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How to Be a Justice of the Peace in Ontario

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Approximately 355 justice of the peace positions exist in Ontario as of 2010. Typically, appointment to a justice of the peace position requires a post-secondary degree or diploma and at least 10 years of high-level work or volunteer experience.

Although no legal training or experience is legally required for the position, you need to demonstrate an understanding of Ontario's judicial system and possess excellent communication, interpersonal and decision-making skills. Applications are evaluated by a seven-person Justices of the Peace Appointments Advisory Committee. The Attorney General makes the recommendation for justice of the peace, and the Lieutenant Governor in Council makes the appointment.

Learn Ontario's judicial system, especially bail hearings, criminal remand courts and other areas in which a justice of the peace has authority. Attend court proceedings in which a justice of the peace presides.

Obtain a post-secondary education degree. Retain copies of all diplomas and degrees, because they are included in your application package.

Enlist four trusted individuals to be your referees, also known as references. Inform them of your plans to become a justice of the peace and the requirements of the job so they can respond appropriately if contacted.

Complete the application form, which is available on the Ontario Court of Justice website.

Mail your original signed application form and eight copies for each of the regions to which you are applying. If you apply for a position in two of Ontario's seven regions, for example, include 16 copies of your application form. The Ontario Court of Justice website advertises all submission deadlines. The mailing address as of 2010 is:

The Coordinator Justices of the Peace Appointments Advisory Committee c/o Ministry of Government Services Mail Delivery 77 Wellesley St. W., Room M2B-88 MacDonald Block, Queen’s Park Toronto, ON, M7A 1N3

Attend an interview if you are selected. This step is a required part of the evaluation process for those considered likely candidates. The interview committee is composed of at least four members of the Justice of the Peace Appointments Advisory Committee. If you applied to more than one region, the panel will include a lay member and judicial member from each region to which you applied.

Pass a language proficiency exam, if required. Testing is at the discretion of the selection committee, and it determines whether you are proficient in the languages noted on your application. English and French are the only language choices.

Successfully complete all training, orientation and mentoring offered to those who are selected to become justices of the peace.

Tip

Your application will be ranked as "not qualified," "qualified" or "highly qualified." You cannot find out your ranking, and it stays on file with the Attorney General for two years. If your are unsuccessful in your attempt to become a justice of the peace, you can reapply after two years.

Warning

Include only requested information in your application package, and do not format your application other than to staple the pages together in the top left-hand corner. Guidelines for completing the application form are strict.

About the Author

Jennifer Dawson is a Canadian researcher and writer who started freelancing in 2007. Specializing in environment and health topics, her work has appeared in “The Health Journal,” "Nutrition and Your Health," "Alternatives" and “Together Family.” Dawson has a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Arts in anthropology from McMaster University.

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