Paralegal

2017/18 Program Handbook

Program Code: 1297
School of Health & Life Sciences and Community Services

Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning

This is a companion document to the current Conestoga College Student Guide

Program Handbook Guidelines

The purpose of this handbook is to provide students with program-specific details and other important information. The material in this handbook is accurate at the date of posting, and is applicable for the current academic year. Students will be informed of handbook changes that occur, if any, through college email. Program handbooks are updated yearly and students must check their program handbook for the current edition. 

Welcome

To the School of Health & Life Sciences and Community Services

Your Bridge to Practice

bridge logo 

What Can This Mean For You?

  • The opportunity to begin, today, to become the professional you aspire to be.
  • The opportunity to learn in life-like settings and with real-life scenarios, rehearsing for the day when you will be in these real-life situations.
  • A unique inter-professional opportunity, given the number of different disciplines in the school. You will learn with, about and from your future colleagues.
  • An opportunity to take advantage of the state-of-the-art facilities, social and study spaces in our Cowan Health Sciences Centre, as well as other unique learning resources such as the Motz Emergency Service Bays in the Regional of Waterloo Paramedic Services Station and the Child Development Centre (Doon Campus), or the WeConnect Agora and Simulation Centre (Living Classroom at University Gates).
  • Your goal of being viewed by employers as a "preferred graduate" is up to you; your professors, support staff, administrative staff and college services look forward to supporting you as you journey from day one to your graduation.

Top 5 Expectations of You

1.    Use MyConestoga to Connect To:

Your Conestoga Email: (e.g. John Smith, Student Number 1234567, jsmith4567@conestogac.on.ca)

  • This is the official communication vehicle regarding your academic requirements. Communication with Faculty/staff should only be through your Conestoga email account. Communication through other accounts may not be responded to. Check it regularly and respond as requested.

eConestoga:

  • This is your resource for all course-based program information and course-based communication with your faculty.
  • Make eConestoga your partner in learning; this is your guide to all course activity.
  • Only course logistics should be communicated through eConestoga, all other email communication should be done through your Conestoga email.

Student Portal:

  • Find your final grade information, college tuition invoices, class schedules and absence reporting.

Practicum Health Requirements: (Go to "Services" and find "Practicum Services Link")

  • Keep track of your requirements on an ongoing basis; check that they are complete to allow you to go on your practicum (if applicable).

2. Know and Plan Around Your Academic Schedule With Your Family

Course Schedule:

  • Your schedule has been planned with many people and multiple considerations in mind.
  • Classes are typically scheduled from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Note: times for practicums follow work place schedules).

The Academic Year has critical dates: Please plan around these dates to ensure you are here when you need to be--including the potential need to be present for the two weeks after the semester ends if you might need to complete supplemental work to allow you to continue to the next semester. Program start and end dates, holidays and deadlines for course add/drop and withdrawal, are located on the website. Course changes (add/dropping) may also be made through the Student Portal under the "My Courses" tab.

Academic Dates
Fall 2017 Dates Winter 2018 Dates
Fall Orientation Week Aug. 28 – Sept. 1 Winter Orientation January 4
Fall Semester Classes Start September 5 Winter Semester Classes Start January 8
Student Success Week Oct. 23-27 Student Success Week Feb. 26-Mar. 2
Last Week of Semester December 11-15* Last Week of Semester April 16-20*
Intersession (no classes) Dec. 18- Jan. 3/18 Intersession (no classes) April 23-May 4
*Programs with exams outside this time will be notified by the academic area.

3. Be the Professional You Wish To Become - From Day One

Civility, respect and professional behaviours will be key in the quality of your learning experience—and a future employer's first and lasting impression.

Professional Dress & Conduct: See Professional Conduct section for professionalism expectations for your program. The college's Student Guide sets out Student Code of Conduct for our community at Conestoga.

Pre-practicum Health Requirements: Pay attention to the deadlines listed on your documents. Complete as required; without these, you will not be able to progress to your practicum and your program completion will be in jeopardy. 

Social Media: Use responsibly. See Standards of Conduct section of the Handbook.

4. Attend To Enhance Success

Attendance Expectations: Attendance for class, labs and practicum supports student learning and your experience as a future professional. See attendance and student success strategies section in the handbook.

Absence from Evaluations: Must be reported in the Student Portal before your scheduled evaluation time. See attendance for evaluation section in the handbook.

Request for Accommodation for Religious Holidays: Request must be submitted to your Program Coordinator as per course schedule. See Religious Holidays sections in the Program Handbook.

5. Take Responsibility for Your Academic Status

Student Records: If you have questions about your student record, academic status and or program withdrawals, speak to your Program Coordinator.

Fee Payments: Payment is required to attend classes. Check your Student Portal for invoices.

Credit Transfer/Exemptions: Conestoga supports the transferability of academic credits between programs and educational institutions through recognized transfer pathways, articulation agreements and course-to-course equivalences. Please refer to the Student Guide for more information.

Student Forms: To access forms go to the Student Forms page.

Academic Policies & Procedures: May be found under Policies and Procedures.

Student Affairs Policies & Procedures: May be found at the Student Affairs page.

Top 5 Resources for You

1. Your Teaching Team

Contact Information: Is posted in eConestoga and in your Program Handbook (Relationships Section in the Handbook)

Appointments: Making appointments (in person, by phone, email) helps to ensure your desired resource is available.
Email Inquiries: will be answered within two business days.
Urgent Need for Help: Program Assistants are available to help you reach one of the Teaching Team (contact information in Relationships Section of the Handbook)

2. Counselling and Services for Personal Needs

College Counselling: Professionally-trained counsellors can help you achieve your educational goals—for such common support as stress management, anxiety, depression, transition issues, family issues, etc. Counselling is free, voluntary and confidential. Arrange to see a Counsellor quickly if academic or personal problems stand in the way of your college success. To make an appointment, visit or call Doon-Room 1A101, 519-748-5220, ext. 3360, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.. Check the counselling services website for more information.
Good2Talk: Confidential 24-hour phone line for stresses big and small. Call 1-866-925-5454.
Conestoga Security: Provides a safe and secure work and learning environment. Call 519-748-5220 ext. 3357. Refer to the Student Guide for Conestoga's Safety and Security Services and procedures.
Student Financial Services: Student Financial Services can help you by providing you with options to finance your post-secondary education.
CSI Food Bank: The CSI Food Bank is an emergency food relief program for current Conestoga students.
Health Services: Your family doctor on campus. Check out the services that they offer on their website or call 519-748-5220 ext. 3679. Services available Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.A full-time health nurse is on site.
Facility Information: Refer to the Student Guide for information on after-hours parking, classroom and computer labs.

3. Accessibility Services

Students with Documented Disabilities are encouraged to book an appointment with Accessibility Services to access accommodations –early in your program. Disability-related documentation will be required to book an appointment. Go to the Accessibility Services webpage for more information.
Adaptive Technology Aids and Special Facilities: Adaptive Aids are arranged through Accessibility Services; handicapped–accessible washrooms are located throughout the campus. Contact the Adaptive Technology Lab for more information on adaptive technology aids.

4. Student Study Spaces and General Supports

Cowan Health Sciences Centre (F-wing)
Student Lounge Space: Enjoy seats on each of the three floors. Plugs for laptops and charging stations are located throughout these areas.

Student Meeting Room Space: There is both formal and informal student study space available for use within the Cowan Health Sciences Centre. For more information on the availability of this space, please go to the Interprofessional Resources Office (2F16).

General Access Computers and printers are located in two areas:

  • 1st Floor—in the student lounge area with photocopier
  • 2nd Floor—at the Customer Service Desk and kiosk area

Open Access Lab, 2nd Floor, 2F18.
This is available on a come and go basis for health & pre-health programs practicing key skills. It is open from 8:00am-4:00pm. Book with an Open Access Staff.
Lockers are available with your tuition; important to store your extra clothes and books, etc. so that you can be at your professional best in the lab. Learn how to obtain a locker.
Information Technology: IT Service Desk—1E12 (provides supports & general assistance with college-related needs such as Email, Network accounts, connectivity & wireless printing. Go to the Web IT Service Desk for more information.

5. Services for Students

Library Resource Centre: Located on 2nd Floor B Wing; Go to the Library Resource Centre page for more information.
International Education Office: Check out the International Education Office for services available to you.
Learning Commons: Your one-stop resource for academic services and resources, such as Math, Writing Skills, Peer Tutors and resources for APA. Check out their website or Access through MyConestoga.
Student Life: Get involved and shape your experience. Visit the Student Life page or Connect to MyConestoga for your Co-Curricular Record.
Student Financial Services: Your one-stop resource to apply for student awards, bursaries, and scholarships apply early to increase your chances.
Bookstore: Your location to buy books (check out their options including used books), clothing for your program and general supplies. Find it in the A wing, just inside Door 1.
Co-op and Career Advising: Your resource for Co-op Placements (if you are in a degree); your source of help to look for summer jobs or future careers and gain help preparing your resume. Check out the Co-op and Career Services site for more information.

Letter to Students

Dear Paralegal Student:

Welcome. Congratulations on being accepted into this program and for taking this important step towards becoming a licensed paralegal. You will find this program to be fast-paced, and strongly focused on your career of choice. Our academic and skills requirements are high, but if you apply yourself, you can be successful and prepare yourself for a rewarding career. Some of you will need to do extra work if you don't have a legal studies background but with serious application I know you can be successful.

