LAO Newsroom

Refugee law services consultation feedback

Posted on: Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is sharing feedback it received from stakeholders on the delivery of LAO’s refugee law services during 13 consultations between November and December.

LAO will use this information to develop plans and create public legal information to ensure quality service for refugee claimants in light of new federal refugee legislation, and rising costs.

LAO received the following feedback:

Private bar

  • maintain or expand certificate coverage, including Refugee Appeal Division
  • ensure the Basis of Claim (BOC) as critical document is adequately funded
  • improve quality of service – get rid of “bad apples”
  • ensure legal aid access for all meritorious claims
  • ensure continuity of service provider: BOC -> hearing
  • challenge Bill C-31
  • lobby for increased funding
  • co-ordinate services with clinics/RLO
  • ensure coverage decisions based on individual merit assessment not IRB acceptance rates
  • provide coverage (BOC prep & hearing representation) for 90 per cent & 25 per cent acceptance rate countries, including DCOs (“safe” countries)
  • supervise paralegals if they are to provide refugee services


  • be a champion for refugee rights, including the right to counsel for refugees
  • provide funding for test case litigation, law reform efforts, and community mobilization to address systemic issues
  • not tie funding for refugee law services to levels of targeted funding provided by the Federal government.
  • ensure a well-functioning legal aid certificate program as the most effective and efficient service delivery model
  • ensure that all refugee claimants whose cases meet a minimal merit threshold obtain legal representation.
  • provide substantial new funding to legal clinics to respond to refugee service pressures based on proposed model

Community partners

  • develop plain language public legal information
  • develop summary legal advice, and duty counsel services at ports-of-entry or CICs
  • collaborate more with community agencies
  • support agencies interested in holding legal clinics for claimants to explain LAO and IRB processes


  • provide opportunity for paralegals to serve refugee clients
  • develop training and ‘articling’ rotations in support of refugee competency
  • support efforts to increase refugee law learning opportunities at LSUC and colleges

LAO is currently reviewing the consultation feedback and is implementing interim changes to refugee services in light of Bill C-31. It will announce a new model for delivery of refugee and immigration services early next year.


Refugee Law Services Transformation: Report on Consultation
December 2012


For questions or further information, please contact:

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