LAO Newsroom

LAO to fund certificate for refugees at risk of losing their status

Posted on: Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Beginning September 3, 2013, Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) will issue certificates for 16 hours, plus attendance, to eligible refugee claimants at risk of losing their status as Convention refugees or people who are in need of protection.

LAO is protecting these vulnerable clients through access to legal services in light of recent changes to federal government legislation and policies.

LAO will assess the financial eligibility and merit of cessation or vacation legal aid applications by interviewing clients over the telephone, and issue a certificate to financially eligible applicants with meritorious defenses.

Clients who request this coverage must clearly state that they are applying for “cessation” or “vacation” coverage to ensure that their requests are not mistaken for Basis of Claim (BOC) certificate requests.

What is a cessation or vacation application?

Certain federal government ministers can apply to the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) for an order that takes away someone's status as a Convention refugee or person in need of protection as follows:

  • The IRB can make a cessation order if it decides that a person does not need refugee protection any longer. This means that person loses refugee protection (or protected person status); his or her application for permanent resident status will only be processed if the IRB’s Refugee Protection Division turns down the minister’s application.
  • The IRB can make a vacation order if it decides that a person got protected person status by “misrepresentation,” i.e., saying something that is not true or leaving out important information in a refugee claim. This means the person could be forced to leave Canada, even if the person has permanent resident status.


Refugee claimants can contact LAO’s toll-free number Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.:

  • Call 1-800-668-8258 toll free (or 416-979-1446 in Toronto) to get legal aid help in over 200 languages.

Lawyers can contact LAO’s Lawyer Service Centre Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • 1-866-979-9934 (toll free)
  • 416-979-9934 (GTA)