Services in Ontario - Child abuse and neglect
Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) – Family Law Services
Contact InformationPhone 416-979-1446 Toll-free 1‑800‑668‑8258 TTY 711
LAO has services for people with low incomes who have family law problems. This includes:
- a free summary advice line that can give you up to 20 minutes of information and general advice about your family law matter
- family duty counsel who can give you free legal advice if you don’t have a lawyer on the day of your hearing
- a legal aid certificate program if you have a low income and if your legal issue is one that LAO covers
Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) – Legal aid certificates
Contact InformationPhone 416-979-1446 Toll-free 1-800-668-8258 TTY 711
If you get a legal aid certificate, this means that LAO pays a lawyer to work for you. To get a certificate you must show that you have a low income by giving information about your income, property, and savings.
And, your legal issue must be one that LAO covers. You may get a certificate for some legal issues about:
- domestic violence
- family law
- criminal law
- immigration law
- refugee law
To apply for a legal aid certificate:
Law Society Referral Service
The Law Society of Ontario has on online Law Society Referral Service that gives you the name of a lawyer or licensed paralegal who will give free legal advice for up to 30 minutes in any area of law.
If you can’t wait for a legal representative to call you back, or if you don’t have a call-back number, email email@example.com. Or, if you’re in crisis or in custody, call 1-855-947-5255 or 416-947-5255, Monday to Friday, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Ontario Legal Information Centre
Contact InformationPhone 613-842-7462 Toll-free 1-844-343-7462
The Ontario Legal Information Centre offers a free 30-minute meeting with a lawyer to anyone in Ontario by telephone or in person at their Ottawa office in English or French. They can provide legal information in any legal topic, and referrals to services. You have to leave a message and a lawyer will call you back.
Law Society of Ontario – Lawyer and Paralegal Directory
The Advice and Settlement Counsel (ASC)
The Advice and Settlement Counsel (ASC) provides people who don’t have a lawyer with 1 hour of advice with a lawyer for $200 plus HST. The service can help you:
- prepare for a court attendance, case conference, or motion
- negotiate consents when both parties are present
- give advice about potential settlements, drafting agreements, and court procedures
- give advice on a consent you have negotiated with a Dispute Resolution Officer (DRO) or at mediation, court conference, or motion
- prepare “to do” lists so that you understand what steps need to be taken next
To use the ASC, you can check their calendar to see which lawyers are available. All lawyers spend at least 50% of their practice in family law and have at least 5 years experience. You will also be required to complete a form that confirms your identity, sign a consent, pay the fee, and sign a retainer agreement that explains the service you are getting. You will be charged extra for any time over 1 hour.
JusticeNet is a not-for-profit organization that can help people find legal services when their income is too high for legal aid and too low to afford legal fees. Their website has a list of lawyers, paralegals, and mediators who charge reduced fees based on your income and the size of your family. You must register and pay a small fee to use their services.
Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies
Contact InformationPhone 416-987-7725 Toll-free 1-800-718-1797
First Nations Child and Family Service Agencies
Contact InformationPhone 416-586-3300 Toll-free 1-800-263-1830
The Ontario Ombudsman is an independent organization that looks into public complaints and systemic issues dealing with things like: