Canada’s 2006 census recorded 635 paralegals working in Saskatchewan, which was a 45% increase from the previous census 5 years prior. This suggests a growth market for paralegals in Saskatchewan, although the profession is still emerging within the province. The majority of Saskatchewan’s paralegals work in Regina and Saskatoon.
Paralegals in Saskatchewan are no regulated, which means that there are no formal requirements for education, training or examination. Paralegals may find employment that provides on-the-job training or they may choose to complete an educational program prior to beginning their careers.
Legal guidelines in Saskatchewan require that paralegals work under the direct supervision of a lawyer and do not engage in activates that could be construed as unauthorized practice of law. Typical paralegal duties include: conducting interviews with clients and witnesses, preparing legal documents and performing legal research. Paralegals may not offer legal advice.
Although education is not required for finding work as a paralegal, many aspiring paralegals choose to complete paralegal education programs. Not only do paralegal education programs prepare students for employment by ensuring that they have an understanding of the legal system and have learned the basic skills needed to be successful on the job, but they also help students demonstrate their commitment to the profession. These qualities can make job candidates more attractive to employers. There are three types of paralegal education programs open to aspiring paralegals: certificate program, diploma programs and degree programs.
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Paralegal certificates can be earned through physical and online schools and can often be completed in one year. Certificate programs focus exclusively on preparing students for working as paralegals and typically do not offer general education classes. Certificate programs often target working students and may tailor their course schedules to accommodate those unavailable during business hours.
Paralegal diplomas are offered by career and vocational colleges as well as some universities. Diploma programs can usually be completed in two years. They are highly focused on paralegal studies and may not offer many general education classes to their students.
Paralegal degrees are typically earned in four full-time years at a university, and graduates receive a bachelor’s degree. Students in a degree program are required to take a survey of general education classes such as English, history, mathematics and the like. Their major classes, usually completed in their third and fourth years of study, focus on their field of interest.
Saskatchewan does not have a provincial professional paralegal association. Paralegals in Saskatchewan may instead choose to join one of the national associations: the Canadian Association of Paralegals (CAP).
CAP has members throughout Canada and works to be a national voice representing the profession. Since 1980, Ca has worked to increase the visibility of paralegals, develop markets for paralegals and work with bar associations and law societies to promote the interests of paralegals and consumers. Membership benefits of CAP include: a job bank, scholarships, continuing education and networking.
The PSC was founded in 1992 to both professional support paralegals and to protect consumers by demanding high ethical practices from paralegals. Although most of its members are located in Ontario, the PSC is growing to include and advocate for paralegal sin other provinces.
Large law firms are often a major source of paralegal employment. They can also be good resources for inquiring about educational and training expectations for entry level paralegals. Saskatchewan’s major law firms include:
- MacPherson Leslie & Tyerman LLP
- McDougall Gauley LLP
- McKercher LLP
- Miller Thomson LLP
- Kanuka Thuringer LLP
Important Contacts for Paralegals
- Canadian Association of Paralegals
- Paralegal Society of Canada
- Saskatchewan Job Futures – Paralegal
- Law Society of Saskatchewan