Closed Shops: Opening Canada’s Legal Profession to Foreign-educated Lawyers

6 Degrees-CIGI Final Report

December 7, 2017

This final report was prepared following the 6 Degrees Citizen Space, which took place in Toronto, ON, from September 25 to 27, 2017. It provides a dialogue about the key barriers foreign-educated lawyers face in Canada’s licensing and employment processes, and makes recommendations for how unnecessary barriers can be mitigated or dismantled. Barriers are considered unnecessary if they are not relevant to testing an individual’s professional competency, or make it unduly difficult for foreign-educated lawyers to achieve licensure or employment relative to their Canadian counterparts. These recommendations are directed at a variety of stakeholders, including provincial law societies, the National Committee on Accreditation, law schools, fairness commissioners, legal employers, immigration officials and internationally trained lawyers themselves. For the purposes of this project, the author interviewed numerous foreign-educated lawyers, as well as Canadian immigration officials, immigration lawyers, regulators, employers and professors. The conversations made clear that there is work to be done in opening Canada’s closed legal shop.

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