How do I apply for a legal aid certificate?

New IRCC online asylum application (eApp)

You must make your refugee claim using the new online application system if you:

  • are inside Canada, and
  • are eligible to make a claim.

You might also have to send information through this portal if a border services officer tells you to use it.

If your legal representative is submitting the claim for you, they must create an account and both of you must sign a Declaration form.

If you are submitting your own claim, you must create the account.

If you don't have a legal representative, it's important to get legal help.

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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