Getting legal help

Immigration / refugee law

Getting Legal Help

Are you experiencing domestic violence?

If you are experiencing domestic violence, and are in need of immediate help, you can get a two hour consultation with a private lawyer through the Family Violence Authorization Program. In this situation, advice on immigration and refugee issues is also available through this program, which is offered through some shelters and community legal clinics.

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) provides a range of legal services to help people trying to enter or remain in Canada as a refugee or as an immigrant.

LAO funds, where there is merit, multiple refugee and/or immigration services at the same time, based on the recommendation of LAO staff experienced in refugee and immigration law.

Please call our toll-free line at 1-800-668-8258 to:

  • apply for these services, or get more information about them
  • apply for legal aid coverage for two concurrent refugee and/or immigration services. LAO staff will base their decision on whether:
    • the failure to support both matters at the same time could deprive you of a legal remedy for one matter
    • the failure to pursue both matters at the same time could result in the loss of someone’s legal right(s) due to lack of clarity in the law(s)
    • the chance of success in one matter significantly depends on pursuing the other matter at the same time
  • get free advice and legal information if we cannot help you because you do not qualify financially, or because you are not eligible for our help.

An LAO representative will help you in the language of your choice (through an interpreter if necessary). If you are a refugee claimant and would like further information on how LAO may be able to help you, visit our "Services for refugee claimants” section. For more information on how LAO may help with your immigration matter, visit our “Immigration services” section.

If we cannot help you because we do not provide assistance for your matter, you may be able to get help at your local community legal clinic or Student Legal Aid Service Society.


Services for refugee claimants


Immigration services



What LAO does NOT do


LAO does not help people:

  • obtain permanent resident status (except on humanitarian and compassionate grounds) or checking the status of applications with Citizenship and Immigration Canada
  • prepare sponsorship applications
  • renew temporary resident permits or student visas
  • resolve problems in getting Ontario Health Insurance Plan coverage.

If you qualify for legal aid but have no lawyer


If you are eligible for legal aid but do not have a lawyer, you can choose to have either a private bar, LAO staff or clinic lawyer to represent you.


Other resources


See our Other Resources section for more refugee and immigration law information.

Please note that these are external links and we are not responsible for their content.