Refugee law services consultations closed

Refugee law services transformation feedback – February 2013

Between Feb. 21 and Mar. 11, 2013, LAO is asking the refugee bar and stakeholders for their feedback on its proposed new refugee law services delivery model. LAO developed this new model in light of Bill C-31 and in consultation with stakeholders over the past few months.

Feedback received from Feb. 21 to March 11 consultations

Feedback received at the Fall 2012 consultations

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is sharing feedback it received from stakeholders on the delivery of LAO’s refugee law services during 13 consultations between November and December, 2012.

Consultation feedback has informed the revised model presented in the tables below. Changes are noted in  green .


View the proposed service model and provide your feedback:


Designated ‘safe’ country


Merit assessment Yes Yes
Public legal information Yes Yes
Summary legal advice Yes Yes
Basis of Claim (BoC) preparation Yes in some cases Yes in most cases
Hearing preparation No in most cases Yes in some cases
Hearing representation No in most cases Yes in some cases
Refugee Appeal Division (RAD) Not available under legislation Yes in some cases
Judicial review No in most cases Yes in some cases
Stay applications No in most cases Yes in some cases
  • All refugee applications for legal aid will be merit assessed to determine level of service
  • Services will be prioritized to ensure BoC funding
  • Hearing representation maybe reserved for complex meritorious cases
  • Fund RAD matters on a pilot basis (Refugee Law Office (RLO)/Ottawa office, certificates) to determine cost and benefit

Service providers

LAO GTA District Office
Screens and streams all refugee service applications for merit and provider

LAO Refugee Law Office Stream meritorious cases of nationals from high acceptance rate countries to Refugee Law Office (e.g. Afghanistan) where Legal Aid Workers (LAWs), licensed paralegals and lawyers will provide cost-effective service.
(Under discussion)
Stream meritorious cases of nationals from countries to a particular linguistic/ethnic clinic (e.g. Metro Chinese, South Asian, Centre francophone, Center for Spanish Speaking Peoples), speciality clinic or general service clinic.
Private bar Stream meritorious cases of nationals from high volume non-designated countries to private bar service contractors (service agreements) to leverage efficiencies.

Block fees to be developed for low volume countries.

Licensed paralegals Stream meritorious cases of nationals from high volume non-designated countries where the acceptance rate is high to licensed paralegal contractors. Supply of licensed refugee paralegals currently limited.
Country streaming will be reasonably applied. Claimants, for instance, who due to the nature of the claim prefer not to be streamed to an ethnic clinic could be streamed to another provider. Likewise, claims may be streamed elsewhere when linguistic clinics are unable to absorb the volume of claims.

Service Providers & Services

Service providers


LAO Refugee Law Office

(under discussion)

Private bar

Licensed paralegals

Public legal information Yes Yes Yes Yes
Summary legal advice Yes Yes Yes Yes
Basis of Claim prep Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hearing prep Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hearing representation Some cases only Yes Yes Yes
Appeal (RAD) RLO, Ottawa District – pilot No Yes – pilot No
Judicial review (JR) Some JRs No Yes No

Potential outcomes of draft refugee services model

  • More efficient, effective intake processes through automation
  • Enhanced merit screening by clear policy framework
  • Service level and service provider identification based on merit, country streaming, client need, and budget
  • Prioritization of BoC preparation
  • Creation of the RLO as “center of excellence”
  • Client access to public legal information and summary legal advice
  • Refugee services by panel of licensed paralegals
  • Innovative payment methods – service contracts, block fees
  • Engagement of linguistic clinics, general service clinics, Student Legal Aid Services Societies (SLASS) and community agencies in service delivery
  • Strengthened refugee services quality through panels, enhanced standards
  • A diversified refugee services delivery model by 2014/15: RLO, clinics, SLASS, private bar, paralegals

Consultation Date

Starts: February 21, 2013 at 12:00am

Ends: March 11, 2013 at 12:00am

Contact Details