This program has been very carefully designed and updated by Conestoga College faculty acting under the legal academic guidance of the Law Society of Upper Canada, and with input from our Program Advisory Committee, to prepare you for a paralegal career.  There's a reason for each of the elements of your program map, which describes your professional learning journey, so start applying yourself from the start. Think of yourself not as a student, but as a paralegal in training. Start asking yourself – Why is it important for a paralegal to know this?

You have a very strong group of faculty teaching in this program. If you have any questions, please ask your faculty or Program Coordinator, Gurpreet Gill. You will find them to be very well informed and able to provide you direction.

On behalf of the entire Paralegal Program faculty, we welcome you and I hope you find this to be a rewarding and enjoyable program. Welcome and I hope you have an enjoyable and successful year.

Sincerely,

Janos Botschner, Chair, Community Safety

Paralegal Program Learning Team


Paralegal Licensing Process

Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) requirements

Each student is responsible for ensuring he/she meets the requirements of the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) to become a paralegal.

One such requirement is the need for each student to complete a paralegal studies program that has been accredited by the LSUC.  There is a complete list of these programs on the LSUC website and it includes the program at Conestoga College.

Another requirement is to write the LSUC Paralegal Licensing Examination. Each student is responsible for dealing directly with the LSUC to register and pay for the licensing exam.   The cost of the licensing exam is not covered in the cost of the Paralegal program. In addition, you must ensure that all documentation required to register for the exam has been assembled and then sent to the LSUC by the LSUC deadlines.

The licensing examination occurs only a few times each year, and the dates may change from year to year. Please consult the LSUC website for more information.

Program Overview

Program Description

This condensed, accelerated delivery, Ontario Graduate Certificate program is designed to provide students with the specialized knowledge and skills necessary to become licensed as a paralegal in Ontario. Graduates will be prepared to be self-employed paralegals or to work in areas of the legal profession that include law firms and legal departments of both public and privte organizations.

This program will appeal to current students or graduates of law-related university degrees or college diploma programs. Those with at least 3-5 years of experience working as legal assistants or law clerks would also benefit from the Paralegal program in order to expand their knowledge and expertise in court and tribunal advocacy.

Program Philosophy and Values

  • Expecting students to develop behaviours that are necessary in the workforce and in the Paralegal profession, including: self-reflection, responsibility for one's self and one's own actions, honesty, integrity, and punctuality.
  • Upholding the standards of civility and collegiality that are expected in the legal profession.
  • Designing courses and experiences to support students in constructing knowledge about the law.
  • Modeling a variety of teaching styles, providing a variety of learning experiences, and using a variety of evaluation methods.
  • Modeling communication and problem-solving skills as well as professional behaviours and attitudes required of paralegals.
  • Supporting the integration of theory and practice.
  • Providing students with opportunities to connect theory and its application in combination with practical experience within the community.
  • Engaging students actively in their learning process.
  • Recognizing and appreciating the different styles and approaches to learning that an emerging adult learner may use/exhibit (multiple intelligences).
  • Building on previous successes in order to enhance confidence of the student as a learner.
  • Mentoring students as they proceed through their journey of becoming a Paralegal in both the classroom and through their practicum experiences.
  • Offering general knowledge and generic skills, in addition to specific vocational skills.
  • Applying paralegal rules of conduct within the framework of ethical and professional standards.
  • Demonstrating commitment to lifelong learning.

Program Summary Map- September to June

Program Map describes your learning journey with three important components:

  1. All courses focus on you demonstrating development towards the program outcomes and capabilities through your program journey.
  2. There are themes for your learning that will inform you on the courses you will take to develop program capabilities.
  3. Each semester has a theme that creates milestones for your learning within a semester and your journey from one semester to the next and finally graduation.
Level 1
Development of Foundational Knowledge & Skills
Key Themes Module 1 (7 wks) Module 2 (7 wks)
Professional Practice Capacity

LAW8120 Ethics and Professional Responsibility 

Professional Practice Skills - Business Management COMP8020 Legal Comp Apps
Professional Practice Skills - Communication, Documentation, Synthesis & Presentation

COMM8145 Oral Communication

LAW8200 Legal Research

COMM8145 Oral Communication

COMM8107 Communication and Writing

Foundational Knowledge of Law (laws & statutes; procedural contexts & processes; case development)

LAW8160 Provincial Offences
LAW8155 Landlord & Tenant Law
LAW8220 Employment Law

Level 2
Integration & Application of Knowledge & Skills for Practice
Key Themes Module 3 (7 wks) Module 4 (8 wks)
Professional Practice Capacity

LAW8270 Legal Simulation Lab A

OHS1320 Safety in the Workplace

LAW8270 Legal Simulation Lab B

OHS1320 Safety in the Workplace

Professional Practice Skills - Business Management MGMT8210 Practice Mgt (40)
Professional Practice Skills - Communication, Documentation, Synthesis & Presentation LAW8140 Advocacy
Foundational Knowledge of Law (laws & statutes; procedural contexts & processes; case development)

LAW8210 Summary Convictions

LAW8110 Small Claims

LAW8190 Tribunal Practice

Level 3
Application & Extension of Knowledge & Skills to Practice
Key Themes Module 5A (3 wks) Module 5B (3 wks)
Professional Practice Capacity

LAW8250 Topical Case Law Seminar
LAW8240 Practicum (sec 2)

trong>LAW8240 Practicum (sec 1)

Topical Case Law Seminar (Sec 2)

Professional Practice Skills - Business Management LAW8230 ADR (sec 1) LAW8230 ADR (sec 2)
Foundational Knowledge of Law (laws & statutes; procedural contexts & processes; case development)

LAW8160 Provincial Offences
LAW8155 Landlord & Tenant Law
LAW8220 Employment Law

 

Program Design for Your Cohort

Students can find their program design on the student Portal by following the steps below:

  1. Log in to Student Portal
  2. Click on 'My Courses' tab
  3. Select 'View Progress Report' button

Courses are listed by level/semester. Students can also view courses for the most current program design for this academic year on the Conestoga College website. To find these courses, students need to scroll down the page to the 'Program Courses'.

Pathways and Further Post-secondary Education Opportunities

Conestoga pathways enable students to build on their academic achievements in order to earn a degree or additional credential. Pathways are formed through agreements between Conestoga programs or partner institutions. View the transfer agreement opportunities for this program.

There are a number of different opportunities available to students who want to continue studying at Conestoga. Whether you wish to transfer to another program or apply to a new program after graduation, Conestoga has established pathways to help you meet your goals. Conestoga Pathways information is available on Conestoga's website.

Employment opportunities

Graduates are prepared to be self-employed paralegals or to work in a law firm and the legal departments of both private and public oraganizations.
For more details on related occupations, job market information and career opportunities, see the Government of Canada website.

Relationships

Communication and Contact Information

Faculty Availability

Faculty offices are located in the main building on floor 3B and students are welcome to see individual faculty to discuss course work, assignments, or any other issues. During the first several days at the start of the semester, faculty will explain how you can contact them outside of class time.  Individual faculty timetables may be posted. As faculty have diverse teaching schedules, it is important to make an appointment to ensure they are available.

Telephones for internal use are located outside the entry to faculty workspace. Beside this phone will be a faculty directory with extension numbers only. If you have an appointment with a faculty member, please call to confirm that you have arrived. Please do not enter until you have confirmation that the faculty member is available to meet with you. If you do not have an appointment, please call the person you wish to meet in order to confirm availability. If you do not reach the faculty member, please leave a message. In the interest of respecting the work environment for everyone in this area, please do not wander into faculty workspaces.

Full-time Paralegal Faculty

Name Extension Email Address
Gurpreet Gill
Paralegal Coordinator/Faculty
3917 ggill@conestogac.on.ca
Phil Langlotz
Practicum Supervisor/Faculty
2785 planglotz@conestogac.on.ca

Program Support

Name Extension Email Address
Domenic Parisi (3B Reception) 3182 dparisi@conestogac.on.ca
Jaymie Wilson-Neil (Assistant to the Chair)
3765 jwilsonneil@conestogac.on.ca
David Brown (Community Support & Liaison) 3174 dbrown@conestogac.on.ca

Administration

Name Extension Email Address
Dr. Janos Botschner
Chair, Community Safety
3421 jbotschner@conestogac.on.ca

Contacting Program Staff

When contacting program staff outside of class time it is advisable to use e-mail or telephone. Your message should include the following information:

  • First and last name
  • Course and level
  • Brief description of reason for contact
  • Telephone number where you can be reached

Student E-mail

Please Note:  All email communications with your instructors must go through your college e-mail address. Use ONLY the college e-mail address when communicating with faculty. Non-college e-mail addresses (e.g. Hotmail) are not acceptable and may not be received by your instructor's email account.   In addition, it is the responsibility students to check their college e-mail regularly because official communication will be via this method.

Student Engagement

Student Concerns/Issues

We appreciate that concerns/issues may arise during the learning experience. Our goal is to collaborate—students with faculty and staff—to resolve situations of concerns quickly and to learn and improve from these situations.

