Publications & Resources

Refugee law services reform consultation

Publications & Reources

Questions and answers

Here are answers to some common questions about Legal Aid Ontario’s (LAO’s) refugee reform consultations. If you cannot find your question on this page, please submit in the form below.

We will regularly add new questions and answers as we consult with stakeholders.

Q.  Why is LAO undergoing this consultation process?

A.  LAO needs to change its delivery of refugee legal aid services to correspond with the new refugee determination system that will be introduced when the federal government’s Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act comes into force later this year. 

This new legislation creates faster timelines for filing materials and for appearing before the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). It also creates a new Refugee Appeal Division to hear appeals ofnegative Refugee Protection Division decisions and creates different streams of applicants based on the country of origin.

LAO must respond to these faster timelines and new processes by changing the way in which it delivers refugee legal aid services.

Changing the way in which we deliver refugee legal aid services is an important component of LAO’s ongoing modernization strategy, to help ensure quality services for clients, value for taxpayers and streamlined administration. It is also essential to help LAO address current challenges in the delivery of legal aid services for refugees.

To help it design a new delivery model, LAO is seeking input from its major stakeholders and any other interested parties who wish to participate. 


Q.  How will LAO conduct these consultations?

A.  LAO will post its discussion paper, Meeting the challenges of delivering refugee legal aid services, on October 30, 2012. LAO will then conduct in-person consultations with selected stakeholders.  LAO will also arrange live webcast consultations across the province as well as on-line interactive consultations.  Interested individuals and organizations are invited to provide submissions in writing as well.


Q.  With whom is LAO consulting?

A.  LAO will meet with its primary stakeholders – lawyers, organizations of refugee lawyers, the Law Society of Upper Canada and the Ontario Bar Association, the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB), as well as organizations that provide services for refugees. LAO will also conduct consultations with staff across the province, as well as other provincial legal aid organizations.


Q.  Who can submit comments or suggestions on refugee law services to LAO?

A.  All interested persons and organizations can make written submissions and participate in LAO’s webcast and online interactive consultations.

Q.  What is LAO’s timeline?

A.  LAO will post the discussion paper on its website on October 29. It will host in-person consultations with selected primary stakeholders during the week of Nov. 5 and in-person consultations with other stakeholders between Nov. 5 and Dec. 10. Interactive web-based consultations will also be available between Nov. 5 and Dec. 10.


Q.  What is the deadline for making submissions?

A.  LAO will receive submissions until December 10.


Q.  What will LAO do when Bill C-31 comes into force?

A. LAO will reform its delivery of refugee legal aid services over several months, beginning in Dec. The new refugee legislation is expected to come into force before the end of the year, most likely on Dec.15. During the transition to the new refugee services model, LAO will ensure that all eligible clients have access to legal aid services and existing service providers.


Q.  What if the consultations are not over when Bill C-31 comes into force?

A.  LAO will continue to provide legal aid services to eligible clients even if the consultations have not been finished when the new legislation comes into force.


Q.  What does LAO hope to gain from the consultations?

A.  LAO is relying on the expertise of its stakeholders to provide sound advice about the suggestions in the discussion paper, and to offer other solutions that they believe will provide high quality, cost-effective delivery of refugee legal aid services.


Q.  What impact will the new legislation have on the changes to legal aid coverage that LAO made in September?

A.  LAO will honour all certificates issued prior to the new legislation coming into force, for all services covered.

Have a question about refugee reform?


If you cannot find your question about refugee reform  on this page, please submit it in the form below. We will try to answer you within two business days.
If you would like to be notified once LAO has posted an answer to your question, please include your email in the form. LAO reserves the right to withhold questions from publication online.

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