June 29, 2009

In response to a growing need and awareness of the plight of internationally trained lawyers seeking accreditation to practice law in Ontario, the Government of Ontario has made an unprecedented $4 million investment in a new partnership with the University of Toronto Faculty of Law.

The Internationally Trained Lawyer (ITL) Program will service approximately 90 to 100 lawyers each year who come to Canada from around the world and who wish to practice law in Ontario. The ITL Program will operate at the U of T Faculty of Law, in collaboration with stakeholders including the Law Society of Upper Canada, the National Committee on Accreditation (NCA), Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) Pro Bono Law Ontario (PBLO), and Pro Bono Students Canada (PBSC), as well as a number of Toronto’s downtown law firms. The ITL Program will provide a comprehensive continuum of services that address the various needs of international lawyers from the time they enter Canada and begin the certification process, to their successful employment in Canada in their field.

The official launch of the program took place at the Faculty of Law (Rowell Room), 78 Queen’s Park, on Monday, June 29th at 11:00 a.m in the presence of the Honourable Michael Chan, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration for Ontario and Faculty of Law Dean Mayo Moran. Several internationally trained lawyers, managing partners from major law firms providing internship and/or mentorship opportunities for ITL participants and various dignitaries from the provincial and national legal community will also be in attendance.

“We are extremely grateful to the Government of Ontario for its commitment to internationally trained lawyers and for their leadership in addressing an issue that has long challenged our justice system. We look forward to creating an outstanding program that will benefit internationally trained lawyers, the people of Ontario and the Canadian justice system,” says Faculty of Law Dean Mayo Moran.

Services for ITL participants will include an Information Centre, Academic Training, Language Referrals, Workplace Experience (including volunteer and paid job placements), Career Services (including job search skills, resume writing, interview preparation, career specific language training, and understanding cultural and workplace norms), Employment Counseling, and Membership in a Centre Association.

“This investment in bridge training for internationally trained lawyers is a first in Ontario,” said Michael Chan, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. “Helping newcomers practice their profession, builds the highly skilled work force we need in Ontario.”

Reference: University of Toronto Faculty of Law