To achieve this goal, we need an effective problem-solving environment. This means:

a.     When a situation of concern arises, it needs to be raised in timely manner and discussed by the individuals involved. This is the most important area for effective problem solving.

**Problem-solving closest to the individual associated with the learning is the place to start.

b.      Please see the "Student Concerns/Issues" section in the Student Rights and Responsibilities chapter of the college Student Guide for further details to be followed for the informal and formal procedures for the resolution of concerns and issues.

c.       Please note that issues and concerns related to a placement site, its operation or its employees should first be brought to the attention of the Conestoga Field Placement Supervisor or Program Coordinator, subject to the additional procedures outlined in the following Sections on "Professionalism" and "Concerns Regarding Safety or Care/Service for Clients during a Practicum/Field Placement".

Student Representation

Conestoga Students Inc. (CSI) and Conestoga agree that a student has the right to invite a member of CSI to a student/faculty meeting, provided that 24 hours advance notice is given to faculty. This advance notice will ensure that all parties will have an opportunity to adequately prepare for the meeting.

PAC (Program Advisory Committee)

Each program at Conestoga has a Program Advisory Committee (PAC), which is made up of industry and academic representatives, as well as current students. They meet several times a year to discuss the direction in which that industry is heading and any improvements that can be made to keep the program current. This helps to ensure that students are learning material that is relevant to their industry.

At the beginning of each year, the coordinator of the program will ask for student volunteers. The coordinator will decide which students will represent years one and two. The student attendees are important members of the committee and are expected to be present at the meetings. Students must prepare and submit a report based on guidelines provided by the Program Chair/Coordinator which will be presented at the meeting. Students are expected to be professional, dress in business attire and engage in discussions.

WIHSC (Waterloo Interprofessional Health & Community Student Collaborative)

Conestoga College offers many unique and exciting opportunities for personal and professional growth. One of the things that contribute to the excellence of this college is the host of exciting extra-curricular opportunities that add to the culture of this fine institution. WIHSC (Waterloo Interprofessional Health & Community Student Collaborative) is one such club whose members strive to 'learn with, from, and about' each other.

Membership of this active group is comprised of students enrolled in health, community, and social sciences programs at the Doon campus. Some of the most popular initiatives that this group regularly engages in are interactive simulation exercises, peer-mentoring, guest speakers, paper case studies and monthly meetings. To find out more about this exciting opportunity, please visit the WIHSC website. The website includes information on past events (pictures and videos) as well as how to get involved. Get involved, have fun, and learn more about the team members you will work with upon graduation! For more information, please contact your Program Coordinator.

Student Feedback

Student feedback is an essential component of our continuous improvement process. Our opportunities for student feedback include:

Key Performance Indicators

All college programs in the province are evaluated using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) through the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD). This survey is conducted each academic year in select classes. Strategic goals to improve the programs are developed from these results. This data and other data specific to the campus and the program/school are collected so that Conestoga College can continually improve quality.

Student Appraisal of Teaching

The Student Appraisal of Teaching (SAT) allows direct feedback from students on teaching for a particular course. Completion of the SAT form gives teachers and academic managers valuable information to use for the improvement of teaching at Conestoga.

The SAT process occurs in the last one-third of the semester. Typically about one-quarter of the faculty is appraised per term, and each has two courses selected by their academic managers for appraisal. All teachers have a SAT review at least once every two years. The SAT process is managed by the Office of Institutional Research and Planning using an online survey system specifically designed for course/teacher evaluations.  After all marks for the semester have been submitted, a summary of results goes to the academic manager to be shared with the faculty member. Continuing Education students may have an opportunity to complete a SAT form at the conclusion of each Continuing Education course.

Class Cancellations

Class Cancellations Due to Faculty Absence

All class cancellations due to faculty absences will be posted in the Student Portal on the left hand side of first page which a student sees after logging in. These notices in the Student Portal will be the only general notifications of class cancellations due to faculty absences.

Faculty who will be absent will not be informing students of class cancellations through eConestoga.

Class Cancellations Due to Inclement Weather

College closure due to inclement weather will be announced on local radio stations (92.9; 88.3; 1460; 96.7, 105.3, and 1240). It is up to staff and students to listen for campus closures. If the college is closed a message will be left on the campus switchboard after office hours. A notice will also be placed on the college website.

Personal Notifications of Class Cancellations

Students have the option of receiving special emails or SMS text messages notifying them of class cancellations due to faculty absences. To receive such personal notifications students must subscribe to this special service.

To subscribe:

  • Log in to the Student Portal
  • Select Notifications under the Profile tab
  • Select the method by which you would like to be notified
  • Click Update.

Note: To change the email address to which these notifications will be sent, select My Addresses under the Profile Tab, and change the default email address.

Standards of Conduct and Professional Practice

The Law Society of Upper Canada has established rules that set out the ethical and professional standards for licensed paralegals.  Students are expected to behave in accordance to the Paralegal Rules of Conduct  with those rules and the values they embody.

Behaviour

The legal profession often deals with serious social issues and matters of significant personal importance to clients.  It is essential to behave in a respectful, reliable and competent manner at all times and this same behaviour is expected in the classroom.

Professional Appearance

Professional appearance is an important part of the legal work environment and proper attire is expected of students in the Paralegal program.

Dress code policy:  Students are expected to be neat and well-groomed.  Inappropriate dress items include: leggings, workout clothing, sweat pants, torn/faded jeans, flip-flops and hats or caps.  Students are expected to dress in business wear for events and guest speakers.

Note: Students not complying with dress code will not be permitted entry to the specific event or may be asked to leave the class.  Students violating any of the above professional appearance policies may be subject to disciplinary action.

Standards of Conduct

There are three areas of conduct to which students are expected to adhere. They are outlined as follows: Professional Conduct, Academic Conduct, and Social/Behavioural Conduct.

Students are required to adhere in respect to Academic Policies and Procedures as detailed in Standards of Conduct in Conestoga College's Student Guide for the current academic year as well as the Standards of Conduct specifically identified in this document.

In the event of a conflict between the Paralegal Studies Program Handbook & the College Student Guide, the Student Guide will take precedence.

Standards of Professional Conduct

Throughout their program of studies students are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and apply themselves to academic achievement.

  • Students are required to uphold and promote the ethical standards of the program and the profession.
  • Students are responsible to protect the integrity of the Paralegal program and the College community as a whole by identifying students who are dishonest and/or violate the standards.
  • Students are expected to seek clarification from faculty or administration when unsure of any of these standards.

Sanctions under the Student Code of Conduct, up to and including expulsion will occur for violators of professional conduct. Examples for which Conestoga College students have received sanctions:

  • Students were found to be using forged parking passes. This is theft of services.
  • Students lifting the arm of the barrier of the paid parking lot to avoid paying. This is theft of services.
  • Becoming involved in an altercation at another college and bringing the program into disrepute.

As a Paralegal student, please note that all expectations referred to above and found in the Conestoga Student Guide apply equally to practicum experiences.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

Academic honesty is expected and required of all Conestoga students. In order to maximize your success as a student, it is critical that you familiarize yourself with the Academic Integrity Policy found in the Conestoga Student Guide. This guide has been provided to you on our College website. The Academic Integrity Policy provides a detailed description of the following:

  • Scope of academic integrity,
  • What academic integrity means,
  • What types of behaviours constitute a breach of academic integrity,
  • The penalties associated with breaching academic integrity.

After reading this information, if you do not fully understand what is meant by academic integrity, and what is required of you to maintain academic integrity, please speak with a faculty member or your program Coordinator. Please note that maintaining academic integrity is very important, and that it is your responsibility as a Conestoga student to know the Academic Integrity Policy and to initiate help if you do not fully understand it.

Below are a few hints to help you avoid breaching academic integrity.

  • Make sure that you recognize information that requires referencing.
Example Required Referencing
Milk is good for you. General information in the public domain. Does not require referencing.

"According to Health Canada milk beverages provide the nutrients needed for healthy bones and optimal health".

Health Canada. (2008). Canada's food guide: Milk and alternatives. Retrieved May 17, 2011 from            http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/choose-choix/milk-lait/index-eng.php

Direct quote right from a published source. Requires a reference.

Consuming milk every day provides the nutrients that you need for healthy bones and optimal health.

Health Canada. (2008). Canada's food guide: Milk and alternatives. Retrieved May 17, 20011 from            http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/choose-choix/milk-lait/index-eng.php

Information that has been put into your own words, but offers information outside of public domain related with specialized knowledge. Requires a reference.
  • Whenever you refer to material from another source, whether book, journal article, video, newspaper, or electronic publications, you must acknowledge your source using proper citations and references. The APA style is the format most often used in the health and social sciences. Please visit the Conestoga Learning Commons for assistance with the APA format.
  • If you work collaboratively with others on an assignment, including in class assignments that expect independent submission, make sure that you do not copy words or ideas from others intentionally or by accident.
  • Make sure that you read the Academic Integrity Policy located in the Conestoga Student Guide, and that you fully understand it. The policy describes additional behaviours that represent a breach of academic integrity.

Copyright – What Students Need to Know

Photocopying and scanning at Conestoga are governed by the Copyright Act, an agreement with Access Copyright, and the Association of Canadian Community Colleges' Fair Dealing Policy.

