Inventory of Government-Based Family Justice Services

Legal Aid Ontario

Province/Territory
Ontario

Type of service
Family Court Services

Services offered
Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) promotes access to justice throughout Ontario by providing high quality legal aid services for low-income individuals.

Legal Aid Ontario provides a variety of services for family matters, including:

  • Toll-free services including summary legal advice, referrals and the processing of certificate applications.
  • Summary Legal Advice.
  • The certificate program which allows eligible clients to retain the services of lawyers in the private bar.
  • Two non-litigation certificates: Separation Agreement Certificates and Independent Legal Advice Certificates, which allow eligible clients to retain the services of lawyers in the private bar to help them address their family law issues using consensual dispute resolution.
  • Advice lawyer services through Family Law Information Centres (FLIC).
  • Mediation services (at select locations) and Settlement Conferences.
  • A variety of services through:
    • Family Law Service Centres in Toronto, Toronto North, Newmarket, Brampton, Windsor, Chatham, Sarnia, Welland, Oshawa, St. Catharines and Halton. Contact information is available at http://www.legalaid.on.ca/en/contact/contact.asp?type=flsc for English or http://www.legalaid.on.ca/fr/contact/contact.asp?type=flsc for French, or by calling 1-800-668-8258.
    • Family Law Offices in Thunder Bay and Kenora;
    • An Integrated Legal Service Office in Ottawa which offers family law services, as well as other types of legal services such as immigration and refugee, income security and landlord tenant law.
    • The Rexico Integrated Service Centre which is co-located within the Rexdale Community Legal Clinic and provides assistance in family, criminal and immigration/refugee law.
    • Scarborough Family Law Services located at 4 Community Legal Clinics (Scarborough, West Scarborough, Flemingdon and East Toronto) and one Community Services Hub (East Scarborough Storefront): provides summary legal advice, document preparation services and limited family court based assistance. Emphasis is on clients impacted by domestic violence.
    • The Halton Legal Service Centre offers a variety of legal services, including the following family law services: document preparation, summary legal advice, and referrals to lawyers and social service agencies.
    • Staff lawyers in Cobourg Sudbury (Sudbury and Manitoulin District), North Bay (Nippissing District), Timmins (Timmins, Chapleau and Cochrane North), Simcoe County and Bracebridge.
    • Community-based legal advice services located in First Nation reserves or at Aboriginal community organizations, including: Wikwemikong First Nation, Auni-Aundek Community Legal Clinic, Sagamok First Nation, Sudbury Native Friendship Centre,Georgian Bay Friendship Centre, Parry Sound Friendship Centre, Wabano Health Centre Ottawa, Six Nations of the Grand River, Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, Native Women's Centre, Saugeen First Nation, Chippewas of Nawash, Oneida Settlement, Munsee Delaware, Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, Tungasuvvingat Inuit, Odawa Friendship Centre, Walpole Island First Nation, Aamjiwnaang First Nation, Kettle and Stony Point First Nation, and CanAm Urban Native Homes Windsor.
    • Community-based summary legal advice clinic offered at certain community legal clinics, community centres and shelters.
  • Family duty counsel: Legal Aid Ontario assists unrepresented individuals in court with matters such as child custody or support and with child protection matters. The type of assistance that can be provided to unrepresented individuals depends on the individual's financial eligibility and local resources. More information is available at: http://www.legalaid.on.ca/en/getting/eligibility.asp for English or http://www.legalaid.on.ca/fr/getting/eligibility.asp for French.
  • Family Law Information Program (FLIP): Legal Aid Ontario has created a free online resource for families, former spouses and partners. The goal of the program is to help individuals make more informed decisions about legal and emotional issues that often arise at the end of a relationship. FLIP can be accessed at: http://legalaid.on.ca/data/hidden/FLIP_en/player.html for English or http://legalaid.on.ca/data/hidden/FLIP_fr/player.html for French.
  • Domestic violence: Through Legal Aid Ontario's Family Violence Authorization Program, individuals experiencing domestic violence can get a two hour consultation with a private lawyer. Referrals to this program are available through shelters and community organizations. LAO family staff lawyer and clinic law services are also available at the Safe Centre of Peel (SCoP) located at the Hon. William G. Davis Centre for Families. SCoP provides holistic wrap around services to clients in association with a number of community and social service agencies. LAO also provides family law services to individuals who have experience domestic violence at the York Region Centre for Community Safety, and provides legal advice to victims of domestic violence at shelters in certain locations.
  • Community legal clinics: Legal help is also available to low-income individuals and disadvantaged communities through independent community legal clinics. More information is available at: http://www.legalaid.on.ca/en/contact/contact.asp?type=cl for English or http://www.legalaid.on.ca/fr/contact/contact.asp?type=cl for French.
  • Student Legal Aid Service Societies: Family law assistance is available at 6 Ontario law schools: the University of Toronto's Downtown Legal Services, Osgoode Hall Law School's Community and Legal Aid Services Program, Queen's University's Queen's Legal Aid, the University of Ottawa's Community Legal Clinic, Western University's Community Legal Services, and the University of Windsor's Community Legal Aid.

Grand Council Treaty #3: LAO funds an alternative dispute resolution program for child protection matters for Treaty #3 communities.

Pilot or ongoing service
Ongoing service

Department responsible
Legal Aid Ontario

How to access this service

  • call Legal Aid Ontario toll-free at 1-800-668-8258
  • visit http://www.legalaid.on.ca

Language(s)
English and French. In addition, LAO’s toll-free number offers services in 200 languages, including 18 Aboriginal languages and dialects, through the use of simultaneous translation services.

Publications/information
Legal Aid Ontario’s website at http://www.legalaid.on.ca. For publications, go to the “Publications & Resources” section on the website.

Brochures available at: http://www.legalaid.on.ca/en/publications/brochures.asp

Costs
Legal Aid Ontario services generally do not cost anything for qualified applicants. Clients who have some money or own property may have to enter a contribution agreement to repay some or all of their legal fees.

Governing legislation/legislative authority
The Legal Aid Services Act, 1998. Available online at http://www.legalaid.on.ca/en/publications/reference.asp

Contact person(s)
Call toll-free at 1-800-668-8258, for information.

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