Services in Ontario - Getting help in Immigration law
Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) – Immigration/refugee law services
Contact InformationPhone 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
LAO helps people with low incomes with some immigration and refugee problems. For example, you might be able to get help:
- if you’re detained for immigration reasons
- to complete a Basis of Claim form
- with your refugee hearing,
- to prepare an appeal or application for judicial review,
- with cessation or vacation hearings,
- to prepare for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA)
To get help from LAO, you can:
- call their free telephone line that lets you talk to a lawyer for up to 20 minutes to get information and general advice
- apply for a legal aid certificate if you have a low income and if your legal issue is one that LAO covers
- contact one of the Refugee Law staff offices in Hamilton, Ottawa, and Toronto
Contact InformationPhone 416-979-1446 Toll-free 1-800-668-8258 TTY 416-598-8867 Toll-free TTY 1-866-641-8867
During the COVID-19 situation, many community legal clinics are no longer meeting with people in person, but will provide services over the phone. Call ahead for more information.
Legal Aid Ontario funds legal clinics across Ontario. There are two types of legal clinics: community legal clinics and specialty legal clinics.
Community legal clinics provide free legal services to people with low incomes who live in their area. Most help with:
- Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program
- tenants’ rights
- the Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security, and the Guaranteed Income Supplement
- some employment issues
Some clinics can help with immigration and refugee problems.
Search for the clinic in your area using your postal code.
Some specialty legal clinics provide free legal services to specific groups of people with low incomes:
- Advocacy Centre for the Elderly
- Aboriginal Legal Services
- ARCH Disability Law Centre
- Black Legal Action Centre
- Centre Francophone du Grand Toronto
- Chinese and South Asian Legal Clinic
- Centre for Spanish Speaking Peoples
- HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario
- Justice for Children and Youth
- South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario
Some specialty legal clinics provide free legal services in only certain areas of law:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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
Centre francophone de Toronto
Contact InformationToll-free 1-877-966-7345
The Centre francophone de Toronto has a legal advice line funded by LAO for people living in the Greater Toronto Area including Toronto, Halton, Durham, Peel, and York. It gives legal information and advice in French over the telephone in the areas of:
- immigration law
- housing law
- income assistance
- employment law
- consumer rights
- human rights
The advice line does not help with family law or criminal law matters.
Law Society of Ontario – Lawyer and Paralegal Directory
Ontario Paralegal Association
Contact InformationPhone 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.
Agincourt Community Services Association (ACSA)
Contact InformationPhone 416-292-6912 ext 335
The ACSA Legal Assistance Centre has a virtual legal clinic that is open on Saturdays from 11 am to 1 pm for people living in Ontario. It is run by volunteer lawyers who can give a free 20-minute consultation on some immigration, family, and housing law issues.
There is no financial eligibility test to use the service. You can book an appointment online, or by phone or email.