Under the terms of our Access Copyright license which gives the broadest permission:

You can photocopy or scan the following:

  • Up to 10% of most published works
  • One chapter that is greater than 10%, but no more than 20% of the book
  • One article, short story, play, poem or essay from a book, magazine or journal issue containing other works
  • One newspaper article or page
  • One entry from an encyclopedia, dictionary, annotated bibliography or similar reference work
  • One drawing, sculpture, painting, print, architectural work of art or work of artistic craftsmanship from a larger volume containing other works.

Cumulative Copying

If you copy 10% of a book today, 10% next week, 10% the week after that, and so on, this is called cumulative copying and it is not allowed. The copy limits apply to an entire academic year, so once you reach the limit for an item, you can't copy more until the next academic year.

You cannot copy or scan the following:

  • Workbooks or study guides that are intended for one-time use
  • Instruction manuals
  • Sheet music and original artistic works including photographs or prints
  • Advertisements
  • Business cases
  • Any of the items on the Access Copyright Exclusions list

You can find all of this information and more on the Copyright for Students web page.

If you have any questions about copyright or the limits of copying on campus, contact James Yochem, Copyright Coordinator, at Jyochem@conestogac.on.ca or 519-748-5220 ext. 3746.

Safe Practice

Safe practice is a hallmark of professional practice. It is an expectation of everyone who is or wants to be a professional.

There are a number of policies and procedures associated with practical training in your program that have been developed to ensure your safety and the safety (physical and emotional) of those around you. These will be reviewed with you during your program.

The following basic procedures are outlined for your attention and follow-through:

  1. Your personal safety begins with the use of professional attire and foot wear and with your attention to the health and safety expectations that may be identified throughout the college. 
  2. Help us have a safe and pleasant environment by wiping up spills, by ensuring lap top cords do not snake across walking areas and by reporting equipment or facility problems when you see them.
    Concerns such as these in the Cowan Health Sciences Centre may be reported to an employee in the Interprofessional Resources team.
  3. Specific dress codes, personal protective equipment and specific codes of behavioral conduct may apply to certain programs; failure to follow these may result in your inability to participate in a lab, class or experiential learning activity.  
  4. Safe work practices are to be followed during all training; follow the direction of your instructors. If you have a practicum, your Clinical Instructor/Responsible Faculty/Preceptor will ensure that you are aware of safe practices and safety precautions and procedures. This includes problem-solving by the Responsible Faculty and Program Coordinator with the college's Occupational Health & Safety Department as required. For example, should outside temperatures during the summer become unusually hot, very high temperatures may occur in some workplaces; this could require that specific steps be taken to ensure a safe working environment. 
  5. All safety-related accidents, incidents, and near misses must be reported to the Instructor-in-Charge immediately. This is an opportunity to problem-solve about how to avoid these areas of concern for the future.

Student Protection Acknowledgement

A Student Protection Acknowledgement confirmation pop-up will appear when a student logs into the Student Portal on a yearly basis. This will direct students to policies and procedures relevant to their academic responsibilities. All Conestoga College wide academic policies and procedures are listed on the college website under "About Conestoga", "Policies and Procedures". 

Students are advised to review and comply with all policies and procedures, including the following: 

  • Academic Dispute and Resolution Policy & Procedure
  • Academic Integrity Policy & Violation of Academic Integrity Procedure 
  • Academic Recognition Policy
  • Academic Credential Procedure
  • Clearance of Academic Deficiency Policy & Procedure
  • Co-operative Education Policy
  • Discontinuance Policy & Procedure
  • Eligibility to Participate in Co-op Work Terms Policy & Procedure
  • Evaluation of Student Learning Policy & Procedure
  • Grading Procedure
  • Graduation Requirements and Convocation Procedure
  • Honours Policy & Procedure
  • Program Withdrawal and Refund Procedure
  • Student Code of Conduct Policy
  • Student Concerns and Issues Policy & Procedure
  • Student Fees Policy & Student Fee Invoicing and Payment Procedure
  • Student Feedback Policy

Students must follow all of the policies and procedures for Conestoga College and it is expected that faculty will accept, fulfill and enforce these standards.

Professional Conduct - Use of Social Media and Cell Phones

To support a quality and respectful learning environment both in the classroom and in field placement, the use of cell phones and laptop computers for social networking should only occur during break times, before/after class, outside of children's play areas (indoors/outdoors) and during formal break time in field placement.

Laptops and other forms of technology may be used in the classroom when the use pertains to the content and processes of learning facilitated by the professor/team member. If your technology use is disruptive to the class, the faculty/staff may ask you to leave the class until such time that you are able to re-engage in the learning process. 

Social Media Policy

  • Social media has many advantages for a professional. It can be used to network, to resource information and keep current
  • As a student and future professional, it is essential to maintain professional boundaries in all communication, including Social Media.

BE AWARE:

  • According to the Ontario College of Teachers (2011), "Electronic messages are not anonymous. They can be tracked, misdirected, manipulated and live forever on the internet. Social media sites create and archive copies of every piece of content posted, even when deleted from on-line profiles. Once information is digitalized, the author relinquishes all control." The same organization also indicates "Online identities and actions are visible to the public and can result in serious repercussions or embarrassment. As the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Ontario notes, users may intend to share their online existence solely within their own network, but in theory anyone can access the user's musings, photos and information. Further, the words can be altered, forwarded and misquoted. "

Ontario College of Teachers. (2011). Professional Advisory-Use of Electronic Communication and Social Media. Retrieved May 12, 2015, from https://www.oct.ca/resources/advisories/use-of-electronic-communication-and-social-media

Ensure that your posts reflect you as the professional you are and wish to become – if a potential employer were to see your posts.

  1. Many types of social media encourage instantaneous, casual dialogue. It is important to remember that even an innocent comment may be easily misunderstood.
  2. Assume that information you post or send can be accessed or altered by anyone.
  3. Consider whether any posting may reflect poorly on you, your school, or your profession.
  4. Avoid online criticism of other students, colleagues, professors or field placements.
  5. Avoid impulsive, inappropriate or heated comments.
  6. Pictures should not be taken, posted to social media sites or shared without the express permission of all individuals involved.
  7. Remember that online sites you visit are not anonymous.
  8. Make sure your on-line name and email reflect professionalism.
  9. Ensure that your postings will not be considered harassment or defamation of a peer, colleague, faculty or others.

    Maintain privacy of all care and service activities when in practical work experiences:
  1. Do not take or post any pictures while on placement or involved in lab activities
  2. Maintain client-provider relationships and boundaries. The addition of a client to a 'friendship" status online is unacceptable.

Please respect the fact that your faculty and staff will not invite you to their personal web pages when you are a current student, nor will they accept any invitations to your personal sites (Keep faculty and staff as resources to connect with after you have graduated or after you have left the college)

Cell Phone Policy

Students should respect their professors and other instructors by following program policy and not use their cell phones for personal use during class time. This is representative of the professional manner in which you are expected to act as you prepare to enter the workforce.

Students will not bring their cell phone or technology device into a test or examination, unless required for the examination and approved by the faculty. Phones should be left in your locker or left in your bag at the front of the classroom. In the event of an urgent need to keep your cell phone with you during a test (parents with young children, students experiencing a family emergency, etc.) please speak to your professor as soon as you enter the examination room. Those who have been permitted to bring a phone into the classroom will likely be asked to either leave the phone with the professor, or they may be permitted to leave their phone out on their desk where it is visible to the professor and proctors. In any case, students are not permitted to touch or answer the phone without raising their hand to ask for the professor/proctor's permission. If you are found to have a cell phone in your possession during an examination that has not been declared, you will be asked to leave the examination room, and will be given a zero on the assessment.


Attendance and Student Success Strategies

Attendance

In view of the learning complexities of the Paralegal Program, it is imperative that students attend all classes and placements as scheduled. Students who are absent from class or practicum place themselves in academic jeopardy of not meeting the learning objectives as stipulated by the program.

If extenuating circumstances require a student to miss a class, please note that it is the student's responsibility to share this information with faculty and to acquire any missed information.

Attendance for Evaluations

An evaluation is defined as a test, exam, presentation or any other formal assessment that requires your presence in a class or lab. Evaluations are critical components of each course and overall success for you in your Program.

The School's approach to requirements for attendance at evaluations reflects the expectation that as emerging professionals, students must demonstrate a professional attitude and attention to evaluations, in the same manner that expectations for future work as professional will require attention to workplace procedures.  Consequences for missed evaluations are balanced against reasonable support where it is warranted.

In order to support student success:

  • Evaluation and presentation dates are scheduled and communicated at the beginning of each semester.
  • Unplanned extenuating circumstances involving the college, the program or the faculty that may require changes to the course schedule will be communicated to students.

In support of the development of professionalism, students are required to take all evaluations at the scheduled times.

  • Students who make personal commitments that conflict with the evaluation dates or assignment deadlines do so at their own risk.
  • There will be no special arrangements made for students with personal conflicts (e.g. work, family commitments or vacation plans).
  • Students who wish to reschedule an evaluation or a presentation due to a religious holiday are required to discuss the situation with faculty within the first two weeks of the semester.
  • Academic accommodations are provided to students with documented disabilities through the Accessibility Office.

