It is well recognized that Bill C-75 has changed the landscape of who can act as agent for accused persons.
Section 802.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada prohibits attendance by agent on charges where the maximum sentence that can possibly be imposed on summary conviction is greater than six months. Exception is made where the defendant is a corporation or the agent is “authorized to do so under a program approved by the lieutenant governor in council of the province.”
Bill C-75 increased most maximum penalties for summary conviction offences to two years less a day. The Bill also converted many formerly indictable offences into hybrid offences.
As a consequence of Bill C-75, effective Sept. 19, paralegals and law students will effectively be shut out of criminal courts unless the province authorizes a program in accordance with sec. 802.1.
In response to Bill C-75, Attorney General Doug Downey wrote to Treasurer Malcolm Mercer advising that the Law Society was best positioned to determine the scope of legal services to be provided by licensees, including paralegals. It was proposed that the Lieutenant Governor in Council of Ontario approve a program in accordance with section 802.1.
FOLA position on the LSO Amendments re C-75 - Sept 2019