What services can I get from Legal Aid Ontario in French?

4. Learn about other services

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) has some services that they provide to people of all income levels. And they have other services that are only for people who meet LAO’s financial eligibility rules.

If you live in a designated area, you may be able to get services in French for some matters about:

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

If you don’t live in one of the designated areas, you still have a right to services in French. But you might have to access services in French from the head office or in a different area from where you live where there is French-speaking staff.

Family law

Phone line

Anyone can get up to 20 minutes of free general legal information and advice in family law by calling 1-800-668-8258 during regular business hours in French or English.

Domestic Violence Certificates

If you have experienced partner abuse and need immediate legal help, you can get a free two-hour consultation with a lawyer through the Family Violence Authorization Program. You do not need to qualify for legal aid to get this advice. The program is offered through some women’s shelters, community legal clinics, Family Law Service Centres, and by calling LAO toll-free at 1-800-668-8258. They can refer you to a lawyer that speaks French.

Duty counsel

These LAO lawyers work at courthouses and help people who have court on that day. If you’re financially eligible, they can give you advice, speak to the court on your behalf, or help you negotiate a settlement. They can’t represent you at trial.

Advice counsel

These LAO lawyers work at courthouses. They can give you general information about legal issues. If you’re financially eligible, they may be able to give you legal advice specific to your case.

Family Law Service Centres (FLSCs)

Some areas in Ontario have Family Law Service Centres that provide resources and support in family matters, and make referrals. Services are available in French at the Toronto, Welland, and Windsor centres.

Family Law Offices

Some areas in Ontario have Family Law Offices where lawyers and paralegals can help with family court cases. Services are available in French at the Family Law Offices in Kenora, Ottawa, and Thunder Bay.

Criminal law

Phone line

Anyone can get up to 20 minutes of free general legal information and advice in criminal law by calling 1-800-668-8258 during regular business hours in French and English.

Duty counsel

These LAO lawyers work at courthouses and help people who have court on that day. If you’re financially eligible, they can give you advice and speak to the court on your behalf. They can’t represent you at trial.

Brydges duty counsel service

Brydges duty counsel is for people in police custody who need to talk to a lawyer. This service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It is available in French, English, and any other language through an interpreter.

Immigration/Refugee law

You can get help with the following immigration and refugee law services from LAO in French or English:

  • Preparing forms for your refugee claim and having a lawyer represent you at your refugee hearing
  • Preparing other applications like pre-removal risk assessments, and humanitarian and compassionate applications
  • Appealing a refugee claim that was refused or applying for a judicial review from the Federal Court
  • Delaying or stopping your deportation
  • Arguing for your release if you are detained on an immigration matter

Community legal clinics

Some of these clinics offer services in French. If they don’t, they can refer you to a lawyer or clinic that does.

LAO funds 73 community legal clinics across the province that help with:

  • Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program matters
  • Landlord/tenant problems
  • Wrongful dismissal and other employment issues

There are also specialty clinics that:

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