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Free Legal Advice: Resources

Michael CarabashFree legal advice? Absolutely! There are a number of websites the point Ontarians in the right direction to get free legal advice, services, and information. Many of these services are offered to low-income residents, students, the disadvantaged or alienated segments of society, and certain ethnic groups. These services are largely free to those who qualify and deal with a broad range of legal areas (e.g. landlord and tenant, advocacy and court/tribunal representation, employment, Canada Pension Plan, Ontario Disability, etc.):

  1. Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto: Multi-service legal agency serving Toronto’s Aboriginal community. It offers court cervices, community council, legal clinic, aboriginal persons (gladue) court.
  2. Advocacy Centre for the Elderly: Community based legal clinic for low-income senior citizens.
  3. Advocates for Injured Workers: Student legal clinic supervised by the Industrial Accident Victims Group of Ontario which provides legal services to inured workers.
  4. Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO): Works to better the housing situation of low-income Ontario residents including tenants, co-op members and people who are homeless. ACTO achieves this through: legal representation; lobbying and law reform; housing policy work; community organizing; and, public legal education.
  5. African Canadian Legal Clinic (ACLC): Specialty legal clinic that provides advice and represents African Canadians in all legal forums, particularly in the courts through race-based test cases that are likely to result in significant legal precedents. Besides participating in test cases, the ACLC consults on the African Canadian community’s behalf and submits legislative and policy briefs, and makes oral submissions on several issues.
  6. Chatham-Kent Legal Clinic: Free Legal Clinic offering various legal services to low income residents of Chatham-Kent.
  7. Community Advocacy & Legal Centre: Community legal centre providing free legal advice to low income residents of Hastings, Prince Edward and Lennox and Addington Counties. The clinic is funded by Legal Aid Ontario.
  8. Community Legal Education Ontario: Community legal clinic dedicated to providing low-income and disadvantaged people in Ontario with the legal information they need to understand and exercise their legal rights.
  9. Community Legal Services: Student legal clinic offering free legal advice and representation to the community and to Fanshawe College and the University of Western Ontario. Financial eligibility rules apply. Funded by Legal Aid Ontario. Funded by Legal Aid Ontario, Fanshawe Student’s Council, the University Students Council, and the Faculty of Law.
  10. Community Legal Clinic – Simcoe, Haliburton, Kawartha Lakes is a legal clinic in Ontario that offers client counselling, client representation, public education seminars, law reform and community development.
  11. Community Legal Clinic of York Region: Assistance with housing issues for tenants, Ontario Works, Ontario Disability Support Program, and Employment Insurance matters to residents of the York Region.
  12. Downtown Legal Services: Community legal clinic operated by Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto. Areas of law covered include children’s rights, immigration and refugee, criminal, tenants’ rights, academic offences and appeals. Financial eligibility rules apply. They do not offer assistance with criminal or family law cases.
  13. Durham Community Legal Clinic: Legal clinic offering free legal services to low income residents of Durham Region. They work with individuals, groups, and service providers to improve legal rights and promote access to justice.
  14. Dundurn Community Legal Services: Hamilton’s three community legal clinics, Dundurn Community Legal Services, Hamilton Mountain Legal & Community Services and McQuesten Legal & Community Services, offer a variety of legal services to low income residents of Hamilton. Services are largely free for those who qualify.
  15. Elgin-Oxford Legal Clinic: Legal clinic offering the free legal services in the following areas: landlord-tenant matters, Ontario Works and Ontario Disability, Employment Insurance, Canada Pension Plan, Powers of Attorney, Legal Aid Ontario, representation before courts or tribunals, summary legal advice, and referrals to other agencies who can help.
  16. Flemingdon Community Legal Services: Public legal education, advocacy activities, and free legal assistance to low income people.
  17. Grey-Bruce Community Legal Clinic: Free legal information, advice and representation to low income residents of Grey and Bruce Counties.
  18. Guelph and Wellington County Legal Clinic: Free legal advice to low-income people in Guelph and Wellington County.
  19. Jane Finch Community Legal Services:Provides free, quality, unbiased legal services, including public legal education, law reform and community development to low income residents within the geographic boundaries of the organization
  20. Justice For Youth and Children: A non-profit legal aid clinic that specializes in protecting the rights of those facing conflicts with the legal system, education, social service or mental health systems. The provide summary legal advice, information and assistance to young people, parents (in education matters), professionals and community groups across Ontario.
  21. Keewaytinok Native Legal Services: Community legal clinic for low income people and their organizations in the James and Hudson Bay areas.
  22. Kenora Community Legal Clinic: Provides services to Kenora, Ear Falls, Perrault Falls, Red Lake, Vermilion Bay, Sioux Narrows, Redditt and Minaki, as well as to 13 First Nations in the Kenora District. The Clinic assists low income clients with problems in areas such as housing (eviction or repairs and maintenance), social assistance (Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program), Criminal Injuries Compensation, Canada Pension Plan disability, denial of Employment Insurance benefits, delayed birth certificates, and status applications. We also provide basic advice or direction for a broad range of topics. The Clinic is funded by Legal Aid Ontario and shares office space with the Legal Aid Area Office where legal aid certificates are provided for family and criminal matters.
