Our Members: Canada’s Law Societies
Established by Provincial and Territorial Laws
Every lawyer in Canada and notary in Quebec is required by law to be a member of a law society and to be governed by its rules. Canada’s 14 provincial and territorial law societies govern over 130,000 lawyers, Quebec’s 3,800 notaries and Ontario’s 11,300 independent paralegals in the public interest. Each law society is established by provincial and territorial law and has a mandate to ensure that people in its jurisdiction are served by legal professionals who meet high standards of competence and professional conduct.
A central feature of Canada’s legal system is that the public has the right to obtain legal advice and be represented by a legal profession that is independent of the government. For that reason, our laws provide for the self-regulation of the legal profession. One of the key strengths of Canada’s legal system is the clear distinction between the function of law societies and that of voluntary associations of members of the profession. The function of law societies is to regulate the legal profession in the public interest. It is the function of voluntary associations of members of the profession, such as the Canadian Bar Association, to speak for and represent the interests of their members.
Key Functions of Law Societies
To fulfill their public interest mandate, law societies set the standards for admission to the profession and the conduct of members in their province or territory. They audit and monitor the use of trust funds held by members of the profession. They also investigate complaints and discipline members of the profession who violate the required standards of conduct.
To learn more about how Canada’s law societies serve the public interest, to become a member of the legal profession, or to make a complaint about a member in your province or territory, you can use the following links: