Getting legal help

Services for refugee claimants

If you are financially eligible and your matter has merit, LAO may pay to:

  • fill in your Basis of Claim (BOC) and related forms for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada that must be sent to the Refugee Protection Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) to claim refugee status. You will need to provide information on this form about yourself, your family, and why you are claiming refugee protection in Canada.

  • represent you at your Refugee Protection Division (RPD) hearing. This is a special court where you need to go once you have sent in your BOC form and explain why you are claiming refugee status. Learn more about what will happen at a hearing.

  • prepare a written appeal of your case to the Refugee Appeal Division (RAD) if you are turned down for your refugee claim at your RPD hearing. Learn more about the Refugee Appeal Division.

  • prepare a Judicial Review application in the Federal Court. This application is a form you may need to fill in if your appeal has been turned down or you are not eligible to appeal. It asks the court to decide whether or not there has been a legal mistake when the decision was made to turn you down.

  • prepare your motion for a stay of removal in the Federal Court. This type of motion is a request to delay your removal from Canada until the court has made a decision on your judicial review application. You may need it if you face a threat of removal from Canada due to a deportation order, possibly because your refugee claim has not been accepted.

  • represent you at the RPD for a cessation or vacation hearing. The government holds this type of hearing if it is trying to take away your status as a Convention refugee or protected person.

  • help you prepare a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment. This is a written appeal that asks the government to assess the danger you face in your country of origin. You can only make it:

    • while you are still in Canada but facing removal from Canada
    • your refugee claim has been rejected or you are not eligible to appeal at the Refugee Protection Division
  • help you write a danger opinion. You may need this if you were granted Convention refugee or protected person status, but the government is trying to have you removed to your country of origin anyway on the grounds of serious or organized criminality or national security. It is a written opinion that you should not be deported because you are in danger in your own country, or because you present no danger to Canada, or both.

For more information, clients can contact the client service centre at Legal Aid Ontarios toll-free number at 1-800-668-8258 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

The government charges application fees for refugee matters

Even if you are a refugee claimant eligible for legal aid and even if you have a legal aid certificate, you still have to pay Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada application and filing fees for your refugee and immigration matters.

Go to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canadas fee list.

If we cannot help you

If you cannot pay for a lawyer to represent you and we do not provide coverage for your matter, you may be able to get help at your community legal clinic, Student Legal Aid Service Society or, if you live in the Ottawa area, at the Integrated Legal Services Office ‑ Ottawa.

See our Other Resources section for more refugee and immigration law information.

Please note that these are external links and we are not responsible for their content.