  23. Legal Line: Provides free legal information to Canadians through its website, telephone and fax-on-demand systems. 1,000 topics are covered within 35 areas of law.
  24. LegalTree: Collaborative legal resource with legal research resources maintained by the site administrators, and legal literature contributed by lawyers in the Canadian legal community.
  25. Legal Aid Ontario: Legal aid provided to low income individuals and disadvantaged communities for a variety of legal problems, including criminal matters, family disputes, immigration and refugee hearings and poverty law issues such as landlord/tenant disputes, disability support and family benefits payments. Financial eligibility rules apply. Their website includes an alphabetical list of legal aid offices and community legal clinics in Ontario.
  26. Lanark, Leeds and Grenville Legal Clinic: Serves low income residents of Lanark, Leeds and Grenville. Free legal service which provides lawyers to advise low income residents of their legal rights and to represent them before government boards and tribunals. Funded by Legal Aid Ontario.
  27. North Peel & Dufferin legal aid clinic: Provides summary legal advice and legal representation for low income people in Brampton, Caledon and Dufferin. Initial advice by telephone. Clients are seen by appointment only. The Clinic assists with problems relating to Ontario Works, Ontario Disability Support Program, Canada Pension Plan, residential tenancies, and some immigration matters (but NOT refugee claims). The Clinic provides legal education seminars in areas of law specialized by the clinic, and participates in law reform and community development efforts. The Clinic DOES NOT provide services in family, refugee or criminal law. Although services are generally free, clients may be asked to reimburse the legal clinic for disbursements (such as payment for medical reports or filing fees).
  28. Ottawa (West End) Legal Services: A community legal clinic that has been serving low income residents, who live in the west end of Ottawa, since 1981. Funded by Legal Aid Ontario.
  29. Parkdale Community Legal Services: A community legal clinic located on Queen Street in the west end of Toronto, Canada. They provide free legal advice, assistance and representation to low income residents living in the Parkdale and Swansea area. Funded by Legal Aid Ontario and Osgoode Hall Law School of York University.
  30. Pro Bono Law Ontario: Law Help Ontario offers court-based self-help centres for unrepresented litigants and online resources for people who cannot afford a lawyer. Offices are located in Toronto.
  31. Queen’s University Legal Aid: Provides legal advice and representation to full-time students at Queen’s University and low-income area residents. Funding comes from Legal Aid Ontario, the Faculty of Law, and Queen’s student activity fees.
  32. Rexdale Community Legal Clinic: Legal services to the low income community of Northern Etobicoke carried out by lawyers and community legal workers, including activities which encourage access to justice.
  33. Ryerson Student Union (RSU): Offers free legal advice to Ryerson Students. RSU’s Lawyer is Bill Reid who holds both an MBA as well as a law degree. Mr. Reid has been practicing law for 14 years, and counselling students in particular for ten. Mr. Reid assists students with the following matters: family and criminal law, debt issues, landlord and tenant conflicts, corporate law, real estate, intellectual property issues, immigration and problems with government agencies.
  34. South Etobicoke Community Legal Services: Not-for-profit charitable organization dedicated to providing free legal services to low-income people in the South Etobicoke area of Toronto, Ontario. Their mission is protecting and promoting the legal welfare of community members by offering services to the community through a network of volunteers and staff members, where language, financial hardship or disability will not act as barriers.
  35. Toronto Justice for Children and Youth: Not-for-profit legal aid clinic that provides select representation to low-income children and youth in Toronto and vicinity. Specializes in protecting the rights of those facing conflicts with the legal system, education, social service or mental health systems. They give give summary legal advice, information and assistance to young people, parents (in education matters), professionals and community groups across Ontario.
  36. University of Ottawa Community Legal Clinic: Provides legal services to low-income people, students, and members of historically disadvantaged groups within the Ottawa community. Services are provided free of charge in both English and French. The Clinic provides public legal education, legal advice, representation at court for a variety of civil, criminal, and tenant-related matters. They also assist women who have been victims of violence obtain compensation, and have a unique aboriginal division with aboriginal law students who provide legal services to members of Ottawa’s aboriginal community.
  37. Volunteer Lawyers Services (VLS): A registered project of Pro Bono Law Ontario that offers free legal support to eligible charitable and not-for-profit organizations in Ontario that otherwise could not afford the services of a lawyer. VLS matches community agencies with volunteer lawyers who can help with a range of services such as incorporation, charitable registration, board governance, contracts, or trademark registrations.
  38. Waterloo Region Community Legal Services: Not-for-Profit organization dedicated to providing legal services to those who meet the criteria for financial eligibility in the Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge area. Their objective is to advocate for justice, particular in support of secure housing and fair and adequate income to supplement or replace wages from employment.

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