Details on Legal Aid Ontario's financial eligibility increase for 2019

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

On April 1, 2019, Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) 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 Ontarians with publicly funded legal representation. A certificate guarantees that a lawyer will be paid for representing a legal aid client for a certain number of hours.

The financial threshold for a single applicant without dependents is increasing from the current $16,728 in gross annual income to $17,731 in gross annual income.

Certificate eligibility thresholds

Number of family members The amount of money your family earns in a year For domestic abuse cases
1 $17,731 $22,720
2 $31,917 $32,131
3 $37,194 $39,352
4 $42,726 $45,440
5+ $48,173 $50,803
Single boarder $11,632  

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 preparing court documents to be filed

For this program, the financial threshold for a single applicant without dependents remains at $22,720 in gross annual income.

Duty counsel eligibility thresholds

You will likely qualify if your annual gross family income is lower than:

Number of family members The amount of money your family earns in a year
1 $22,720
2 $32,131
3 $39,352
4 $45,440
5+ $50,803

Financial eligibility for Legal Aid Ontario services, April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020

Clinic services

Legal Aid Ontario also funds 73 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.

The financial threshold for a single applicant without dependents is increasing from the current $21,144 in gross annual income to $22,413 in gross annual income.

Guidelines for 2019

Family size Annual gross income
1 $22,413
2 $25,959
3 $30,356
4 $32,839
5 $36,243
6 $38,867
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