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Paralegal Studies

Program Overview

Get started in the legal profession with confidence with a Paralegal diploma from Westervelt College!

The Paralegal Studies program at Westervelt College will set a strong legal foundation with courses in Aboriginal Rights, Small Claims Court, Tribunal Practice & Procedures, Immigration, Refugee, Citizenship, and Human Rights, the Criminal Code of Canada and much more!

Put your newly gained knowledge to use in court simulations which will involve preparing, researching and presenting cases in a mock trial setting. You will also participate in a field placement practicum organized by the college so that you can gain real-life work experience before starting your career! Westervelt’s Paralegal Studies diploma program is accredited by the Law Society of Upper Canada.

Upon successful completion of the program, Westervelt graduates work as Licensed Paralegals in a variety of legal settings.

Financial assistance is available to students who qualify. For assistance about admissions requirements, please contact our Admissions team for more information at 519.668.2000.


The Paralegal program at Westervelt College is accredited by the Law Society of Ontario.

Program Courses

  • Aboriginal and Charter Rights

    This course will provide information concerning aboriginal law and treaties, indigenous legal principles and how the Canadian legal system recognizes the effects of the past on aboriginal culture in general and the criminal justice system in particular. This course will also provide a general introduction to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the protection of civil rights in Canada.

    There is a significant writing component to this course as paralegal students need to have strong oral and written communication skills.

  • Advocacy in the Role of a Paralegal

    This course will cover many aspects of preparing for a trial and courtroom procedure. Students learn about preparing for a case including: gathering and analysing information, interviewing clients, preparing witnesses, preparing a strategy for court and courtroom etiquette. Students will gain an improved understanding of civil procedures. Students will review various aspects of advocacy in our justice system.

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution

    Students will hone their conflict resolution skills and develop strategies to improve negotiation and mediation skills. Students will explore different types of alternative dispute resolution and effective principles and techniques. Topics include negotiation, mediation and arbitration and the paralegal acting as a mediator.

  • Applied Business Communication I

    Students learn the importance of proofreading and the attention to detail required in a professional office setting. This course focuses on the correct use of the parts of speech, sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, and style.

  • Bookkeeping

    This course introduces students to the concepts of bookkeeping as an integral and vital part of business operations. Students demonstrate their knowledge by developing general journal transactions, account reconciliation, and trial balances. Further topics include posting to the general ledger.

  • Business Documentation I

    In this course, students learn Microsoft Word and develop effective word processing skills at a Microsoft Core Level. Students will learn to use this software to create professional looking business documents including memos, letters, reports, tables, and newsletters. As well, students will develop their keyboarding skills to increase speed and accuracy to meet the fast-paced needs of today’s business office.

  • Canadian Legal System

    Students are further exposed to the Canadian legal system. Students learn various legal terminologies and become familiar with additional concepts related to contracts, sale of goods, personal property law, structures used to carry on business, consumer protection legislation, as well as employment, labour and agency law.

  • Career Strategies

    Taught by our professionals in Graduate Employment Services, this course is designed to train students to research and how to obtain their desired career goals. Topics covered include current employer expectations in the selection process, winning resume styles, interview skills and techniques, and successful strategies to develop and conduct their personal career search.

  • Criminal Code of Canada

    This course introduces students to the concepts of criminal law including defences, crimes, and penalties. The structure of statutes and statutory interpretation are introduced. The Interpretation Act and the Charter’s affect on criminal law are examined. Students are introduced to the substantive law and procedure related to offences under the Criminal Code of Canada, including summary conviction offences.

  • Criminal Evidence and Courtroom Procedures

    This course emphasizes evidentiary issues related to criminal law and examines issues such as the types of evidence, introduction of evidence, restrictions on the use of certain types of evidence, techniques of questioning and cross-examination, Crown disclosure, privilege, competence and compellability, the effect of the Charter, and current developments in the law of evidence.

  • Electronic Communication

    Utilizing Microsoft Outlook, this course introduces students to integrated electronic mail, calendar functions, and task management. These skills will be used to efficiently communicate with others, schedule appointments and tasks, record information about personal and business contacts, and organize electronic records.

  • Essentials of Administrative Law

    Students study and become familiar with the basic principles of administrative law and tribunals and will gain an understanding of relevant primary legislation for administrative law. As well, students will learn about mechanisms to review decisions of administrative tribunals. Selected tribunal cases/court decisions will be used to learn how to interpret cases.

  • Ethics and Professional Responsibility

    In this course, students learn about the scope of practice of a Paralegal, the Paralegal Rules of Conduct, By-Laws under the Law Society Act and ethical responsibilities. Students are presented with situations where they are required to identify a problem and propose a solution or suggest how the situation could have been properly avoided.

  • Evidence and the Litigation Process

    Students will study the court system in Ontario and become familiar with the adversarial process including documents and procedures used in the Superior Court of Justice for actions and applications.

  • Fundamentals of Employment Law

    Students develop an understanding of employment and its general legal principles along with an understanding of the practice and procedure for human rights law, workers’ compensation law, occupational health and safety law and labour relations law.

