1. Learn about designated areas

In Ontario there are “designated areas” where Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) provides help in French. Designated areas are based on the number of French-speaking residents. Usually, in a designated area, at least 10% of the population speaks French. And in cities and other urban centres, there must usually be at least 5,000 people who speak French.

Other areas may be designated because a large group of French people work in the area and their community supports their wish to be a designated area. This is how Kingston became a designated area.

The following 26 designated areas in Ontario must provide services in French, including legal aid services:

  1. City of Toronto
  2. City of Hamilton as the boundaries existed on December 31, 2000
  3. Cities of Port Colborne and Welland in the Regional Municipality of Niagara
  4. City of Ottawa
  5. Cities of Mississauga and Brampton in the Regional Municipality of Peel
  6. City of Sudbury and greater Sudbury area
  7. Township of Winchester in Dundas County
  8. County of Essex including:
    • City of Windsor
    • Towns of Belle River and Tecumseh
    • Townships of Anderdon, Colchester North, Maidstone, Sandwich South, Sandwich West, Tilbury North, Tilbury West, and Rochester
  9. County of Glengarry
  10. County of Kent including:
    • Town of Tilbury
    • Townships of Dover and Tilbury East
  11. County of Prescott
  12. County of Renfrew including:
    • City of Pembroke
    • Townships of Stafford and Westmeath
  13. County of Russell
  14. County of Simcoe including:
    • Town of Penetanguishene
    • Townships of Tiny and Essa
  15. County of Stormont
  16. District of Algoma
  17. District of Cochrane
  18. Township of Ignace in the District of Kenora
  19. District of Nipissing
  20. District of Sudbury
  21. District of Thunder Bay including:
    • Towns of Geraldton, Longlac, and Marathon
    • Townships of Manitouwadge, Beardmore, Nakina, and Terrace Bay
  22. District of Timiskaming
  23. City of London
  24. Municipality of Callander in the District of Parry Sound
  25. City of Kingston
  26. City of Markham (starting July 1, 2018) in the Regional Municipality of York

Where there is no French-speaking staff member available in a designated area, LAO will connect you to a French-language clinic that can provide translation services for the legal intake process.

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