Obtaining legal advice and representation in Ontario depends, for the most part, on your ability to pay.
For most areas of law people on low-to-moderate incomes will have serious difficulty paying a lawyer, unless they can find one who will work at a reduced rate or for free(“pro bono”). Free or reduced cost services are available, however, from a number of sources.
1. The Law Socierty of Upper Canada provides information on finding a lawyer and offers free 30-minute consultations with lawyers – see the Lawyer Referral Service at http://www.lsuc.on.ca/faq.aspx?id=1146
2. Pro Bono Law, a group of Ontario Lawyers, offers free legal representation and advice in a number of contexts – see http://www.lawhelpontario.org/
3. Legal Aid Ontario can provide information and limited pro bono services to anyone who enquires – see http://legalaid.on.ca/en/getting/typesofhelp.asp or call 1-800-668-8258 toll-free (or 416-979-1446 in Toronto)
4. Ontario’s Community Legal Clinics – seehttp://legalaid.on.ca/en/contact/contact.asp?type=cl and Community Legal Education Ontario – see http://www.cleo.on.ca/ offer a wide range of information and referrals.
Free or reduced price legal representation is available for lower-income clients in a limited number of legal fields, such as:
- domestic violence
- government income support (e.g. ODSP, Ontario Wrks)
- government pensions , including disability pensions
- tenants rights
- youth criminal
- employment insurance
- workplace safety and insurance
- workers compensation
- human rights
Certain of these services are available only through the Clinics. Others require Legal Aid Certificates.
Legal Aid Certificates can be obtained from Legal aid Ontario – http://legalaid.on.ca/en/getting/eligibility.asp or call1-800-668-8258 toll-free (or 416-979-1446 in Toronto). Once you obtain a Certificate you may engage a lawyer, who will be paid (usually for a specific number of hours) by the government.
If you have questions on obtaining legal assistance, please reach me on my Contact page or at 1-613-986-3609 or firstname.lastname@example.org.