Services in Ontario - Canadian citizenship
Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) – Immigration/Refugee services
Contact InformationToll-free 1-800-668-8258
The Legal Aid Ontario refugee law program has changed as of April 2019. If you are a legal service provider and you would like more information on our current program, visit their interim refugee law services page.
If you are in Ontario, Legal Aid Ontario may be able to help if:
- you want to apply for refugee status and you need help with your basis of claim form
- your request for refugee status (called a refugee claim) was rejected and you want to appeal
- you want to apply for a judicial review. This is a request you can make to the Federal Court of Canada if Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada or the Immigration and Refugee Board made a decision you do not agree with.
- you are a particularly vulnerable client. This means you or your family have a special case. For example, you are 17 years old or younger and you have not parent or legal guardian in Canada, you are in a detention centre, or you have a mental health condition.
You have to qualify financially for these services.
Law Society of Ontario – Lawyer and Paralegal Directory
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.
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:
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 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