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Benjamin Canniff

Paralegal Candidates
Benjamin Canniff

Candidate bio description

I was born in Chatham-Kent and raised in Windsor, Ontario. I have a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Windsor, and I became a licensed paralegal in 2011. That same year, I opened Canniff Paralegal serving residents and businesses in Windsor and Chatham-Kent. I continued to work in the industry being mentored by a seasoned lawyer and in 2016, began working for St. Clair College in the Paralegal Program. I have volunteered for Rotary International, United Way of Chatham-Kent as well as the Royal Canadian Legion in Windsor. I verily believe in helping those in need and I am compelled by a willingness and a sense of responsibility to do so as it relates to access to justice. As paralegals, we need to create urgency in convocation in order to progress the profession and provide a voice for those individuals and families in need.

What inspired you to run for bencher this year?

A change in leadership is needed to provide a fresh approach to this unique, evolving profession. We should not be willing to accept the current paralegal governance as the status quo for expanding our scope of practice and growing our education base. Although strides have been made in this regard, new, bold initiatives need to be implemented in order to progress an effective solution as it relates to access to justice and address this continuing social crisis while expanding our scope of practice in a timely and efficient matter.

What do you believe is the biggest issue facing the legal profession?

Access to Justice. Those with means and financial stability have always been able to access the legal profession to facilitate their legal matters. It is time to fight and work hard for those without. We need to envision ourselves and the LSO as an example in this regard for legal communities everywhere.

What would be your first priority upon election?

I will be tirelessly examining the processes and protocols regarding convocation and the governance of paralegals. I will be sourcing and working passionately with others. I will be working to find new and unique methods and ideas regarding the implementation and actualization of bold new initiatives regarding training and special licenses for paralegals in areas of law that are in desperate need of access to justice. This will inevitably expand our scope of practice.

What do you hope to achieve over the next four years as a member of Convocation?

I hope to set new standards for paralegal governance regarding the advancement of our scope of practice and in the promotion and implementation of access to justice through comprehensive education and special licensing. I would like to close the gap that exists in this regard. I would like to change the minds of some lawyers (benchers or otherwise) who do not support paralegals through my words and actions.

What's the most pressing concern for the profession in your region of the province?

We require more paralegal Benchers in order to facilitate our need to broaden the scope of practice and come to the aid of those in desperate need of access to the legal profession despite the magnitude of their matter or their financial means.

Do you support the requirement to create and abide by a statement of principles?

I have concerns regarding the efficacy of this initiative. I also have concerns related to this level of regulatory intervention and the costs involved to instigate such measures. I verily believe in and support the ideals and goals regarding this requirement however, this may not be the best model to address the issue moving forward. I believe that the legal profession needs to stand as the example and standard for the ideals and principles which permeate our great province and country. We need an effective solution. 

Poll Question

What do you see as the top issue that prospective benchers need to address if they are elected?