About LAO

Freedom of Information requests

You have the right to ask Legal Aid Ontario for information

You have the right to ask Legal Aid Ontario for information, via a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, no matter where you live or how old you are.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request is an official written request for information. Your rights to make this request are covered by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) (which provides individuals with the right to request personal infomration about themselves as well as general records) and the Legal Aid Services Act (LASA), 1998 (which allows collection of personal information within the definition of FIPPA to help LAO fulfill its mandate).

As an independent government agency, Legal aid Ontario is committed to responding to FOI requests in as complete and timely a manner as possible.

Type of information you can request

You can request any record for information in any form, including:

  • print (such as letters or reports)
  • film (such as computer tape, microfilm or videotape)
  • electronic documents such as emails
  • sound recordings such as voicemail.

LAO cannot release:

  • case information you are requesting about another current or past LAO client
  • court records that deal with legal aid clients
  • records containing certain law enforcement information
  • records that could prejudice intergovernmental relations
  • personal information that could invade the privacy of an individual
  • certain records supplied in confidence by a third party
  • most labour relations records.

How to make a Freedom of Information request

  • Identify the information/records you want.

  • If you need help to determine whether the information you want is available under the FIPPA, contact LAOs Freedom of Information Coordinator.

  • Download and complete a freedom of information request form (or prepare a written letter providing sufficient information to identify the records you want).

  • Put your request in writing—and be specific about the information you want as well as the time period for which you are seeking records. The more details you provide, the easier it will be for an LAO employee to identify the information/records you are requesting.

  • Mail the completed form, along with the $5.00 application fee (if applicable) via a cheque or money order made out to LAO, for each request to:

    LAOs Freedom of Information Coordinator
    Legal Aid Ontario
    40 Dundas St. W., suite 200
    Toronto, ON M5G 2H1

    Note: do not send cash with your application.

Fees

If your request is for access to general records other than your own personal information, the request will be considered under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) and will require a $5.00 application fee for processing. This fee can be made via cheque or money order, made payable to Legal Aid Ontario.

According to LAO policies, the $5.00 application fee is not applicable for all current legal aid clients who want access to their own personal information at LAO. They can access such information for free.

Depending on your request, additional processing fees may be required. We will send you a fee estimate if your processing fees will be more than $25.00. When processing fees are over $100.00, a deposit may be required.

What happens next

You will receive a written response to your request within 30 days from the date of our receiving your request. We will notify you if we need more time than that.

Appeals

You can appeal LAOs decision to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario within 30 days of receiving it. You will need to fill in and submit an appeal form (or a written letter) to the Information and Privacy Commissioner Registrar within 30 calendar days of receiving LAOs decision.

Questions

Contact LAO's Freedom of Information Coordinator:

Mail:
LAOs Freedom of Information Coordinator
Legal Aid Ontario
40 Dundas St. W., Suite 200
Toronto, ON M5G 2H1

Email:
fippa@lao.on.ca

Get more information on making an FOI request to a public sector organization