Details on Legal Aid Ontario's financial eligibility increase for 2018

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

On April 1, 2018, Legal Aid Ontario is raising the eligibility threshold by six per cent for its certificate program and for clinic law services.

LAO implemented the first of multiple six per cent increases on Nov. 1, 2014.

Certificate program

The certificate program provides eligible, low income Ontarians publicly funded legal representation. A certificate is a voucher guaranteeing that the lawyer will get paid for representing the legal aid client for a certain number of hours.

Certificates are only for the most serious legal matters, which may include:

  • criminal charges where a jail sentence is likely
  • serious family problems such as child protection issues
  • immigration and refugee matters

The financial threshold for a single applicant without dependents is rising from the current $13,635 in gross annual income to $14,453 in gross annual income.

Certificate eligibility thresholds

Number of family members You will likely qualify if your annual gross income is lower than this column. If it is higher, move to the next column. Monthly payments may be required if your annual gross family income is higher than the previous column, but not higher than this column. For domestic violence, gross family income must be lower than this figure.
1 $14,453 $16,728 $22,720
2 $25,003 $30,110 $32,131
3 $28,503 $35,088 $39,352
4 $32,207 $40,307 $45,440
5+ $35,749 $45,446 $50,803
Single boarder $9,501 $10,973  

Duty counsel services

The duty counsel program provides legal services in criminal, family law and child protection court cases to low-income Ontarians who do not have a lawyer.

These services include:

  • giving advice about legal rights, obligations and the court process
  • providing assistance in the courtroom for bail hearings and sentencing
  • assisting with diversion, guilty pleas and adjournments
  • reviewing or prepare court documents to be filed

Duty counsel eligibility thresholds

You will likely qualify if your annual gross family income is not higher than:

Number of family members Income must not be higher than
1 $22,720
2 $32,131
3 $39,352
4 $45,440
5+ $50,803

Financial eligibility for Legal Aid Ontario services, April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019

Clinic services

Legal Aid Ontario also funds 74 community clinics and seven university-based clinics (student legal aid services societies) located throughout the province. These organizations employ lawyers, legal workers, paralegals, volunteer law students, and administrative staff, to provide information, legal advice and representation.

Community legal clinics have some discretion in applying these financial eligibility guidelines under certain circumstances.

Guidelines for 2018 in the case of a one-adult family

Family size Annual gross income
1 $21,144
2 $24,490
3 $28,638
4 $30,980
5 $34,192
6 $36,667
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