In Canada, just as in the United States, a justice of the peace is entitled to perform marriage ceremonies. However, in addition to those duties, a justice of the peace in Canada is authorized to order people to appear in court to give evidence or answer charges in less serious offenses. As such, a justice of the peace is required to undergo a rigorous qualifying process for the post.
Qualifying to Become a Justice of the Peace
Obtain postsecondary training in a relevant area. Law, business and public administration are good choices. Most justices of the peace in Canada have at least a bachelor's degree, although some are able to enter the field with a diploma or less than four years of education after high school.
Obtain a position as a court clerk. If this is not feasible, find a position as closely related as possible. Justices of the peace are expected to be intimately familiar with the workings of the court. This is also a means of making valuable contacts.
Complete a training program as a justice registrar or a justice of the peace. These training programs replace more formal training as an attorney (solicitor) or a judge. This training, along with several years of experience working with the court system, will provide the qualifications required to obtain an appointment as a justice of the peace.
Apply to the Ministry of the Attorney General or to the Lieutenant Governor for an appointment as a justice of the peace. Expect to undergo a rigorous and lengthy interview process. If successful, the cabinet of the government will enact an "Order in Council" to grant the appointment.
Serve an initial appointment as a nonpresiding justice of the peace. Complete a mentoring program for new justices of the peace. Successful new appointees are then reappointed as presiding justices of the peace, with the full powers of the office.
While the process is long and can involve clearing many hurdles, justices of the peace can earn more than $150,000, so the compensation is lucrative.