About LAO

Fact sheets

These fact sheets are straightforward summaries of Legal Aid Ontario (LAO)'s programs and activities. They are useful for fact checking, or as reference materials.

About Legal Aid Ontario

How is Legal Aid Ontario funded?

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) gets most of its funding from the Government of Ontario and the Law Foundation of Ontario.
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Legal Aid Ontario can help

Need legal help but cant afford it? We provide legal services for financially eligible, low-income Ontarians in the following areas: domestic violence, familylaw, immigration and refugee law, criminal law, and poverty law.
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Need a lawyer but can't afford it?

If you're financially eligible and have a legal matter that LAO covers, you may be able to apply for a certificate, which is like a voucher that you can use to pay a lawyer to represent you for a certain number of hours.
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How to make a complaint

A step-by-step outline of LAO's complaints process.
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Legal Aid Ontario's budget deficit

At Legal Aid Ontario (LAO), we have limited resources to deliver on our mandate of providing low-income Ontario residents with access to justice. We are working hard to implement our balanced budget plan so we can continue to deliver on our highest priority of serving as many clients as possible.
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Services for clients

Legal Aid Ontario's toll-free telephone line

Find out about LAOs toll-free number, which offers legal aid information, summary legal advice and more.
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LAO in the courthouse

An initiative to open offices in courthouses across Ontario.
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Duty counsel services

Legal Aid Ontarios (LAO) duty counsel are lawyers at courthouses who can step in to help people who need immediate legal support.
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Legal aid help if you are experiencing domestic violence

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Has children's aid contacted you?

An overview of what Legal Aid Ontario can do for you if children's aid has either taken your child into care or you are dealing with a child protection agency outside of the court process.
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Community legal clinics

Legal Aid Ontario is the primary funder of 76 community legal clinics, which can help with basic needs such as housing, health care and employment.
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Family Law Service Centres (FLSC)

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) can help if youre separated and seeking child support or experiencing domestic violence or trying to get custody or access to your children. We have a growing number of family law service centres across the province that can help with a number of family matters.
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Finding the right legal aid lawyer

Learn how to find this important professional, what he or she can do for your case, and how to make the most of your relationship.
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Legal aid services for people who are deaf

Find out more about LAO services for people who are deaf, deafened or hard of hearing.
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Mediation

Family mediation is a voluntary process where a mediator helps disputing parents come up with workable solutions that focus on the best interests of their children. The mediator supports each person so that his or her perspective is considered.
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Refugee Law Office

LAOs Refugee Law Office helps clients prepare claims for refugee status at refugee determination hearings before the Immigration and Refugee Board. They are experienced in human rights work and refugee advocacy.
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School disciplinary hearings

Throughout Legal Aid Ontario's Racialized Communities Strategy's early engagement sessions with various stakeholders, the issue of discrimination and school disciplinary hearings has been consistently raised.
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Separation agreement certificates

LAO covers the cost of up to 10 hours with a family lawyer to help financially eligible clients draw up a separation agreement. The spouse of a financially eligible client may also be eligible if the spouse earns up to a maximum of $50,000.
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Separating from your partner? Worried about losing custody of your kids?

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What to do before you criminal court first appearance

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Young persons' diversion hotline

If youre 17 and under and have been arrested for a non-violent crime, you and your parents may want to call the hotline at 1-855-953-1427 as soon as possible.
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Initiatives and departments

Aboriginal Justice Strategy

In 2007, LAO began developing an Aboriginal Justice Strategy to help meet the needs of First Nations communities across Ontario. From 2008-2013, this Strategy achieved measurable improvements in services to Aboriginal people and has been extended through 2018 to expand services and increase response to local needs.
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Services to support Aboriginal people

LAO provides appropriate legal representation to people who self-identify as Aboriginal. We train our staff lawyers to help them understand the legal issues that impact Aboriginal people in the Canadian justice system. In addition, we require lawyers who represent Aboriginal clients in criminal matters to take additional special training to ensure they understand the unique legal status of Aboriginal people.
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Big Case Management (BCM)

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) sets budgets for criminal cases expected to cost more than $20,000. In these cases, LAO establishes individual budgets instead of using its hourly rate and number of hours available to pay lawyers. LAO works with the lawyer to tailor a budget that meets the requirements that meet the case to help better manage costs and ensure that the lawyer can plan his or her defence strategy accordingly.
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Racialized Communities Strategy

LAO has committed to developing a multi-year, multi-faceted, province-wide racialized communities strategy that will build upon the services and supports that LAO already has in place.
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Legal Aid Ontario and lawyers

Complex Case Rate panel

Lawyers who represent legal aid clients on the complex criminal matters that qualify for the Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) Complex Case Rate are required to join LAOs Complex Case Rate panel.
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Legal Aid Online

Legal Aid Online is a secure website that enables lawyers who do legal aid work to submit accounts for payment and to acknowledge and manage their certificates.
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Managing criminal matters

In addition to standard tariff accounts, Legal Aid Ontario offers three main programs for lawyers dealing with criminal matters the big case management program, complex case rate policy and block fee accounts.
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Panel memberships

Legal Aid Ontarios panel standards detail the minimum experience levels and ongoing professional development requirements for lawyers working with legal aid clients.
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Services for lawyers

Over 4,500 lawyers across the province assist legal aid clients with legal matters ranging from criminal trials to family law disputes. Legal Aid Ontario acknowledges the importance of this work with a commitment to improving services for these lawyers, including online billing, training and support.
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