Services in Ontario - Getting legal help in Housing Law
Ontario Community Mediation Coalition
The Ontario Community Mediation Coalition is a group of community mediation providers that oprovide free help to resolve conflict or disagreements. Community mediation is not a legal process. Issues that may be suitable for community mediation include disputes between neighbours, landlords and tenants, and in schools and workplaces. They have a list of member organizations to contact if you’re interested in finding mediation services.
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:
Pro Bono Ontario – Free legal advice hotline
Contact InformationPhone 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:
- 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.
Tenant duty counsel
If you have a telephone hearing during the COVID-19 situation, you can sign up for free legal advice at tdc.acto.ca or call 1-877-374-0391.
Tenant duty counsel help tenants who don’t have a lawyer on the day of their hearing with the Landlord and Tenant Board. The Landlord and Tenant Board is the tribunal that decides issues between landlords and tenants.
Duty counsel are lawyers and legal workers paid for by Legal Aid Ontario. They can:
- give legal advice
- review documents and prepare forms
- help tenants and landlords agree on issues
- sometimes represent tenants during a hearing
If you have a telephone hearing, you can usually talk to duty counsel when you call in for your hearing. Try to call at least 30 minutes early.
The Tenant-Lawyer Connection Portal
The Ontario Bar Association [www.oba.org/TLCP] can connect you with a lawyer to give you 30 minutes of free advice if you’ve received a notice for an eviction hearing because of non-payment of rent. To use this service, you must have a hearing at LTB in the next 10 days and have internet access.
Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA)
Contact InformationPhone 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
Tribunals Ontario – Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB)
Contact InformationPhone 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.
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 can give legal information and advice in French over the telephone to people living in:
- Eastern Ontario
- Northern Ontario, and parts of central Ontario including:
- 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.
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
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.