Obtaining Legal Services in Ontario

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:

  • immigration/refugee
  • prisons
  • criminal
  • domestic violence
  • family
  • government income support (e.g. ODSP, Ontario Wrks)
  • government pensions , including disability pensions
  • tenants rights
  • housing
  • 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 toddsloan@me.com.

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