New online course by OsgoodePD helps internationally trained lawyers

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Osgoode Professional Development (OsgoodePD) will use a substantial award from the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration & International Trade to create an innovative online exam preparation course to help internationally trained lawyers who are Ontario newcomers to qualify to practise in the province.

The new course, which goes live in June, will provide a high-quality, multimedia learning experience, including quizzes and assessment of practice exam answers and is a major step forward in digital legal education in Canada. For many internationally trained lawyers, the first step toward becoming licensed in Ontario is successful completion of examinations in Canadian law set by the National Committee on Accreditation (NCA). Since 2010, OsgoodePD has offered an exam preparation course at its facilities in downtown Toronto in a face-to-face lecture format.

On April 7, Michael Chan, minister of citizenship, immigration and international trade, announced that OsgoodePD has been awarded up to $572,431 over a three-year period to cover the costs of converting the four existing modules covering Foundations of Canadian Law, Criminal Law, Administrative Law and Constitutional Law from face-to-face lecture formats to online formats. In addition, the funding will be used to create a new online module for Professional Responsibility, with information about how to qualify as a lawyer in Ontario, and the development of an online community for NCA Exam Prep Program alumni.

OsgoodePD’s new course is one of 10 new Ontario Bridge Training Projects announced by Chan to help more than 6,000 internationally trained people find jobs that match their skills and experience.

Victoria Watkins, assistant dean and executive director of OsgoodePD, said its online NCA Prep Program is intended to make preparation for the NCA exams more effective, accessible and affordable than existing face-to-face offerings.

“By making these courses available online and on-demand, participants have the flexibility to take the courses at a pace that fits their schedules. Those living outside of Toronto will no longer incur the additional costs of travel and accommodation in Toronto,” said Watkins.

“Another key benefit of taking the course online is that students can go over material and do the sample exam questions as many times as they need to. This is a significant improvement over traditional face-to-face lectures, particularly for those whose first language is not English.

“Ultimately, the goal is to have students do well on the exams and feel comfortable and confident in their knowledge of Canadian law as they pass into the next phase of the licensing process.”

OsgoodePD, which operates out of facilities at Yonge and Dundas Streets in downtown Toronto, offers both credit and non-credit programs for Canadian and international lawyers, paralegals, non-law professionals, firms and organizations.

For more information about the online NCA Prep Program, visit the OsgoodePD website.