LAO Newsroom

LAO to consult on refugee law services reform

Posted on: Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is reviewing its delivery of refugee law services to provide faster and more cost-efficient assistance to low-income clients. This review is an important component of LAO’s ongoing modernization strategy, to help ensure quality services for clients, value for taxpayers and streamlined administration. It is also essential to help LAO address current challenges in the delivery of legal aid services for refugees:

  • New federal refugee legislation is expected to come into force later this year, creating significant reforms to the refugee determination system in Canada.
  • LAO must continue to address rising costs, reduced funding, and the ongoing need to provide value to taxpayers.

This new legislation, coupled with rising costs, requires LAO to reassess some of the basic assumptions about how refugee legal aid services are provided in Ontario.

LAO has drafted a detailed consultation paper, Meeting the challenges of delivering refugee legal aid services, which proposes ideas for a new model to provide refugee legal aid services in today’s environment. It discusses alternative service options such as greater use of duty counsel, clinics, paralegals, self-help materials, unbundling, and telephone advice.

LAO will conduct initial consultations on this paper’s suggestions between Nov. 5 and Dec. 10 with a broad range of organizations, stakeholders and individuals in the refugee determination system across Ontario. Their feedback will help LAO develop plans for delivering refugee law services that meet the needs of our vulnerable clients and address today’s challenges. LAO will consider all comments and suggestions.

How to participate

Register online for LAO’s in-person group consultation sessions and live webcast consultation sessions.

If you are unable to attend a consultation session, you can watch a recorded webcast and submit your comments online.


For questions or further information, please contact:

Jawad Kassab, Director Corporate Services, Planning & Strategic Initiatives,

Maureen Hastings, Director, Administration, Civil and Immigration Law Services (GTA Region)

Written submissions may be sent to: Nye Thomas, Director General, Policy and Strategic Research,