2. Talk to a lawyer

As soon as you know a (CAS) has started a court case, talk to a lawyer who has worked on child protection cases. Child protection cases are complicated and follow strict deadlines.

You can apply for a legal aid certificate to get Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) to pay for your lawyer.  Your income must be low enough for you to qualify. Not all lawyers accept legal aid certificates. You have to find a lawyer who accepts certificates.

If you can't afford to hire a lawyer for your whole case, some lawyers offer “unbundled services” or “limited scope retainer” services. This means you pay them to help you with part of your case.

If you can't afford to hire a lawyer, you might be able to find legal help in other places. You don't not need a lawyer to go to court or reply to CAS, but it is best to get one.

In some situations, a parent has the right to have the government pay for their lawyer. This is to make sure that their court case with CAS is fair. In those situations, a court can order the government to pay for that parent's lawyer through Legal Aid Ontario. This doesn't happen in most cases.

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