Notification procedure

Log into the student portal and click on the Absence tab and indicate that you will be absent from class on a day that has an evaluation. You will receive a confirmation email that you have recorded your absence for that day.

Note:

  • Your professor will be aware of your absence from an evaluation by your lack of attendance and because you have entered your absence using the online Absence Recording System on the Student Portal
  • The Absence Recording System shows you as being absent for the day, starting from the time that you record your absence. (For example if you record your absence for that day at 11.00 AM the system will show you as being absent for all classes starting after 11.00 AM that day.) If you are then going to be present again for some later class, you will need to bring your presence to the attention of your professor in that later class.)
  • The earliest that you may record your absence for a particular day is after 8:00 PM on the preceding day

Notification for Absence from Evaluations

Students are required to notify the program of absence from any evaluation for any reason.

  • Notification must be received prior to the start of the evaluation.
  • Failure to do so will result in a mark of zero being assigned.

Follow-up after Reporting Your Absence from an Evaluation

  • You must make contact immediately with faculty to explain the reasons for your absence and to arrange a meeting.
  • If there is a concerning pattern of absence you will be asked to meet with the program coordinator. This may result in the need for you to provide documentation verifying the reason for your absence, in accordance with the requirements specified in sections below titled "Evaluations worth 20% or more" and "Evaluations worth less than 20%"
  • Faculty will then make alternative evaluation arrangements as appropriate and you will complete any necessary forms. 
  • Students are required to complete the alternative evaluation as scheduled.
  • If the evaluation is to be conducted in the testing center, you will be asked to show your student card before you are permitted to write the test.
  • Tests will be made up In the College Testing Centre in the following week, or by individual arrangements with program faculty.

Religious Holidays

Students are permitted by Conestoga policy to be absent from class to observe a recognized religious holiday. Any student who is unable to attend classes or participate in an examination, study, or work requirement on some particular day or days because of religious beliefs will be given the opportunity to make up the work that was missed or do alternate work/examinations subject to timely notification.

Conestoga recognizes all religious holidays as defined by the College Employer Council

It is the responsibility of the student to:

a. Plan ahead and be aware of the dates of all examinations and other course obligations;

b. Advise the faculty member that he/she will be seeking accommodation to observe a recognized religious holiday and make a request in writing to your Program Coordinator within the first three weeks of the semester and prior to the date of assessment that falls on the religious holiday. Exceptions based on extenuating circumstances must be approved by the Chair.

Documentation to Substantiate Your Reported Absence

Evaluations worth less than 20%

Missed evaluations worth less than 20% of the student's final grade will be rescheduled once per program semester subject to proper communication described above.

Once per program semester means that only one absence for an evaluation will be accepted across all courses in a program for a semester. Implications of major illnesses or personal circumstances impacting several course evaluations at one time will require discussion with the program coordinator prior to faculty/staff arranging deferred evaluations.

If an evaluation cannot be rescheduled (for example an experiential activity or participation in a group presentation) reallocation of marks will be determined by faculty. This will be documented on an interview record and signed off by both faculty/staff and student.

If more than one evaluation that is worth less than 20% is missed, documentation requirements for evaluations worth 20% or more apply.

Evaluations worth 20% or more

Any student who misses an evaluation worth 20% or more will receive a mark of zero unless the reason for missing the evaluation and the accompanying documentation verifying the reason for the absence are deemed acceptable by the program. Examples of reasons deemed acceptable include incapacitating illness, death of a close family member, and required court appearance.

NB: If an evaluation is missed due to illness, the health care professional attesting to the illness must have firsthand knowledge of the situation and direct involvement with the treatment / management of the condition. For example, a note from a clinic provided by a physician seeing the student for the first time, after the illness has resolved, is unlikely to meet the program standard for documentation.

Acceptable reasons for Absence

  1. Compassionate Leave: Requests for a Leave of Absence to attend to family illness, death or family problems are granted.  These requests will be submitted to the Professor who will consult with the Program Co-ordinator and/or Chair if necessary. A Leave that impacts clinical experiences may affect success in the semester.
  2. Jury Duty:  Any student who receives a summons for Jury Duty should bring the document to the Chair to assess if it can be arranged to have the student excused if such duty interferes with the progress in the program.
  3. Illness: Students experiencing health concerns that prevent attendance should notify their professor of their absence in advance and be prepared to present a certificate from a physician in the event of missing any form of assessment.

Test Procedures

  • Once a test begins, students may not leave the test room for 30 minutes. If they finish a test before that time, they may review their answers but are expected to sit QUIETLY and not disturb others.  Once students leave the room they may only re-enter when invited back by faculty.
  • Any student found cheating during the course of an examination/test will be addressed according to procedures found in Conestoga Student Guide.
  • Faculty are responsible to advise as to the material permitted in the testing room. Personal items and learning materials will be left in an area identified by the faculty.
  • Faculty will advise as to the seating arrangements of students.
  • During open book tests, students must bring their own course materials (books, notes, Learning Packages etc.) for individual use only. Students may not share any of these materials. Electronic devices, such as, iPod, text messaging, cell phones, translators, will not be permitted.

Importance of Test and Presentation Dates

Test and assignment dates are scheduled at the beginning of each semester. Unplanned extenuating circumstances involving the college, the program, or the faculty may require changes to the course schedule.  If this occurs, students will be notified.

Students are required to write all tests during the scheduled in-class test times. Students who make personal commitments that conflict with meeting test and assignment deadlines do so at their own risk. There will be no special arrangements made for students with personal conflicts (e.g. work, family commitments or vacation plans). Students who wish to reschedule a test or presentation because of a religious holiday are required to discuss the situation with faculty at the beginning of the semester.

Academic accommodations are provided to students with documented disabilities through the Accessibility Services Office.

Assignment Policies

It is expected that students will submit all assignments on time, on the date they are due.  Late marks will be deducted from assignments not submitted when requested by faculty.

Students with extenuating circumstances that may prevent them from submitting assignments on time must discuss their circumstance prior to the due date. They must discuss with the course faculty a mutually agreed upon new due date that is no more than one week past the original due date.  A form entitled Student Request for Variance Form Course Schedule and Evaluation Methods will be completed and kept on file. Please allow for time to process the request for an extension as well as a reply to negotiate the signing of a variance form.  Students who initiate this process will not experience the loss of late marks.  Students who engage in this practice more than two times during the course of a semester will be required to meet the Coordinator to discuss academic and personal supports.

If students do not negotiate a variance, they risk having late marks deducted from the final grade.  Late marks will be deducted at a rate of one mark per day, including weekends, from the total per cent value of the assignment.

Note: Reporting an absence on the day a written assignment is due, does not extend the assignment due date. Under typical circumstances, late assignments will be accepted until that assignment has been marked and returned to the class. No assignments will be accepted after the last day of the semester.

Working Together on Group Assignments

Students will often work with their fellow peers on various assignments/projects throughout the program. Each group member is responsible for ensuring that he/she has an equal role in the group.  All students in the group should review the completed work before it is submitted/ presented.  When issues/concerns arise during the group process, it is the responsibility of group members to contact the course professor for assistance prior to the due date.

Use of Time between Classes

Students are encouraged to use breaks between classes for personal needs (food, washroom, phone calls, emails etc.) but also for group work, studying, connecting with faculty, field placement supervisors, etc.

Faculty Returning Tests and Assignments

In order to support student success, students will be given continual feedback on their progress throughout the semester.  Individual faculty will inform students in class how/when tests and assignments and/or marks on them will be returned. Please note that some tests will be returned to students and some may be retained by faculty. Under no circumstances are students to enter the offices of faculty or look through papers on a desk without a faculty present. Students who have questions about tests/assignments/grades should follow the process outlined below:

  • At least 24 hours after receiving the mark and within seven days, write a note to the faculty, indicating the area(s) of clarification required,
  • Initiate a meeting with the faculty to discuss,
  • Bring pertinent information (assignment, mark sheet, etc.) to the appointment.

Note: Students are encouraged to keep all assignments, texts and course-related resources and materials throughout the duration of the program.

General Guidelines for Quality of Written Work

In the Paralegal program, both in courses and field placement, there are continuous requirements for written work in a variety of formats (papers, assignments, forms and plans, handouts, etc.). It is expected that all students will meet the standard of English required within our profession. Faculty, field placement supervisors and cooperating teachers will identify students who are having difficulty in this area and will approach students to discuss the need for improvement. Students may be referred to the Learning Commons to help them improve the quality of their written work.

General Guidelines for Submitting Written Work

For specific course requirements, refer to the Course Schedule and Evaluation Methods information provided. If you are not clear about course requirements, discuss with individual faculty. Students are required to use spell-check and grammar-check to assist with the editing of written work. The Learning Commons will be an invaluable resource to students who require assistance in organizing and writing an assignment with correct spelling and grammar.

Unless otherwise indicated by professors, generally, assignments should be:

  • Word processed
  • Double spaced and 1 sided
  • Submitted using font size of 12 CPI, if word processed and proper margins
  • Written in a grammatically correct manner (use spell and grammar check)
  • Handed in securely fastened with a cover page indicating the course name, faculty's name, student's name, section and date submitted
  • Handed in at the beginning of class on the designated due date in class, unless otherwise indicated by professor
  • Handed in using the APA@Conestoga format (see below) if references are required 

NOTE: Faculty does not assume responsibility for assignments not given directly to them in hard copy at the beginning of the relevant course. Students should avoid handing in assignments outside the regularly scheduled class time and should make every effort to hand assignments in person.

