Regulated Out of Existence: A Case Study of Ottawa's Ticket Defence Program
Suzanne Bouclin, "Regulated Out of Existence: A Case Study of Ottawa's Ticket Defence Program" (2014) 11 Journal of Law and Equality 35-83.
51 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2014 Last revised: 5 Nov 2017
Date Written: May 1, 2014
The centrepiece of this research is a case study of the Ticket Defence Program (TDP). Between 2003 and 2007, the TDP, an Ottawa-based collective of volunteers, provided vital and effective legal assistance to street-involved people charged with minor provincial or municipal offences. While some of the TDP’s work resembled the work of a paralegal (such as requesting disclosure and appearing in provincial court), none of its members were licensed to provide legal services in Ontario. In the first part of this article, I provide the historical and legislative context to paralegal regulation in Ontario that informed the Paralegal Standing Committee’s (Paralegal Committee) interactions with the TDP. In the second part, I survey the TDP’s structure, accountability mechanisms, and operations developed to address the unmet legal needs of Ottawa’s street-involved people. In the third part of this article, I examine the Paralegal Committee’s decision, on the one hand, not to recognize the TDP as a group beyond the scope of the Law Society Act (which would not require a paralegal license to provide its service) and, on the other, not to exempt the TDP from the new regulatory structure (requiring the TDP to obtain a license in order to continue to provide legal services).
Keywords: access to justice, client-centered lawyering, homelessness, criminalization of poverty
JEL Classification: 100, I3, K4
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation