 with no score less than 60 in any of the four bands, with test results within the last two years
  • Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE) with a minimum score of 59, with test results within the last two years
  • A Cambridge English Test (FCE/CAE/CPE) with an overall score on the Cambridge English Scale of 176 with no language skill less than 169, with test results within the last two years
  • Fanshawe College ESL4/GAP5 students: Minimum grade of 80% in ESL4/GAP5 Level 9 or 75% in ESL4/GAP5 Level 10
Recommended Academic Preparation

Recommended Academic Preparation

  • A high degree of computer literacy and keyboarding skills at 40 wpm are recommended
Recommended Personal Preparation

Recommended Personal Preparation

  • Students should possess excellent oral and written communication skills in the English language and have excellent analytical skills to be successful in the Paralegal program
  • Students should possess a high degree of responsibility, maturity, conscientiousness, and the ability to work independently with little supervision
  • Students should speak to a Paralegal to acquire some knowledge of the duties and expectations of a Paralegal
Applicant Selection Criteria

Applicant Selection Criteria

Where the number of eligible applicants exceeds the available spaces in the program, the Applicant Selection Criteria will be:
  1. Preference for Permanent Residents of Ontario
  2. Receipt of Application by February 1st (After this date, Fanshawe College will consider applicants on a first-come, first-served basis until the program is full)
  3. Achievement in the Admission Requirements


Level 1
Take all of the following Mandatory Courses:
LAWS-6016Canadian Legal System-Intro3
This course is designed to introduce the student to the legal system in Canada. Students are introduced to the structure of the Canadian government and systems of law in Canada. An overview of the sources and division of laws set the stage for an examination of the Constitution and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Moving forward in the course, students will have the opportunity to develop a basic understanding of property law, business law, and consumer law. This course will assist learners in developing a general understanding of how laws are created, defined, implemented and interpreted while also building an understanding of legal terminology. This course is foundational and intended for learners to build upon as they continue their studies in core legal areas.
LAWS-6017Torts & Contracts4
This course is designed to introduce paralegal students to the common law and statute law as it applies to torts and contracts. Fact scenarios are utilized to teach students to recognize when legal liability arises in tort law and in contract law and to know the appropriate legal remedies. The students are also taught to recognize applicable defences that may reduce or negate liability. Students develop legal problem solving skills so as to enable them to identify, analyze, and resolve legal issues arising in tort and in contract. This is key to an effective paralegal practice in small claims court and before various tribunals.
COMM-6020Communication & Writing3
Students practise and enhance their legal writing skills while applying foundational writing knowledge and skills required from an earlier diploma or degree program. Students practise the fundamentals of effective professional writing for paralegals including planning, organizing, drafting, revising, and editing. This course focuses on the skills required to produce organized, clear, concise, client-centered, grammatically correct, legal correspondence and documents in plain language and appropriate legal writing style. Paralegals are required to demonstrate excellent written communication skills. Paralegals communicate in writing with their clients, other legal representatives, the courts, government, and the business community. Legal communications must be clear, concise, accurate, persuasive, and professional. They must demonstrate client-centered, plain language, modern legal writing characteristics.
COMP-6053Legal Computer Applications2
This course provides students with a review of legal office procedures and a hands-on opportunity to learn and apply basic and advanced word processing, and spreadsheet features to a wide variety of legal office documents and precedents. At the conclusion of this course students will be able to use Microsoft ® Word to create professional legal documents using correct formatting; Microsoft ® Excel to create basic spreadsheets; Microsoft ® PowerPoint to create presentations; and Microsoft® Outlook to assist with scheduling and organizing information. Students are introduced to current legal database software for document and practice management.
LAWS-6044Legal Research & Writing4
This course is designed to provide paralegal students with an introduction to legal research and persuasive legal writing. Students develop the legal problem solving skills required to identify and analyze simple legal problems and to complete the necessary relevant legal research using paper-based and electronic methods. Students learn how to find, update, read, interpret, and apply primary and secondary sources of law, including cases, statutes, regulations, and bills. Students draft legal correspondence and research, plan, and draft a legal memorandum. Legal citation is also introduced.
LAWS-6037Administrative Law3
This course will introduce paralegal students to the fundamental principles of administrative law as they represent government action and delegation of powers to administrative Tribunals and Boards. The principles of administrative law will be studied in the context of government regulation in Canadian society. This course will provide an understanding of all relevant primary legislation of Administrative Law. To alleviate the burden of case load on the court system, political demand has given rise to the creation of a large number of administrative tribunals with powers to protect rights and determine claims of citizens without the traditional recourse to courts of law. This course will examine the study of how the law attempts to promote the advantages of convenience, low cost and speed provided by these tribunals while, at the same time, minimizing the encroachment upon individual rights. This course will enable students to analyze such things as the rules of natural justice that underpin administrative tribunals, and how enabling legislation creates and gives powers to tribunals. Students will have a general overview of the practice and procedures and decisions of tribunals and the right of appeal and judicial review. Further attention will be given to the applicability of Charter claims and remedies available. Paralegals could find themselves representing clients before a variety of agencies and tribunals where thousands of such entities at the municipal, regional, provincial and federal levels exist. This course is designed to help students understand the rules and procedures of these tribunals by exposing them to the mandate, philosophy, authority, practices and procedures of a variety of administrative tribunals. The course lays the foundation for upper level course work in the program.
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Tuition Summary


Canadian Costs
Total Cost of Program
International Costs
Total Cost of Program

*Total program costs are approximate, subject to change and do not include the health and dental plan fee, bus pass fee or program general expenses.