Submitting Assignments

It is expected that students will submit all assignments on time. Late marks will be deducted from assignments not submitted when requested by faculty.

Students with extenuating circumstances that prevent them from submitting assignments on time should discuss their circumstance prior to the due date. They should discuss with the course faculty a mutually agreed upon new due date, within 1 week of the scheduled date.  Students who initiate this process will not experience the loss of late marks.  If students do not negotiate a variance, they risk having late marks deducted from the final grade.  Faculty will consider the circumstances and determine whether to allow or disallow a deadline extension.

Under typical circumstances, and where prior arrangements have been made with the instructor, late assignments may be accepted until that assignment has been marked and returned to the class. No assignments will be accepted after the last day of the semester.

Steps to Follow to Submit Assignments Outside of Class Time

Assignments should be submitted on their due date either in class or electronically as may be required by the instructor.  If circumstances require that they be submitted outside a scheduled class, the student will be required to drop off the assignment into the drop box located outside of the faculty office, 3B. We cannot assure that faculty or administrative support staff will be present to receive assignments. Please make sure that if you are dropping an assignment off outside of class that you have indicated to your faculty, via email, that you have dropped it off. In your email you should indicate the date and time you dropped off your assignment. You should also provide an electronic copy of your assignment to the faculty as per faculty instructions. 

Academic Progress Through the Program

Academic Standing and Promotion

The Conestoga Student Guide is your first source for information concerning academic regulations, policies and procedures. The Conestoga Student Guide is available on the college website and by visiting the "Student Guide" tab in your Student Portal.

Achievement

In addition to the Academic Regulations found in the Conestoga Student Guide, the following apply to the Paralegal Program:

  • Your Student Guide provides detailed information about dropping courses. If you are planning to drop a course, you must do so within the time period. If you have missed that time period, please see the Program Coordinator to find out about your options. Not attending a course does not constitute an official dropping of a course and will result in a grade of "F". 
  • Our course exemption policy is outlined under "Course Exemptions" below. We consider credits from other accredited post-graduate programs. The program may consider exemptions for other courses in limited circumstances at the discretion of the program. If you have completed courses from a college or university that you think may be very similar in content to courses in the Paralegal program you may be eligible for a course exemption. Please note that to receive an exemption, courses must have been completed within the past 7 years and with a mark of at least 60%.).  The course content must match 80% of the Paralegal course content.  If you would like to proceed with a request for exemptions, please contact your Program Coordinator for guidance. Exemptions will not be processed until a student starts the course. The exemption process will take some time (2-3 weeks), and students should attend all scheduled courses until they receive the exemption as they will be responsible for all material covered in class should the exemption be denied.

Course Add/Drop

You can add, change and drop courses from your portal depending on the dates and which program you are in:

  1. Log in to the Student Portal
  2. Click on the "My Courses" tab
  3. Scroll over the icons to the right of individual course listings. It is strongly recommended that students consult their program coordinator/academic advisor prior to dropping a course.

Academic Probation

Students who have been unsuccessful in their field experience, have demonstrated a significant lack of professional deportment, have failed two or more academic courses, and/or have required considerable testing/assignment variances may be recommended for Academic Probation. Academic probation allows students to be promoted to the next level with a special timetable or with academic conditions. Special timetables and academic conditions are designed as part of written learning contract that the student and program coordinator create together. The goal of these measures is to allow students to continue in the program accompanied by a supportive plan for success.

The Paralegal program offers each course only once per academic school year. Failure of a course will impact your ability to graduate that year.  Students will not be able to repeat a course until the following academic year.

Discontinuance

Students who have not successfully participated in the requirements of their academic probation, who have failed to meet the standards set out in the Conestoga Student Guide and/or the Paralegal Program Standards and Procedures Handbook involving academic dishonesty, student responsibilities, or unacceptable behaviour, attitude or conduct or have failed 2 or more of thier required program courses may be discontinued from the Program at the end of the academic term.  Students who have not successfully completed all academic courses are not eligible to participate in the practicum placement.  Students who have been discontinued from the Program may be considered for re-entry to the program for the following academic year.   The Department will determine eligibility for re-entry into the program on a case-by-case basis.  Re-admission to the program will be based on a plan of success developed and signed by the student, in consultation with the Program Coordinator.

Withdrawal

Students not planning to return to the Paralegal Program the following semester are expected to complete a Withdrawal Form available from the program coordinators, the registrar's office, or on the college website.

Program Transfer

Prior to transferring to another program, it is recommended that the student meet with the program coordinator or academic advisor. Students who decide to change programs may do so by completing and submitting a program application form to the registrar's office. If considering transferring to a program outside the school in which they are currently enrolled in, students may want to discuss options with a career advisor. When a student moves from one Conestoga program to another and where courses numbers/codes are identical or equivalent, automatic credit is given if passing grades are met.

Appeal

Students have the right to appeal any academic decisions as set out in the Conestoga Student Guide. It is recommended that students begin this appeal process by first meeting with the faculty and/or program coordinator and/or program chair.

Clearance of Academic Deficiency

Please refer to Conestoga Student Guide for the procedure and criteria regarding Clearance of Academic Deficiency. Please note that following the end of semester, contact with any student eligible to write a supplemental will be made either by phone or email. A specific date, time and room number will be given to each student. If a student does not respond to this contact, the student forfeits the opportunity to write a supplemental test. The maximum number of supplemental opportunities during the program is two per student.

Special Timetables/Adding Dropped or Failed Courses

Please note that when students are not taking the program in the prescribed sequence (e.g., because they are completing outstanding courses), they will be on "special timetables". Prior to the beginning of the semester, students should attempt to add missed courses from a previous semester by logging in to the student portal and following the instructions to register for courses. If students are not able to add courses on their own (because of a timetable conflict or full course section) they must seek assistance from their Program Coordinator during the "Special Timetable Registration" initiated by the college. Dates, times and locations of Special Timetable Registration periods are posted in the student portal in advance of the beginning of each semester. Students must attend this meeting where they will receive further guidance regarding this academic status from their Program Coordinator.

Students who take longer than the designed program length of time to complete their studies are accountable for completing any new or additional courses that may result due to changes in the program of study. Unless otherwise stated, students registered in non-cohort delivered programs must complete the program of study within seven years of being admitted to the program.

Readmission to a Program

Students are required to apply for readmission when they have been absent from their program for one semester or longer unless an Intention Form has been completed (returning students only), or when the student has withdrawn or been discontinued. Upon readmission, students are placed into the current program of study which determines graduation requirements. Students are subject to the college and program policies and procedures in place at the time of readmission.

Students applying for readmission to Level/Semester 1 must do so through Ontario Colleges Website. Students applying for readmission to a level beyond Level/Semester one must do so using a Conestoga College Program Application Form. Applicable fees will be charged.

The application for readmission will be reviewed based on the student's academic eligibility, program readmission requirements, and space availability. The student will be informed in writing of the decision

For additional information, refer to the Academic Administration page for more information on the readmission procedure.

Course Exemptions

While we recognize that the content of all Law Society accredited programs (whether undergraduate or post-graduate) must meet the core competencies established by the Law Society, our program involves accelerated delivery and also has been approved by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities as an Ontario Graduate Certificate. The credential reflects the skills for learning and application required for success in a program format of this type.

Our program may consider course exemption requests for mandatory legal courses from students who have completed equivalent courses in a post-graduate program (e.g., masters and doctoral programs, other graduate certificate programs) at a recognized post-secondary institution.

The principal criteria for assessing the equivalency of a course to one of our mandatory legal courses involve: (1) proportion of match to substantive content (an 80 percent correspondence is required); (2) level of credential (the course must be at the graduate level); and (3) accreditation by the Law Society of Upper Canada (preferred).

All courses being considered for exemption must meet the first and second criteria. Where a course does not meet the third criterion, program faculty will determine its correspondence on an individual basis, with attention to: the grade attained (minimum 75 percent); the focus of the program; the correspondence between the skills acquired within the previous program and the skills emphasized by our program and other Law Society accredited programs, as described by the core competencies required by the Law Society.

Once a determination has been made and approved by the Department Chair, it is final and not subject to appeal.

Graduation

Students who have completed the Paralegal program in the prescribed sequence are automatically registered to graduate. Students who have not completed the Paralegal program in the prescribed sequence must "apply to graduate" during their final semester. Visit the college web site for an application to graduate.

PLAR (Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition)

In some programs, it is possible to recognize prior learning of skills, knowledge, or competencies that have been acquired through employment, formal and informal education, non-formal learning or other life experiences. Prior learning must be measureable at the required academic level and meet Conestoga standards of achievement for current courses (e.g., through a challenge exam).

The core competencies for licensed paralegals, as described by the Law Society of Upper Canada, and delivered through Conestoga's Graduate Certificate in Paralegal Studies, typically involve the capacity to demonstrate skill sets such as: advocacy; trial/hearing presentations; cross examinations; and other skills related to "thinking on one's feet" to address complex scenarios in dynamic situations.  For these reasons, the Paralegal program does not currently grant exemptions from a paralegal course based on a student's prior work experience (PLAR). 

General Education / Breadth Electives

School of Liberal Studies

The purpose of General Education and Degree Breadth electives is to provide graduates with the skills and knowledge to succeed both professionally and in their own personal lives. Working collaboratively with your program, General Education and Degree Breadth courses help develop the critical and creative thinking skills, civic engagement and knowledge of the broader world of arts, culture and science that helps make you more reflective, creative, and effective in your own life.

All Ontario College Diploma, Ontario College Advanced Diploma, and Degree programs at Conestoga require students to complete general education electives / interdisciplinary breadth.

More information on these courses can be found at www.conestogac.on.ca/electives.

Process for Resolution of Student Concerns

In order to resolve any concerns which may arise during a course, field placement or relating to the program overall, students are encouraged to resolve issues or concerns informally at the program level prior to proceeding to a formal appeal.

If attempts have been made, and a successful resolution has not been reached, students are encouraged to refer to their Conestoga Student Guide, and to follow the procedures outlined under the "Academic Dispute Resolution and Appeal Procedure" section.

Maintaining Student Files

  1. Official records of each student's education are maintained electronically by the Registrar.
  2. Administrative records related to your experience in the Program are maintained to demonstrate compliance with external and college requirements. This information is as follows:
Administrative
Student Information File Location and Student Access Retention

Pre Practicum Health Requirements (if applicable)

  • per copies of information received from students

In H.S Trax, by individual student access

**accessed through My Conestoga

  • Each student has his/her own information on the Passport for provision to practicum agencies as required.
  • For the duration of a student's time in the Program

Acknowledgement of WSIB Understanding (if applicable)

  • signed electronically by each student prior to the first practicum placements
  • By the Program, online
  • For the duration of a student's time in the Program

Student Consents Signed on Admission electronically (varies per program)

  • Student Consent for Release of Information
  • Student Understanding of Professional Standards
  • Student Understanding of Safety Requirements
  • Filed electronically
  • For the duration of a student's time in the Program.
  1. Academic Files are set up as required for a student to document important matters relevant to a student's progress or to document and monitor resolution of concerns.
Academic
Student Information File Location and Student Access Retention

A.  Documents related to academic progress

  • Correspondence regarding course equivalencies
  • Correspondence re supplementary examinations
  • Learning Contracts
  • Disabilities Information & plans
  • In Student File, maintained by the Program Coordinator, initially, and then filed for safe-keeping during the student's time in the Program –maintained by the Program Assistant
For 1 year following graduation or as required by accrediting body

B.  Records of Competency Attainment

As above As above

C.  Documents related to areas of Concern

  • Interview Records, with supporting email documentation as appropriate
  • Student Code of Conduct
  • Incident Reports
  • Letters/emails of significant concern and replies
  • Appeals
As above As above
  1. Students may review the contents of their academic file by:
    • Requesting this in writing to the Program Coordinator
    • Reviewing the file in the presence of the Coordinator

 

Field Placement Experiences

Student Consent Forms

Students are required to complete program specific consent forms. To access the forms, students should go on myConestoga and open the Consent Forms tab. Students can then electronically sign-off all applicable consent forms after reading each document.

Practicum Policies

  1. It is the student's responsibility to be familiar with all aspects of the practicum process, including course outlines, policies, practicum requirement.
  2. Students are expected to work their full shifts as assigned by the practicum agency and to complete the practicum log form. The length of shifts can vary from practicum to practicum. Students who will be absent from practicum are required to notify both the contact person where they are placed and their practicum supervisor at the college prior to the start of their shift that day. Students who require special shift considerations due to extenuating circumstances should negotiate this with their Coordinator at the beginning of practicum.
  3. Students will be required to maintain confidentially when conducting observations and/or gathering information at their practicum sites as part of various class assignments.
  4. Students are required to make up any time missed from practicum in full. 
  5. Students must report any potential issues or actual problems experienced during the placement immediately to the faculty responsible for the Practicum or to the Community Placement Liaison Officer.
  6. Students must complete the minimum number of placement hours as prescribed by the Law Society of Upper Canada in order to write the paralegal licensing exam.
  7. Work opportunities following the Paralegal program may require a clear Vulnerable Sector Police Check. Therefore, it is advised that, prior to your practicum, you obtain a Vulnerable Sector Police Check. 

Offences under the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act of Canada

External Recognition and Practicum Partners

The Post-graduate certificate in the Paralegal Program has been recognized by the Law Society of Upper Canada and may be presented to the LSUC as a prerequisite to write the LSUC Paralegal Licensing exam.

We are very pleased to have the support of many community partners who provide practicum sites for the Paralegal program.

Safety in the Workplace Course

All students who participate in unpaid work placements during the course of their program will be required to successfully complete the mandatory Safety in the Workplace course prior to going out on placement.  The course will provide students with an introduction to workplace hazards and general safety awareness. Students will receive a Record of Completion to provide evidence of this training to placement sites and will consent to their workplace insurance coverage.

WSIB

Prior to your first placement, you must sign an electronic Declaration of Understanding of WSIB Coverage related to Unpaid Clinical Placements indicating you understand that WSIB coverage will be provided through the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities while you are on training placements. This Declaration will be placed in your student file.

It is your responsibility to ensure that the Declaration of Understanding for WSIB Coverage has been electronically signed, in the Safety in the Workplace Course - OHS1320, and visible on your H.S. Trax home page to be eligible to attend your field experience .

Concerns regarding Student Safety or the Safety and Care/Service for Clients

Field placement experiences provide the opportunity to demonstrate and enhance your learning in the practice environment.  These practicums have been organized by your Program in partnership with the organization where you have been placed.

The following procedures have been developed to make it easier to identify and address any concerns or issues regarding your safety or the safety and care of clients that may come up during the practicum in a way that supports both a solid learning experience and a constructive partnership with the practicum site.

A. Communication of General Concerns regarding Your Safety or The Safety and Care/Service for Clients

  1. Students will be provided with an Orientation to their placement site on the first day of their placement.  The Orientation may include details of the placement site's policies and procedures related to communication about the safety of the work environment and /or the safety and care of patients/residents/clients.

  2. If a student has any concerns about the safety of the work environment and/or the safe/appropriate care/service for clients:

    1. The student must immediately report these concerns to the College individual associated with the practicum (Community Placement and Liaison Officer).

    2. The Community Placement and Liaison will discuss this concern with Site Management.

    3. For concerns of a serious nature (e.g. concerns impacting a total student group; a serious care/service situation), the Community Placement and Liaison Officer will discuss the situation with the Responsible Faculty member associated with the placement and the Program Coordinator and, potentially, the Department Chair. The Faculty member, Coordinator or Chair will immediately contact practicum site management to determine next steps.
      Should facility policies require that practicum students report safety or care/service concerns immediately to practicum site management, the student should report to the Community Placement and Liaison Officer immediately afterward.

B. Reporting of Incidents of Student Injury during a Practicum Experience

  1. Should students experience personal injury of any kind, this must be reported immediately to the Placement Employer and Community Placement and Liaison Officer The Placement Employer will provide first-aid that may be necessary, including arranging for transportation to emergency medical services if required.  The Community Placement and Liaison Officer will notify the Program Coordinator and Chair and complete an Unpaid Work/Education Placement-Accident Report (UWEP-04) and will send this to the College's Occupational Health & Safety Office.  Where necessary, the Occupational Health & Safety Office will complete a WSIB 7 form, a MTCU Letter of Authorization to Represent Placement Employer and a MTCU Work/Education Placement Agreement Form.

C.  Reporting of Student Involvement in Situations of Possible Injury to Clients during A Practicum Experience or Student Damage to Facility Property

  1. Should students be involved in care/service situations where there the care/service results in a potential concern/injury to patients/residents/clients of the placement site, this concern must be immediately reported to the Practicum Site in order that care can be given. This situation must also be reported immediately to the Community Placement and Liaison Officer.  The Community Placement and Liaison Officer will discuss this immediately with the placement site and ensure that an incident report is completed.  The Community Placement and Liaison Officer must also inform the Responsible Faculty member, the Program Coordinator and the Department Chair for a discussion of program expectations and implications.  It is the responsibility of the Chair to ensure that all documentation is obtained regarding the incident and to inform College officials accordingly.

  2. Should students be involved in situations where there is alleged damage to resources/physical property at the Practicum site, this concern must be reported immediately to the Practicum Site and to the Community Placement and Liaison Officer.  The Community Placement and Liaison Officer will inform the Responsible Faculty member, the Program Coordinator and Department Chair for a discussion of program expectations and implications.  It is the responsibility of the Community Placement and Liaison Officer to complete an incident report with the Chair accountable to ensure all documentation is obtained and to inform College officials accordingly.

Course: LAW8240 – Paralegal Studies Practicum

This section describes policies related to LAW8240 Paralegal Studies Practicum. These policies are presented as a set of questions and answers for students. This document is effective for the 2016-17 academic year. If you have additional questions, please contact your placement supervisor, Professor Phil Langlotz.

What is it about?

