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Legal Services

Legal Services

Women's Legal Education and Action Fund

Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic
This organization provides free legal representation in family and immigration law to women in the Greater Toronto Area who experience physical, sexual, or psychological abuse. It also provides counselling and language interpreter services. Its staff can give summary advice and advocacy in criminal law.
Toronto area (accepts collect calls): 416-323-9149
TTY: 416-323-1361
489 College St.

Jared's Place Legal Advocacy & Resource Centre for Women
This Hamilton organization provides free legal information to women who have experienced abuse. Women can get support from a legal advocate and summary legal advice from a lawyer.
Hamilton area: 905-522-0127, ext. 207

Luke's Place
This Durham Region organization provides a wide range of legal support services to women who have experienced abuse and are involved in family court. Women can access free summary legal advice through the Pro Bono Summary Advice Clinic, which is held one day a week. Women can also get advice by speaking with a staff lawyer.
Their website has a list of organizations in Ontario that support abused women
Toll-free: 1-866-516-3116
Oshawa area: 905-728-0978

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO)
Legal Aid Ontario gives low-income people access to a wide range of legal services. Some of these are designed specifically for people who have experienced domestic violence.
Toll-free: 1-800-668-8258
Toronto area (accepts collect calls): 416-979-1446
Toll-free TTY: 1-866-641-8867
Toronto area TTY: 416-598-8867

  • Provides a free, two-hour, emergency consultation to anyone experiencing domestic violence
  • Gives lower-income people access to additional funded legal services

Applicants must apply for a Legal Aid Certificate and be approved to receive ongoing services

Duty Counsel
Lawyers at courthouses who can give immediate, legal assistance to low-income people who appear in court without a lawyer
Toronto 416-327-2064
Brampton Courthouse 905-456-4700
Newmarket Courthouse 905-836-8580
Oshawa Courthouse 905-979-1251

Legal Aid certificates
You can apply for a Legal Aid certificate to pay for a lawyer. A certificate is a document that says LAO has agreed to pay for a certain number of hours of a lawyer's time to work on your legal issues. LAO will decide if you qualify based on your income and legal issue.

A different test is used for people who are experiencing domestic violence. You can have a higher income than other people and still qualify for a certificate. You can see the financial eligibility guidelines by clicking here.

Victims of domestic violence who have a family or immigration law issue might be able to get a Legal Aid certificate more quickly. If you call LAO and tell them that you are a victim of domestic violence, you will be placed in a priority line for help with your application. In urgent cases, you might be able to apply for a certificate in person at an LAO office. You might be able to get a certificate on the same day that you apply.

Victims of domestic violence can ask a women's shelter or community legal clinic to help them get 2 hours of free advice from an immigration or family lawyer. You have to apply for a Legal Aid certificate if you want the lawyer to represent you in any legal proceedings.
For people who qualify financially, LAO will cover up to 6 hours of independent legal advice if you are involved in family law mediation. If you are eligible, you can speak with a lawyer before, during, and after mediation.

LAO provides Legal Aid certificates for victims of domestic violence who have been charged criminally, who qualify financially, and who face serious consequences if they are found guilty. For example, if there is a chance you will get a jail sentence, lose custody of or access to your children, or face immigration or refugee challenges, you might be able to get a certificate.

Family Law Offices
There are 3 Family Law Offices in Ontario. Their family lawyers can represent people who qualify for legal aid. They are located in:

  • Kenora, at 807-468-7790 or toll-free at 1-888-295-4986
  • Ottawa, at 613-569-7448
  • Thunder Bay, at 807-346-2950 or toll-free at 1-800-393-8140

Family Law Service Centres
At Family Law Service Centres, if you are financially eligible, you can get a variety of legal resources and support, including:

  • help with documents
  • referrals to advice counsel
  • full representation in family law cases by a staff lawyer
  • referral to a private lawyer who will take a Legal Aid certificate
  • mediation and settlement conferences
  • referrals to other social service agencies

These centres are located in Brampton, Chatham, Halton, Newmarket, North York, Oshawa, Sarnia, St. Catherines, Toronto, Welland, and Windsor. It is important to use the centre in the region where your court case is located. To find a centre near you, visit Legal Aid Ontario

Family Law Information Centres

Family Law Information Centres (FLICs) are located in Ontario courts that deal with family law matters. They provide a variety of information and services that can:

  • help you understand the court process
  • give you court forms
  • explain how to get your own lawyer
  • answer your general questions
  • refer you to services and resources

Advice lawyers from Legal Aid Ontario are also available at FLICs, at certain times.

