Chapter 3 (a:1): Business Services: Legal


Improvements Implemented Since Last IAP

Current Entry Requirements

Further Improvements Planned


Operational Requirements






Law societies are established in each province and territory by statute of their respective legislative assemblies. The provincial law societies govern lawyers operating in their jurisdiction. The main responsibilities of the law societies include admitting lawyers to practice, setting professional standards, specifying professional liability insurance requirements, and administering disciplinary measures. Membership in the law society of the province where a lawyer wishes to practice is mandatory.


More detailed information is available from the Federation of Law Societies of Canada (




Licensing and Qualification Requirements of Service Providers




Elimination of permanent residency requirement for accreditation in Prince Edward Island


Elimination of citizenship requirement for accreditation in Quebec


Generally speaking, applicants to law societies as a student-at-law (also referred to as “student member” or “articled student”) must hold a degree from a recognized Canadian university, have completed an articling period, demonstrate that they are of good character, and successfully complete an examination process which allows acceptance to the “bar” of that legal society. The Law Society of Alberta, the Law Society of Saskatchewan and the Law Society of Upper Canada require that their members be either Canadian citizens or permanent residents for accreditation. The Law Society of Newfoundland requires that its members be residents of Canada.



In the NAFTA (North America Free Trade Agreement) context, joint recommendations for facilitating mutual recognition of licenses and certification have been developed.


Foreign Entry





Specific commitments to facilitate the provision of advisory services on foreign and public international law by foreign legal consultants are set out in Canada's GATS Schedule. There are no restrictions on cross-border supply of services and consumption abroad.  Members of provincial law societies are required to ensure that commercial presence takes the form of a sole proprietorship or partnership. With respect to presence of natural persons, members of the provincial law societies of Alberta, Ontario and Newfoundland are required to be permanent residents for accreditation.




Discriminatory Treatment/





No restrictions beyond those identified under the category “Foreign Entry”.