How do I apply for a legal aid certificate?

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) provides legal services to people in Ontario with very low incomes.

If you get a , this means that LAO pays a lawyer to work for you. You should not pay any money directly to the lawyer who accepts your certificate. Your legal aid certificate is meant to cover the entire cost of your matter. If you need more time, your lawyer can ask LAO for more hours.

In some cases, you may need to sign a “contribution agreement”. This is an agreement between you and LAO where you agree to pay back LAO some money based on your income.

To apply for a legal aid certificate, you must show that you meet LAO's financial eligibility rules. This means you have to show them that you have a low income. You must give information about your income, property, and savings. You also have to give information about how many family members live in your house and how much money each person makes.

To get a legal aid certificate, your legal issue must be one that LAO covers. For example, you usually can't get a certificate to someone who damaged your property. But you may get a certificate for some legal issues about:

  • family law
  • criminal law
  • immigration law
  • refugee law

Not all lawyers will work with people who have a legal aid certificate. You have to find a lawyer who both agrees to help you and accepts your legal aid certificate.

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