4. Contact Legal Aid Ontario

How do I apply for a legal aid certificate?
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4. Contact Legal Aid Ontario

To apply for a legal aid certificate, you must phone Legal Aid Ontario (LAO).

You can phone them Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Call toll-free at 1-800-668-8258 or 416-979-1446 in Toronto. You will get the quickest response if you phone between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m.

They may not be able to take your call right away. But they will call you back if you leave your phone number.

If you have difficulty hearing, you can use their teletypewriter service. Call toll-free at 1-866-641-8867 or 416-598-8867 in Toronto.

LAO will ask you how much money your whole household makes to find out if have a low income. They will ask how many family members live in your house and how much money each person makes. They combine all the incomes of your family members to get your gross family income.

To prove your gross family income, you will have to mail or fax proof of your current income to LAO. This could be:

  • income tax returns
  • bank statements
  • information about property you own

It usually takes about a week to find out if you can get a legal aid certificate once you have given LAO proof of your income.

If you're getting social assistance from the Ontario Disability Support Program or Ontario Works, LAO may decide sooner.

Appeal

If LAO rejects your application for a legal aid certificate, you get a refusal notice with information on how to appeal.

To appeal means that you disagree with the decision and want to ask someone with more authority to review it.

If you want to appeal, you usually need to send certain information to LAO within 15 days after you get LAO's decision. The notice says what information you have to send and where to send your appeal to. You have to send this information by mail.

Your appeal is decided based on the papers you send only. 

Re-applying

If LAO refused your application because your income was too high, and your income goes down after you applied, you can try again. Contact LAO and ask them to reconsider your application based on your current income.

Reviewed: August 23, 2019

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