Doing legal business in Canada

Canada has a global reputation for stability, diversity and prosperity. It’s the second largest country on earth by territory, spanning 10 provinces and three territories.

It’s rich in natural resources – with the world’s third largest proven oil reserves – bordered by three oceans and neighbour to the world’s largest economy.

Canada is a multicultural nation of 36 million people with three founding peoples – Indigenous, French and English – two official languages, and two legal systems:

  • the English common law tradition used in most of Canada
  • the French civil law tradition used in Quebec

Canada is the world’s 10th largest economy. The USA is its largest trading partner – it’s the biggest bilateral trading relationship in the world. Some argue Canada is too reliant on trade with the USA and needs to look to other regions to diversify its trading relationships.

In 2016, Canada signed a new trade deal, CETA, with the European Union, which is expected to lead to significant growth in trade.

A Trans-Pacific trade agreement, encompassing North and South America and Asia, is being negotiated despite suffering a significant setback with the withdrawal of the USA in 2017.

Practising in Canada

Lawyers practising in Canada must have a valid licence issued by the law society of the province or territory in which they’re registered to practise.

Members of the public may verify a lawyer’s licence and standing by contacting the relevant law society.

Most law societies provide an online directory of lawyers indicating their practising status and relevant information, such as any disciplinary proceedings brought against them.

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