  • Human Rights in Ontario

    Human rights law ensures that the essential dignity of every person is respected in our society. Human rights law also possesses a quasi-constitutional nature in that it takes precedence over most other laws in Ontario. This course allows for a review of Ontario human rights law, and the procedures of the Human Rights Tribunal. One of the skills that a paralegal must develop is the ability to read court and administrative tribunal decisions and be able to analyze them.

  • Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Law

    Canada has a complicated system of rules to determine when a non-citizen is allowed to enter Canada, when they will be deemed inadmissible to enter or stay in Canada, how long they may stay in Canada and how a non-citizen ultimately becomes a citizen of Canada. There are separate legal rules that apply as to when a person will be considered to be a legitimate refugee or person in need of protection, which allows them to become a permanent resident. Paralegals may only represent a person on appeal from a decision of the government, but they must still understand the law as it is applied.

  • Legal Accounting Systems ­- PC Law

    Students are introduced to the integrated office management system PC Law, using a variety of exercises to gain familiarity and knowledge of the basic features of the program. Students will open files, amend information, enter dockets, create reminders, receipts, and cheques, learn how to record internal disbursements, deposit to trust, create pre-billing statements, accounts, and prepare a variety of reports using the system.

  • Legal Documentation

    Utilizing Microsoft Office Systems students create and format legal documents related to various areas of law. Students become familiar with the language of legal letters, memorandums, statements of accounts, and common legal documents used in the practice of law.

  • Legal Practicum Term

    This practical 6-week experience provides students with an opportunity to integrate their studies with valuable work related experience. Field placements occur in a variety of legal settings, which may include a law firm, paralegal firm, municipal prosecution office, or community legal clinic.

  • Legal Presentations with PowerPoint

    This course is designed to provide students with techniques and strategies for effective oral presentations. Students also learn how to effectively add PowerPoint to enhance presentations. This serves as an introduction to working with PowerPoint, researching legal topics, and presenting to an audience, which will prepare the students for mock trials and various legal presentations within the program.

  • Legal Research and the Law Library

    This course is designed to guide students through the research process in order to become familiar with identifying a client’s issue and using the most appropriate research tool (paper and computer) to find information. Students will gain a basic understanding of how to read and understand the basic sources of research tools, where they lead, and how to apply the law to solve the client’s problem.

  • Paralegal Practices: Courtroom Simulations

    In this course, students further their knowledge of courtroom procedure and the role of a paralegal. Through mock trials, students are given an opportunity to put theory into practice as they conduct a small Claims Court Trial and/or Provincial Offences Trial. Students are given various practical case scenarios to prepare and present.

  • Practice Management – Legal Office Systems

    In this course, students are introduced to the composition of law firms, the role of the paralegal, and skills for effective practice management. Students are taught skills related to office systems, records management, fees and retainers, the format for legal letters, memorandums, statements of account and common legal documents used in the practice of law.

  • Provincial and Motor Vehicle Offences

    In this course, students examine a variety of Provincial Offences, focusing on the analysis of provincial legislation and procedures. Students develop an understanding of matters that are heard before the Provincial Offences Court including Highway Traffic Act, Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act, Liquor Licence Act, Environmental Protection Act, Occupational Health and Safety Act, Trespass to Property Act, Blind Persons Rights Act, and Smoke-Free Ontario Act.

  • Residential Landlord and Tenant Law

    This course will introduce the student to residential tenancies, using the Residential Tenancies Act and the Rules of the Landlord and Tenant Board. The student will be taught the law and procedures relating to the rights and responsibilities of the landlord and the tenant, termination of residential tenancies, and rent control.

  • Small Business Management

    This course introduces each aspect of starting and managing a small business including the basic operating principles and entrepreneurial approaches to business management. Topics include market potential, business and product/service development, analysing trends, acquiring financial resources, organizational structure and business plan development.

  • Small Claims Court

    This course provides the student with increased knowledge of various technical matters involved prosecuting or defending Small Claims Court actions. The student will learn about Small Claims Court procedure and practices. Through interactive discussion, attendance at the courthouse and demonstrations, the most common civil occurrences will be explored and an understanding of the implications discussed.

  • Spreadsheets for Business

    This course prepares students to utilize Microsoft Excel at the core/expert level. Students will learn to work with various functions and formulas, create charts, and design and create reports utilizing numerical data.

  • Torts & Contracts

    In this course, the student will develop a general understanding of the legal system within Canada. The student will be introduced to the court system in Ontario, administrative law, alternative dispute resolution, the government, statute law and common law. Emphasis is placed on tort law, negligence, and basic principles regarding contract law.

  • Tribunal Practice & Procedures

    In this course, students gain an understanding of the general practice and procedure used before tribunal hearings. Topics include understanding of the legislation, practice and procedures relating to certain tribunals before which a paralegal may appear, and demonstrating practical skills in conducting a tribunal hearing.

Program Details

Total Duration 12 Months
Practicum 6 Weeks
Program Type Diploma
Campuses London, Windsor