New summary advice service and priority call system established at LAO

Posted on: Thursday, August 26, 2010

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) continues to enhance its toll-free service by offering summary legal advice for clients with criminal law matters, a priority call system for vulnerable clients and toll-free access for out-of-province callers.

Enhanced summary legal advice services

LAO’s new summary legal advice service for criminal law matters is an expansion of LAO’s existing summary legal advice service which has been helping clients with family law matters since August 2009.

The criminal summary legal advice service, which offers up to 20 minutes of one-on-one legal advice, has been popular with our clients. In July 2010, legal aid staff lawyers provided 95 assists to clients with criminal matters, as well as 84 assists to clients with family law matters.

Priority assistance for vulnerable clients

To ensure that clients in emergency situations can get legal help faster, LAO has improved domestic violence training for its telephone client service staff, and established a priority system to reduce wait times for vulnerable clients.

To improve service for French-speaking Ontarians, LAO has established a separate queue to provide toll-free services in French. Wait times for Francophone clients will therefore be reduced, allowing them to get the service that they need, faster.

Access for out-of-province callers

LAO has made it easier for out-of-province clients to contact us. LAO services can now be accessed from outside Ontario by simply calling us collect on our local number (416-979-1446).

LAO continues to offer assistance to record numbers of legal aid clients through its toll-free number. In July 2010, LAO representatives answered over 21,000 calls. To meet this demand, additional client service representatives have been hired and LAO now has a total of 65 staff providing assistance over the phone each day.