Did you know that paralegals or legal assistants are among the most in-demand professions in Canada? Provinces such as Manitoba and Nova Scotia are struggling to meet the demand for paralegals, which has prompted provincial governments to launch the global recruitment process for highly skilled foreigners seeking to immigrate to Canada.
According to Payscale, paralegals in Canada can earn a very attractive salary of up to $71,000 per year. Once you obtain permanent residency, you and your family members who join you will have access to fantastic benefits such as free universal healthcare, free public schooling, and much more.
Jobs in Canada: Are Paralegals In Demand in Canada?
Yes, paralegals are in demand in Canada, especially in Manitoba and Nova Scotia. According to Job Bank Canada, the outlook for paralegals over the next three years is also very positive in provinces such as British Columbia, Quebec and Saskatchewan, where a total of 14,200 new jobs are estimated to be created over the next 8 to 10 years due to expansion, replacement, school leavers, immigration and mobility.
How Much Does a Paralegal Make in Canada?
Paralegals living and working in Canada can expect to earn an average hourly wage of $28 per hour, or anywhere from $20.26 to $31 per hour, depending on your education and work experience, as well as the province you live in when you immigrate to Canada.
Here’s what you can expect (according to Payscale) as a paralegal or legal assistant in Canada:
|Average Annual Salaries for Paralegals in Canada|
|Province/Territory||Average Salary Per Year (CAD)|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||$224,889|
|Prince Edward Island||$35,375|
How Do You Become a Paralegal in Canada?
There are two main ways to become a paralegal in Canada:
- Study in Canada; or
- Immigrate to Canada
But before we get into the “how”, let’s take a look at the “what”, that is, what you need to become a paralegal in Canada.
What Qualifications Do I Need to Become a Paralegal in Canada?
Most Canadian law firms require a bachelor’s degree in law or a law school degree, as well as in-house training at a law firm or institution. You will also need an Education Credential Assessment (ECA) if you did not earn your law degree from a Canadian university or college.
You may also need a license to provide advanced legal services, which requires you to work in a specialized area of law for at least two years and pass an examination. Each province has its own bar association, which you can find on the Federation of Law Societies of Canada website.
How Do I Immigrate to Canada as a Paralegal?
Study in Canada
The best way to immigrate to Canada as a paralegal is to study law in Canada. By studying in Canada, you will not only receive a top-notch education, but you will also be able to apply to remain and live and work in Canada under the Post-Graduate Work Program to gain the work experience you need to apply for permanent residency in Canada. Some provinces also offer special immigration programs for international students who have studied in that province or territory.
Some of the best universities to consider for your law studies are:
- The University of Alberta;
- University of Toronto;
- McGill University;
- University of British Columbia;
- York University;
- University of Ottawa;
- University of Montreal; and
- Queen’s University.
Canadian Immigration Options
As a highly skilled professional, there are no limits to what you can do to immigrate to Canada, provided you meet the general eligibility requirements for entry into Canada as well as the immigration programs you wish to take advantage of.
Two of the most popular Canadian immigration options for you as a paralegal are:
- Express Entry system;
- Provincial Nominee Program;
1. Express Entry
The Express Entry (EE) system is a points-based system that administers 3 Canadian federal economic immigration programs:
- The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP);
- The Federal Trade Worker Program (FSTP); and
- The Canada Experience Class (CEC).
As a highly skilled professional, you could be eligible to apply for permanent residency through the FSWP or the CEC (if you have at least one year of work experience in Canada). If you have an active Express Entry profile, you will be entered into a lottery every two weeks. If your profile is among the highest scoring applicants, you can receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence (ITA) in Canada in as little as 6 months.
2. Provincial Nominee Program
The Provincial Nominee Program allows you to live and work in Canada if you meet the labour needs of that province or territory. Most provinces/territories have their own PNPs with specific requirements. Unlike the Express Entry system, you may need a job offer to qualify. However, a provincial nomination is worth 600 additional PR points, which means you will most likely be invited to apply for permanent residency in Canada. As mentioned earlier, you should consider Manitoba or Nova Scotia, as paralegals are on the list of the most in-demand jobs in Canada there.
Below is a list of PNP streams or categories in each province and territory for paralegals looking to immigrate to Canada.
|Canadian Immigration for Paralegals|
|Alberta||Express Entry Stream|
|British Columbia||Express Entry Skilled Worker Category|
|Manitoba||Skilled Workers Overseas Stream|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||Skilled Worker Stream|
|Northwest Territories||Skilled Worker Stream|
|Nova Scotia||Nova Scotia Demand: Express Entry Stream|
|Ontario||Express Entry Human Capital Priorities Stream
Express Entry French-speaking Skilled Worker Stream
|Saskatchewan||International Skilled Worker Category|
|Yukon||Skilled Worker Stream|