Services in Ontario - Getting help in Criminal law

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) – Criminal Law Services

Website

https://www.legalaid.on.ca/en/getting/type_criminal.asp

Contact Information

Phone 416-979-1446 Toll-free 1-800-668-8258 TTY 416-598-8867 Toll-free TTY TTY (teletypewriter) – Use Bell’s Relay Service: 1 800 855 0511

During the COVID-19 situation, LAO is offering more telephone support. Call LAO’s summary advice line at 1-800-668-8258 for more information.

LAO has services for people who have been charged with a crime. This includes:

  • a free summary advice line that can give you up to 20 minutes of information and general advice about your criminal law matter
  • criminal 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

Website

https://www.legalaid.on.ca/will-legal-aid-pay-for-my-lawyer/

Contact Information

Phone 416-979-1446 Toll-free 1-800-668-8258 TTY 416-598-8867 Toll-free TTY TTY (teletypewriter) – Use Bell’s Relay Service: 1 800 855 0511

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:

Student Legal Aid Services Societies

Legal Aid Ontario funds Student Legal Aid Services Societies that operate out of Ontario’s law schools. They offer free legal help to people with a low income in certain legal areas, including minor crimes, housing, and immigration, and when dealing with some tribunals.

They can also help with some family law issues, such as child custody, access, and child support issues. And some help with other family law issues, such as property division and spousal support.

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 lsrs@lso.ca. 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

Website

https://www.centreinfojuridique.ca/en/

Contact Information

Phone 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 any area of law in English or French. You may have to leave a message, and a lawyer will call you back.

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) – Find a lawyer

If you have a legal aid certificate and are looking for a lawyer who accepts certificates, you can use LAO’s online tool. It lets you look for a lawyer by location, area of law, and language. You can also search for a lawyer with experience in domestic violence cases.

Law Society of Ontario – Lawyer and Paralegal Directory

The directory lists all lawyers and paralegals licensed to give legal services in Ontario. You can search by name, address or postal code, language, and area of law. You can also search for services offered in French and for unbundled services.

Ontario Paralegal Association

Website

https://www.opaonline.ca/

Contact Information

Phone 416-944-1020

The association has an online tool to help you find a licensed paralegal. You can search by name, area of law, and location.

JusticeNet

Website

http://www.justicenet.ca

Contact Information

Phone 416-479-0551 Toll-free 1-866-919-3219

JusticeNet helps people find a legal professional if their income is too high to get legal aid but too low to afford legal fees. If your net family income is less than $59,000, they refer you to an online directory of lawyers, paralegals, and mediators who provide help at reduced rates.

JusticeNet is a non-profit organization. You must register and pay a fee to use the website. They may return the fee if you don’t find a professional to work with.

Law Society of Ontario

Website

https://www.lso.ca/getdoc/8626e365-d1a8-4cdc-9ee4-63a8054a3417/how-to-make-a-complaint

Contact Information

Phone 416-947-3315 Toll-free 1-800-668-7380

The Law Society regulates and monitors lawyers and paralegals in Ontario. You can make a complaint to the Law Society if you have a problem with a lawyer or paralegal who didn’t do their job properly or behaved unprofessionally. They don’t deal with issues about fees charged by a lawyer or paralegal.

Complaints Resolution Commissioner

Website

https://lso.ca/protecting-the-public/complaints/complaints-resolution-commissioner

Contact Information

Phone 416-947-3442 Toll-free 1-866-880-9480

The commissioner can review a decision by the Law Society of Ontario you don’t agree with about a complaint you made about a lawyer or paralegal.

The commissioner’s role is to make sure that the Law Society handled your complaint properly and their decision was reasonable. If the commissioner thinks that the decision was not reasonable, they can ask the Law Society to do something more.

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