Regulated out of Existence: A Case Study of Ottawa’s Ticket Defence Program

This report provides a case study of the Ticket Defence Program, a project that previously provided legal help to street-involved people charged with minor provincial or municipal offences. The volunteers who provided services through this project were not licenced to provide legal services in Ontario. When the (then) Law Society of Upper Canada decided to regulate paralegal services, the Ticket Defence Program was essentially regulated out of existence as they could no longer provide services without fear of disciplinary action. The report concludes that this led to a denial of access to justice for the extremely marginalized people served by the Ticket Defence Program, and calls for the Law Society to rethink its approach to ensure that the work of community volunteer advocates be "recognized, protected, and bolstered" without fear of sanctions.