Getting legal help



Call LAO toll-free

Legal Aid Ontario’s toll-free number connects low-income Ontarians to legal aid services, assistance and information. It’s available to help people in Ontario:

  • get information about legal aid services
  • learn the legal aid services for which you qualify
  • ask about your legal aid application.

I need to talk to someone about...

Subject

Issue

Who to call

Domestic violence

This is an emergency or you are afraid for your life

  • 911
  • Your local police service

You are experiencing violence or the effects of violence, crisis, and abuse.

Get immediate help by calling the Assaulted Women's Helpline, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Government assistance

Your social assistance (Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program) income has stopped, or you have another social assistance problem.

You have a different government assistance issue.

Go to LAO’s government assistance information page for a list of services and resources.

Finding a lawyer

You have a legal aid certificate.

Go to our find a lawyer page.

You want to be referred to a lawyer.

The Law Society of Upper Canada’s Lawyer Referral Service can give you the name of a lawyer within or near your community for a free consultation of up to 30 minutes. Call 1-800-268-8326 or 416-947-3330 in the Toronto area.

Employment or labour issues

You need to talk to someone about employment law, a union dispute or wrongful dismissal.

The Ontario Labour Relations Board at 1-877-339-3335 or 416-326-7500 in the Toronto area.

Human rights issues

You have experienced discrimination contrary to Ontario's Human Rights Code.

The Human Rights Legal Support Centre at 1-866-625-5179 or 416-597-4900 in the Toronto area.

Personal bankruptcy

You owe money, or someone owes you money.

Call the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada at 1-877-376-9902

Real estate

You have an issue with property.

The Law Society of Upper Canada’s Lawyer Referral Service can give you the name of a real estate lawyer within or near your community for a free consultation of up to 30 minutes. Call 1-800-268-8326 or 416-947-3330 in the Toronto area.

An upcoming court date

You want an update on what will happen.

Duty counsel can help you at the courthouse.

A family matter

You need advice on retaining a lawyer.

Contact an LAO family law office, family law service centre or LAO’s toll-free number at 1-800-668-8258

A refugee matter

You are a refugee or immigrant and need advice related to your status.

Get help in over 200 languages at 1-800-668-8258 toll-free (or 416-979-1446 in Toronto; TTY (Telephone device for the hearing impaired):
Local: (416) 598-8867
Toll free: 1-866-641-8867

Hours: Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

A complaint about the service you’ve received

You want to make a complaint if you’re unhappy with our services, or in some cases, appeal a legal aid decision.

Get online information on making an appeal or complaint.

Legal aid services and information

See a full list of services.

Get legal aid help in over 200 languages at 1-800-668-8258 toll-free (or 416-979-1446 in Toronto; TTY (Telephone device for the hearing impaired):
Local: (416) 598-8867
Toll free: 1-866-641-8867

Hours: Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.


What happens when I call LAO’s toll-free line?

You will hear a recording giving you a number of options to choose from. If you press 4, you will hear Legal Aid Ontario’s financial eligibility criteria.

Most callers will want to stay on the line to speak with a representative. The average wait time to speak with a representative is about three minutes.

The representative may refer you to another legal aid service, such as duty counsel in the courtroom or a staff lawyer who can offer you summary legal advice over the telephone for up to 20 minutes.

The representative may also tell you to apply for legal aid and direct you to a client specialist to take your application. The average wait time for speaking with a client specialist is 10 minutes.


How many people call us?

 

2011/12

2012/13

2013/14

Level 1

280,000

257,778

251,176

Level 2

109,000

100,489

74,902

Summary legal advice: family

23,600

23,498

28,783

Summary legal advice: criminal

11,000

11,071

13,355

SLA Immigration and Refugee

3,000

1,731

2,390

Total

426,600

394,567

370,606

Calls typically begin at Level 1, then may be transferred to Level 2 or summary legal advice. Some calls begin at level 2, and may be transferred to summary legal advice. This data counts a call at each level that receives service. If a call is answered at Level 1, for instance, then transferred to Level 2, it is counted at both.


How long will this process take?

Depending on your legal issue, the call could take three to 45 minutes.


What information should I have with me when I call?

It’s a good idea to have a pen and paper nearby, and any documents related to your legal issue, such as court papers and other notices.


What information do I need if I apply for legal aid over the phone?

You may need to provide information about your finances, such as:

  • your source of income, amount of income and any assets, if you are working
  • if you are working, you may be asked to mail in three or four paystubs
  • if you are self-employed, you may be asked to mail in recent financial statements
  • if you receive assistance from the Ontario Disability Support Program or Ontario Works, your social assistance status, which the client specialist will be able to verify over the phone


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