Click here for a list of courthouses.

  • Free summary legal advice
  • Information about legal services and court processes
  • Assistance in completing court forms and documents
  • Scheduling for Mandatory Information Sessions

Toronto - 311 Jarvis St. 416-326-1694
North York - 47 Sheppard Ave. E. 416-250-6161
Toronto - 393 University Ave. Suite 900 416-593-5393
Barrie - 75 Mulcaster Street 705-739-6446
Durham Region - 150 Bond St E., Oshawa 905-579-1988 or 1-877-294-6529
Milton - 491 Steeles Avenue East 905-878-7281 x 3447
Peel Region - 7755 Hurontario St, Rm 280, Brampton 905-456-4700 x 5454
York Region - 50 Eagle Street West, 2nd Floor 853-4809 x 6223

Community legal clinics
Community legal clinics provide summary advice, referral, and representation on many legal issues. Student Legal Aid Services Societies (SLASS) in law schools in Toronto, Kingston, London, Ottawa, Windsor, and Thunder Bay can also provide legal assistance.
To find the Legal Aid office, community legal clinic, or SLASS nearest you, call Legal Aid Ontario or see www.legalaid.on.ca.

Law Society Referral Service
The Law Society Referral Service is an online service that gives you the name of a lawyer in your area who will provide you with a free consultation for up to 30 minutes, to help you determine your rights and options. There is no charge for this referral service. You can ask for a lawyer who speaks your language, or a lawyer who will accept a Legal Aid certificate.

You must complete and submit an online form. You will then be given the name and contact information of a lawyer, as well as a referral number. Give the referral number when you call the lawyer. They will call you back within 3 days to make an appointment for your consultation. This might be in person or over the telephone.

If you are in crisis, such as being held in custody, or cannot use the online service, you can call the crisis line for a referral during normal business hours.
Toll-free crisis line: 1-855-947-5255
Toronto area crisis line: 416-947-5255
Website: Law Society of Ontario

Family Court Support Workers
Family Court Support Workers provide support to victims of domestic violence who are involved in the family court process. A Family Court Support Worker:

  • gives information about the family law and court process
  • helps you prepare for family court proceedings
  • refers you to other specialized services and supports in the community
  • helps with safety planning
  • goes to court proceedings with you, where appropriate

A Family Court Support Worker can also help you find a lawyer.
Family Court Support Workers are based in communities across the province. A list of service providers is on the website.
If you have questions about the program, or need help finding your service provider, call the Victim Support Line (VSL).
Toll-free (VSL): 1-888-579-2888
Toronto area (VSL): 416-314-2447
Family Court Support Worker Program

Victim Witness Assistance Program
Call the Victim Support Line (toll-free) at 1-888-579-2888 or 416-314-2447 in the Greater Toronto Area
Provides victim and witnesses of serious crime with information and assistance throughout the court process

Programs and Services of Victims of Crime
416-314-2447 or 1-888-579-2888

  • Assists victims once charges have been laid
  • Provides information about the criminal justice system
  • Provides information on status of adult offenders including parole hearing dates, decisions, escapes and release dates
  • Facilitates registration with the Victim Notification System
  • Refers to victim/witness assistance and other support programs
  • Connects with family court support worker programs

Family Court Support Worker Program
416-314-2447 or 1-888-579-2888

  • Provides information about family court processes
  • Helps victims prepare for family court proceedings
  • Refers victims to specialized services and supports
  • Assists with safety planning including getting to/from court safely

India Rainbow Community Services (Brampton)
905-275-2369