For Jeff Bogaerts "returning back to school as a paralegal was the beginning of my third career." Before that, he had worked as a Constable with the Toronto Police in the 1970s, and then had returned to school to take courses in Information Technology where he spent the next 30 years.
It was during his time working in the IT world that he became involved with the Ontario Landowners Association. It sparked a new passion, and Jeff decided to follow that passion and get his paralegal license. He did some research and finally decided on enrolling in the paralegal program at Algonquin Careers Academy (ACA). Today, after graduating and going on to start his own business called Canadian Property Rights Legal Services, Jeff's decision is paying off.
Keep reading to learn more about Jeff Bogaerts' experience, and how he got involved in a case that went all the way to the Ontario Court of Appeal!
Finding the Right Paralegal Training
Jeff knows just how important it is to do research and find what is right for your individual needs when returning to school. In fact, it's one piece of advice he is quick to offer anyone considering a career change. ACA's paralegal training was right for Jeff because he needed a 1-year focussed program that took his experience into account.
Jeff explains that "for me, ACA fit exactly what I wanted to get out of it." With Jeff's previous experience, he was able to finish the 12-month program in just 9 months and then write the exam to get his paralegal license from the Law Society. In addition to the structure of the program being what Jeff was looking for, he says, "as soon as I walked into ACA, it just felt right."
Once he entered the classroom, Jeff found even more benefits awaiting him. "All instructors were lawyers with years of experience, and they were helpful,"herecalls, adding that the students he got to meet and study with also had a huge impact on him. "For me," says Jeff,"it was being able to get that different view of the world from their perspective."All in all, Jeff says that his return to school"was intense, but it was fulfilling and it was worthwhile."
An Ontario Court of Appeal Case
Jeff's career since graduating from ACA has already included several impressive highlights. Not only has he started his own business, but Jeff also helped take a case all the way to the Ontario Court of Appeal.
In January 2019, in the case of Bogaerts v. Attorney General of Ontario, the court declared that the animal protection law enforcement regime at the time was unconstitutional. As explained by Canadian Lawyer Magazine, the OSPCA had law enforcement powers "without the same transparency and accountability a public or government agency has."Challenging this lack of oversight is an important issue for Jeff Bogaerts, and one that he has devoted a lot of time and hard work to. For more information and access to all case files that are free to download, visit www.fixthelaw.ca.
The case took about six years. Fortunately, that dedication has had a real impact. Jeff notes that"…the act did make changes and we're quite happy with the work that we did." The case required a lawyer, and Kurtis Andrews, an Ottawa lawyer, agreed to take the case to Superior Court. Jeff said … “it was a real team effort and with the dedication and support from Kurtis Andrews we were able to take the case to the Ontario Court of Appeal”.
Overall, he says, "it’s a challenge to stay with it. It can be a hard road to walk on, but the rewards at the end are worth it.” Jeff emphasizes that this kind of case is not necessarily required or typical work for a paralegal.Rather, this case illustrates one way you can apply your paralegal diploma knowledge to something you care about.“If you don’t like the law,” Jeff says,“then stand up and spend the time to change it."
A Regular Day as a Paralegal
While Jeff’s work with regards to the animal protection law enforcement regime has been a remarkable highlight of his career, that’s not all there is to his work as a paralegal.When it comes to his regular day-to-day responsibilities,Jeff notes that “it can be a wide range of work and it’s not necessarily the same work every day.”
Depending on your interests, you might work in different areas, which will affect what you focus on day today. You might spend some days doing research and other days making calls, scheduling cases,or dealing with clients.
Without a doubt, Jeff feels sure that ACA prepared him for his day-to-day work and supported the development of his paralegal career. Jeff even says that “I’m quite confident that I can pick up the phone and call my previous instructors and ask them questions,” adding that, “you’re always part of the Algonquin family after you graduate.”
We’re so proud of Jeff and all that he has accomplished. We can’t wait to see what’s next for his career!
Do you want to know more about what you can do with a paralegal course?
Contact the Algonquin Careers Academy today!