Services in Ontario - Human rights in housing

Legal clinics

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:

Some specialty legal clinics provide free legal services in only certain areas of law:

For more help contacting a clinic, call Legal Aid Ontario at 1-800-668-8258 or 416-979-1446. For TTY, use Bell’s Relay Service at 1-866-641-8867 or 416-598-8867.

The Human Rights Legal Support Centre (HRLSC)

Website

http://www.hrlsc.on.ca/en/home

Contact Information

Phone 416-597-4900 Toll-free 1-866-625-5179 TTY 416-597-4903 Toll-free TTY 1-866 612-8627

The centre gives free legal information and advice to people who have experienced discrimination. They can:

  • help you fill out an application to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario
  • give legal advice about how to deal with discrimination
  • provide legal representation at mediations and hearings, in some situations

They have an online tool that can help you figure out if your situation might be discrimination.

Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA)

Website

http://www.equalityrights.org/

Contact Information

Phone 416-944-0087 Toll-free 1-800-263-1139

CERA is an organization that works with tenants mainly by telephone and email. Their staff are not lawyers or paralegals.

Tenants facing eviction can get information about the eviction process and services that can help them. CERA’s human rights services include helping tenants who:

  • are being discriminated against when looking for housing
  • are being harassed
  • need accommodation for a human rights reason, such as a disability
  • want general information about human rights or the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario

Housing Help Association of Ontario

The association has a listing of housing help centres. These centres help people find a place to live, avoid eviction, and get financial support, including social assistance, rent bank loans, and help to pay utility bills.

Tribunals Ontario – Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB)

Website

https://tribunalsontario.ca/ltb/

Contact Information

Phone 416-645-8080 Toll-free 1-888-332-3234 Toll-free TTY 1-800-855-0511 (Bell Relay Service)

The Landlord and Tenant Board is the tribunal that decides issues between landlords and tenants.

The Board’s website has information about housing law, forms that landlords and tenants must use, and a FAQ page that answers common questions about housing law and the Board’s processes.

You can also call the Board for information. The Board can’t give legal advice.

Francophone legal advice lines

LAO has 4 free regional advice lines that give legal information and advice in French over the telephone to people living in:

  • Eastern Ontario
  • Northern Ontario, and parts of central Ontario including:
    • Barrie
    • Parry Sound
    • Muskoka and Kawartha Lakes regions
  • Greater Toronto Area
  • Southwestern Ontario

The advice lines do not help with family law or criminal law matters.

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.

Pro Bono Ontario – Free legal advice hotline

Website

https://www.probonoontario.org/hotline/

Contact Information

Phone 1-855-255-7256

The hotline can give you 30 minutes of free legal help and advice over the telephone on civil law matters, which include:

  • employment
  • housing
  • consumer issues
  • Powers of Attorney
  • corporate law for charities, non-profits, and small businesses

It doesn’t help with family law or criminal law problems.

The hotline generally accepts calls Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 12 noon, and from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

York Region Housing Mediation Services

Website

https://yrhms.ca/

Contact Information

Phone 905-505-2535

The York Region Housing Mediation Services provides free mediation services to help resolve disputes between landlord and tenants, and between tenants. Both sides must agree to mediation. If you agree, you will each meet with a different mediator to discuss your issues and how you would like resolve them. Everyone will then meet together to see if an agreement can be reached. 

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