For refugee and immigration lawyers


The links below provide useful information for lawyers who represent legal aid clients on refugee and immigration matters.

Interpreter services

  • Legal aid clients experiencing domestic violence are eligible for free interpreter services.

  • 10 community agencies can link people with interpreters through the Ministry of Citizenship Language Interpreter Services program. The government developed this program to help service providers across Ontario communicate with clients who have limited English or French language skills, or are deaf, oral deaf, deafened or hard of hearing, and who are victims of domestic violence, sexual violence or human trafficking.

  • The Caring for kids new to Canada website, created by the Canadian Paediatric Society, includes links to cultural and community agencies that may provide free interpretation for members of their community.

Panel standards

Applicants can work with either:

  • a mentor from LAO’s second chair program for private bar lawyers working on LAO- funded cases
  • an LAO-approved in-firm mentor, who works at the same firm as the applicant, in which case the mentor does not receive financial compensation for mentoring

Manuals and other training materials


LAO has developed introductory refugee law training modules to help LAO staff, clinics, and private practitioners enhance the quality of service they provide to refugee claimants. The Law Society of Upper Canada recognizes completion of these modules for Continuing Professional Development hours.

LAO panel members can access these training materials through LAO LAW. Please log in, go to the menu, and choose “Learning Opportunities.”

There are training seminars on DVD for a nominal cost, also available through LAO LAW.

In addition, LAO offers a full-day orientation session four times a year to support new members of the profession dedicated to offering legal services to Ontario’s most vulnerable communities. This session covers many topics, including:

  • background and a description of the panel standards initiative
  • an overview of LAO, its Second Chair program and other LAO resources available to the private bar
  • the many facets of running a successful refugee law practice
  • billing and tariff manual dos and don’ts
  • tips for working with LAO and practicing refugee law from experienced members of the bar.