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Legal Aid Ontario (LAO), an independent agency funded largely by the Province of Ontario, is responsible for the delivery of high quality legal aid services to low-income individuals throughout Ontario. LAO provides legal aid services in a number of areas, including criminal and family matters, and immigration and refugee hearings. Legal aid certificates are issued to eligible individuals, who can then retain a private lawyer of their choice.
LAO also funds 80 independent, community-based legal aid clinics. These clinics provide legal aid services for poverty law matters, such as housing, social assistance, pensions, workers' compensation, and employment insurance.
Duty counsel services may also be available for people facing criminal, family or youth courts without legal representation.
Parties with a small income, or who are receiving social assistance may qualify for legal aid. Legal aid can help pay for some or all of parties' legal costs. Visit Legal Aid Ontario's website for a list of addresses of legal aid offices and clinics throughout the province. The numbers for local legal aid offices are also available in the white pages of telephone books.
The Law Society of Upper Canada offers public legal information, including how to find a lawyer. LSUC also offers a Law Society Referral Service, available by calling 1-800-268-8326. This service will give you the name of a lawyer who will provide a free verbal consultation of up to 30 minutes to help you determine your rights and options.
Public information on legal issues is also available from the following: