Getting legal help

Immigration / refugee law

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 someones 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 Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship 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.

The government charges application fees for refugee matters

Even if you are a refugee claimant eligible for legal aid and even if you have a legal aid certificate, you still have to pay Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada application and filing fees for your refugee and immigration matters.

Go to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canadas fee list.

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.