1. Get legal advice

It's important to choose the right legal option for your case. The options can be confusing. So it's usually a good idea to get advice from a lawyer before deciding which option is best for you.

When speaking to a lawyer, ask:

  • whether you have a strong claim
  • what evidence you need
  • what result you could ask for
  • how long it may take to get a result
  • what it will cost to make a claim

There are many ways to get advice from a lawyer.

Human Rights Legal Support Centre (HRLSC)

The HRLSC provides free legal advice and support to people thinking of applying to the of Ontario. They offer support in many ways from giving advice over the phone to sending someone to represent you. The level of support depends on your case and your income.

Visit the HRLSC website to see how they can help, or call 1-866-625-5179.

Legal clinics

Community legal clinics (CLCs) provide free legal services to people with low incomes. A CLC may be able to help you with certain human rights issues related to housing or employment. You can search for a CLC in your area using your postal code.

There are also Specialty clinics that provide free legal services on certain human rights issues to specific people with low incomes. Some of the specialty clinics are:

  • ACE, for seniors
  • ACTO, for tenants
  • ALS, for Indigenous people
  • ARCH, for people with disabilities
  • BLAC, for Black people
  • CSALC, for Chinese, Vietnamese, Laotian and Cambodian people
  • CSSP, for Spanish-speaking people
  • HALCO, for people living with HIV
  • IWC, for people injured at work
  • JFCY, for young people
  • SALCO, for South Asian people
  • WHSLC, for non-unionized workers

For additional help contacting a CLC or a specialty clinic, you can call Legal Aid Ontario at 1-800-668-8258 or 416-979-1446. TTY users can call 1-866-641-8867 or 416-598-8867.

Lawyer Referral Service

Many lawyers work on discrimination cases. For help finding a lawyer, you can use the Law Society's online Referral Service or call 1-855-947-5255.

Pro Bono Ontario

Pro Bono Ontario has a free legal advice hotline. You can get up to 30 minutes of free legal advice and help if you're representing yourself at the Small Claims Court or Superior Court of Justice. Call 1-855-255-7256.

Ontario Legal Information Centre

The Ontario Legal Information Centre offers a free 30-minute meeting with a lawyer to anyone in Ontario. You can talk to a lawyer by telephone, on any area of law, and in English or French. You may have to leave a message, and a lawyer will call you back.

JusticeNet

JusticeNet is a not-for-profit organization that can help people find legal services when their income is too high for legal aid and too low to afford legal fees. Their website has a list of lawyers, paralegals, and mediators who charge reduced fees based on your income and the size of your family. You must register and pay a small fee to use their services.

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