Services in Ontario - Sponsoring family members
Community legal clinics
During the COVID-19 situation, many community legal clinics are no longer meeting with people in person, but will provide services over the phone. Call ahead for more information.
Legal Aid Ontario funds community legal clinics across Ontario to give free legal services to people with low incomes. Lawyers, community legal workers, and law students can help people with some legal problems, like social assistance, housing, and workers’ rights.
To get help from a clinic:
- your legal issue must be one the clinic deals with
- you must live in the area the clinic serves
- you must have a low income
Most clinics also give brief advice or what’s called “summary advice”, without asking about your financial situation. If your local clinic can’t help you, they may be able to refer you to someone in your community who can.
Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) – Immigration/Refugee services
Contact InformationToll-free 1-800-668-8258
The Legal Aid Ontario refugee law program has changed as of April 2019. If you are a legal service provider and you would like more information on our current program, visit their interim refugee law services page.
If you are in Ontario, Legal Aid Ontario may be able to help if:
- you want to apply for refugee status and you need help with your basis of claim form
- your request for refugee status (called a refugee claim) was rejected and you want to appeal
- you want to apply for a judicial review. This is a request you can make to the Federal Court of Canada if Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada or the Immigration and Refugee Board made a decision you do not agree with.
- you are a particularly vulnerable client. This means you or your family have a special case. For example, you are 17 years old or younger and you have not parent or legal guardian in Canada, you are in a detention centre, or you have a mental health condition.
You have to qualify financially for these services.
Francophone legal advice lines
LAO has 4 free regional advice lines that give legal information and advice in French over the telephone to people living in:
- Eastern Ontario
- Northern Ontario, and parts of central Ontario including:
- Parry Sound
- Muskoka and Kawartha Lakes regions
- Greater Toronto Area
- Southwestern Ontario
The advice lines do not help with family law or criminal law matters.
Law Society Referral Service
The Law Society of Ontario has on online Law Society Referral Service that gives you the name of a lawyer or licensed paralegal who will give free legal advice for up to 30 minutes in any area of law.
If you can’t wait for a legal representative to call you back, or if you don’t have a call-back number, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, if you’re in crisis or in custody, call 1-855-947-5255 or 416-947-5255, Monday to Friday, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Ontario Legal Information Centre
Contact InformationPhone 613-842-7462 Toll-free 1-844-343-7462
Law Society of Ontario – Lawyer and Paralegal Directory
Contact InformationPhone 416-479-0551 Toll-free 1-866-919-3219
JusticeNet helps people find a legal professional if their income is too high to get legal aid but too low to afford legal fees. If your net family income is less than $59,000, they refer you to an online directory of lawyers, paralegals, and mediators who provide help at reduced rates.
JusticeNet is a non-profit organization. You must register and pay a $25 fee to use their website. They may return the fee if you don’t find a professional to work with.