LAO Newsroom

Interim changes to LAO’s refugee law services after mid-December

Posted on: Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) will implement interim changes to its current model for delivering services to refugee claimants seeking protection in Canada on or after Dec. 15, 2012. Refugee claimants who make claims for protection before Dec. 15 will continue to receive services as announced Sept. 6, 2012.

These changes will ensure that eligible clients receive legal aid coverage when Bill C-31 comes into effect. Bill C-31 is the federal government’s new federal refugee and immigration legislation.

The chart below describes LAO’s interim measures.


Effective Dec. 15

Stage 1: Personal Information Form (PIF) preparation

A Basis of Claim (BOC) form replaces the PIF. Wording on the certificate will be changed from PIF to BOC.

Clients may be eligible for a five-hour certificate to complete a BOC. LAO subject matter experts will assess merit for BOC coverage.

The three-hour certificate for the narrative portion of a PIF will be discontinued for claims made after Dec. 15.

LAO will process complete applications efficiently – within 48 hours – to meet shorter refugee determination timelines.

Stage 2: Refugee Protection Division hearing/interview

LAO subject matter experts will assess:

  • merit for hearing coverage and
  • whether or not the BOC certificate should be amended to add 11 hours for services leading up to the RPD hearing

LAO will announce a new model for delivery of refugee and immigration services early next year. LAO is currently reviewing the feedback received during its Nov. 5 to Dec. 10 consultations with a broad range of organizations, stakeholders and individuals in the refugee determination system across Ontario.


For questions or further information, please contact:

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