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What is an Osgoode Certificate?

July 8, 2021

Roz Bahrami

Over the last decade, OsgoodePD has constructed 47 “Osgoode Certificates”. What exactly is a certificate?

An Osgoode Certificate is a learning course focused on specific skills or knowledge, sometimes in a distinct industry sector. They tend to be either skills training for a particular role (such as an Ombuds or tribunal adjudicator) or intensive legal knowledge training in a key aspect of a person’s job (such as Pension Law for a CFO, Finance Manager or In-house Counsel).

Osgoode Certificates are what is now known in higher education circles as a “microcredential”. Microcredentials are growing rapidly in popularity because of their laser focus, practicality and flexibility. Recently the Ontario Government added microcredentials to the list of programs that are eligible for OSAP, thereby making Osgoode Certificates OSAP-eligible. Microcredentials, such as certificates and short courses, can stand alone or be combined into larger segments of learning; they will play an increasingly significant role in higher and continuing education in the future, as a supplement to, or a component of, traditional degrees.

A certificate is much shorter than a degree and is shorter than most for-credit courses. The time commitment for an Osgoode Certificate is typically around 30 hours, constructed in a variety of ways. Sometimes it is intensive (e.g. 5 consecutive days); sometimes it’s 5 days over 3 months. Sometimes it’s online (with both live and recorded components); sometimes it’s in person; and sometimes it’s both (“blended”). What determines the length and course design is the scope and nature of the material covered, and what’s likely to work best for learners, many who are generally engaged in full time employment.

Like all of OsgoodePD’s open enrolment offerings, certificates are open to, and sometimes designed for, executives and professionals without prior legal training. Some of those individuals include healthcare professionals, teachers and education administrators, procurement specialists, law enforcement professionals, and corporate directors. No other continuing legal education organization brings together legal professionals and professionals from other fields and sectors to focus on legal issues of common concern. Certificates are designed and taught by professionals working in the field, assisted by our instructional design, e-learning and program development team. The learning objectives and curriculum are typically guided by an interdisciplinary Advisory Board of experienced experts in the industry or subject matter. Osgoode’s Certificates include Mental Health Law, Essentials for Ombuds (joint course with the Forum for Canadian Ombuds), Human Rights Theory & Practice, Pension Law, Regulatory Compliance for Financial Institutions, HR Law for HR Professionals, Provincial Offences Act Practice, Family Law Practice Skills, Adjudication for Administrative Tribunals (joint course with the Society for Ontario Regulators and Adjudicators), Online Dispute Resolution, Privacy in Healthcare, Entertainment Law and many more. Here’s a complete list of our current offerings.

Is an Osgoode Certificate right for you?

While an Osgoode Certificate does not earn you academic credit at York University, your learning is assessed against the course learning objectives (on a pass/fail basis), and you receive a document attesting that you earned the certificate, with digital representations for use on LinkedIn or elsewhere on the horizon. Certificates are all accredited with the Law Society of Ontario for CPD, and several are accredited with other regulatory and professional bodies (eg. the Human Resources Professional Association).

Certificates can be offered in-house, and we will work with organizations to customize and accommodate the schedules of their employees. Some examples include the Certificate in Health Law, offered to physicians and allied health professionals at a large hospital system, and the Certificate in Human Rights Law, offered at several large school boards.

If you’re looking for a relatively short yet substantial burst of learning to improve skills, or are seeking a comprehensive grounding or update, you may want to consider an Osgoode Certificate. Or, if you have an idea for a certificate, contact us (Heather Gore Liddell hgoreliddell@osgoode.yorku.ca or Victoria Watkins vwatkins@osgoode.yorku.ca). You may find, like hundreds of others, that an Osgoode Certificate is the perfect fit to meet your needs.