From the course outline: "The three week block placement at a local law or paralegal office exposes the student to all aspects of the practice of a licensed paralegal. Students will be expected to employ academic and procedural knowledge of legal concepts and procedures within the role of the paralegal by effectively using legal precedents, resources and files in accordance with the Law Society Paralegal Rules of Conduct and the standards of a licensed paralegal. Duties of the student while on placement will be at the discretion of the field placement host."

When does it take place?

The practicum will be in the first six weeks of the spring semester, in May and June. 

Who is eligible?

Students who successfully complete all courses in the first two semesters of the paralegal program are eligible for a practicum placement.

What is the structure/timing? 

Approximately one half of the students will be on their practicum placement for the first 3 weeks of the spring semester and the second half will be on placement for the last 3 weeks of the spring semester. 

Why two groups?

There are a limited number of high quality practicum placements available in this region. If we send all students out at the same time a number will likely end up in less than optimal placements. Many of our best practicum sites will take students during both periods, enabling all students to have the best placements available.

What happens during the three weeks when the other half of the class is on their placement?

During the three week period when you are not on your placement you will be doing three courses at the College: legal accounting, alternative dispute resolution, and a topical case law seminar.   These courses have been chosen for this period because they are all well-suited to a compressed delivery and a small class size.

Who will find my placement?

The College is responsible for finding you a placement that meets both the College's and the Law Society's requirements.

What if I have a prior relationship with a law firm or paralegal and want to do my placement there?

Let the practicum lead faculty know the details by email by the end of November. The practicum lead faculty will contact the licensee to confirm that they are a suitable placement (i.e. an experienced licensee in good standing who will be exposing you to the provision of legal services within the paralegal scope of practice); that they agree to take on this responsibility; and that they are willing to take you on during the program's practicum period dates.

How am I matched with a placement?

The practicum lead faculty will be matching your interests (from the questionnaire you will be completing in November) and your work experience (from your resume) to the type of work and environment provided by the available practicum sites. Students last year were generally satisfied, and in most cases were very pleased with the result of this matching process.

Don't we do interviews? Don't I have a say?

Adding an interview process and a mutual supervisor/student matching phase could take several weeks and add a lot of unnecessary complexity for what amounts to a very short unpaid placement. As well, many of our practicum supervisors would not be willing or able to dedicate the time to the interview process and would not be participating if we required them to do so. Students and practicum supervisors were satisfied with the matching process last year. And you do "have a say" through your survey information, your resume, and any other specific information you provide to the practicum coordinator prior to the match.

Some employers may ask to meet with the student prior to the beginning of the placement or see the resume of the matched student. We expect you to cooperate with such reasonable requests.

What types of placement sites do we have?

We have a variety of placement sites, from large law firms to government agencies to sole practitioner paralegals. Most are in KW/Cambridge, with some in Guelph, and some within a half-hour drive (Milton, Stratford, Hamilton etc.)

What if I don't have transportation?

In the survey you will let the practicum lead faculty know of any travel restrictions. Also, if you prefer to be placed out of town, or have a place to live for the three week period in another community (e.g. Toronto, Hamilton, London, and Niagara Region) please let the practicum lead faculty know.

How much work is this going to be?

Your specific work assignments are up to your practicum supervisor. Both the College and the LSUC require that you complete 120 hours. This will be done during regular 8 hour work days over the three week period. Most placement sites engage the students in a variety of experiences from legal research to courtroom or tribunal observation to learning routine office procedures. It is expected that you will spend a significant amount of time working directly with your practicum supervisor (or other licensees) so you can get a real sense of what being a legal professional is all about.

Am I getting paid for this?

No. This is a required course for your program and for your licensing process. As this placement is only for a short period, it is very unlikely you will be making a significant economic contribution to your placement site, and any benefit to the placement site will certainly be less than the value of your educational experience. "Unpaid internships" are lawful in Ontario where "an individual performs work under a program approved by a college of applied arts and technology or a university. This exception exists to encourage employers to provide students enrolled in a college or university program with practical training to complement their classroom learning." See the Ontario Ministry of Labour's website for more information.

What's the critical path for this course?

  • October – resumes submitted (as part of your Legal Computer Applications course)
  • November – information sessions, student surveys taken
  • December – College collecting updated practicum site list and compiling survey information
  • March – students and practicum supervisors notified of matches, documentation provided
  • April – final orientation session for practicum placements (including some practical tips to ensure you get the most out of your practicum placement)

There are 2 practicum periods that run in May and June. Each period is 3 weeks each. Each student will complete one of these practicum periods

What documentation is involved?

Prior to the beginning of the placement, students and practicum supervisors will be required to sign an insurance form for the Ministry of Colleges and Universities. Students will be required to keep a daily hours log and have it signed by the practicum supervisor at the end of the placement period. Both the student and the practicum supervisor will be completing an evaluation at the end of the practicum. The completed and signed hours log and the evaluation forms must be provided to the practicum lead faculty within three days of completion of your placement to get a passing grade. Students should also check their LSUC licensing application documents for any additional requirements.

What about contact with the College during the practicum placement?

All students will be required to check in with the practicum lead faculty every week via email. The practicum lead faculty will be available at the College throughout the placement period, as will, the support person assigned to assist our program with the practicum.

What if something goes wrong?

The practicum lead faculty should be notified immediately of any problems with any practicum placements by the student and the practicum supervisor. If there is a problem that you can't work out, the practicum lead faculty will do the following:

Discussion, problem-solving and exploration of options

  1. Speak to the student and the supervisor separately to see if this problem can be easily resolved.
  2. If the parties are agreeable, the practicum coordinator will meet with the student and the supervisor together to try to resolve the issue so that the practicum can continue.

Alternative arrangements

  1. If the practicum can't continue, the practicum lead faculty will speak to the practicum supervisor to see if alternative arrangements can be made with that site/agency, and whether the supervisor will sign for any completed hours.
  2. If the practicum can't continue either with that practicum supervisor (or with that site or agency with another supervisor), the practicum supervisor will make his best efforts to find another suitable practicum placement for the student, and the student will cooperate and assist with that process if asked to do so.
Remediation & support
  1. The practicum lead faculty will engage in one-on-one coaching with the student in order to address any concerns arising from the first practicum placement to ensure that the same issues don't arise again. This may involve the student being required to do some remediation work prior to beginning another practicum placement.
Clarifying expectations and commitments
  1. If given a second practicum placement, the student will sign an individualized Student Performance Agreement addressing any relevant issues arising from the first practicum. This agreement will also set out specific reporting requirements to be followed during the second placement. The terms of this agreement will be at the practicum lead faculty sole discretion.
  2. The student will comply with the Student Performance Agreement and complete 120 hours (or the balance of the placement if some hours were credited by the previous practicum supervisor) at the second practicum placement.
  3. There will be no third practicum placement provided.
  4. If a second placement occurs, all practicum hours must be complete and all documentation delivered to the College by August 15, 2018. There will be no exceptions. You will not be excused from scheduled classes in order to complete your practicum hours.
  5. Failure to complete the 120 hour practicum placement in the time provided will result in an "F" for the course. This course will not be offered again until May, 2018. You cannot graduate from this program without passing this course.

Student Awards

Conestoga has more than 400 awards, bursaries, scholarships and academic grants available to Conestoga students. These funds are made available to our students through the partnerships we have established with local business and industry leaders. To be considered for an award, complete the General Application available through your Student Portal. Notifications and instructions to complete the application are sent to all full-time students' email accounts in the fall semester (Deadline: First Friday in October) and winter semester (Deadline: First Friday in February). Visit the Student Financial Services on Conestoga's website.

Awards Available for Paralegal Students

The following awards* are available to the students of Paralegal Program. Students who have questions about any of these awards should speak with their Program Coordinator.

* Note: All awards are current at time of print, subject to change.

Award Award Value Year or Level # per year Application Process Criteria Location Financial Aid or Program Sponsored
Medallists Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals Graduating students three Nominated Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals will be awarded to the three graduating students with the highest academic averages for all paralegal courses (excluding "general education" courses and the practicum).  Students who have been exempted from more than four of the paralegal courses will not be considered for this award. Convocation Program
Prizes Certificate Graduating students one per course Nominated One Subject Prize will be awarded for each course in the Paralegal Program (excluding "general education" courses and the practicum).  The award winner will be selected by the course instructor, taking into account grades in that course, overall academic standing, leadership, classroom participation, effort and professionalism. Convocation Program


Program Handbook Revision Log

Last Revised By Whom
June 16th, 2015 Jillian Grant
June 9, 2016 Gurpreet Gill
June 10th, 2016 Jillian Grant
June 29, 2016 Janos Botschner
June 6, 2017 Dom Parisi

Accommodation Disclaimer

Conestoga College is dedicated to promoting an equitable environment where students have the opportunity to participate in all aspects of College life. In accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and the Ontario Human Rights Code, Conestoga College recognizes its responsibility and legal obligation to provide education, information and services in an accessible manner.

The Program Handbook is intended to provide general information with respect to program expectations. There may be individual accommodations and/or medical circumstances that require exceptions. For example, students may need to be accommodated for a missed assignment or evaluation. Students who are registered with Accessibility Services are not required to provide an additional doctor's note for a missed or late evaluation. For more information about Accessibility Services please drop in or visit our website.

We recognize that other extenuating circumstances may apply. Consult with your Professor. All exceptions based on extenuating circumstances must be approved by the Chair.