Temporary service changes due to COVID-19
Last updated: August 13, 2020
As part of our response to the COVID-19 emergency, all of our office locations, including those in courthouses, are closed until further notice.
We continue to provide legal aid services via telephone only. Call us at:
To help people at high risk during this public health crisis, we’ve made a number of service changes.
Qualifying for legal aid certificates
Free legal advice over the phone
Services for people accused of a crime
Refugee and immigration
Services for people in jail or prison
Social assistance, income support, and employment insurance issues
Tenant and landlord issues
Important notice: Although financial eligibility requirements are temporarily waived for some of our services during the COVID‑19 crisis, LAO will still ask you to provide information about your financial circumstances (e.g., earnings and assets) in order to complete your legal aid application. This financial information will help us to assess and monitor recent service changes; it will not affect your application.
Relief for clients with contribution agreements
To help ease the financial burden that clients may be experiencing due to the COVID‑19 emergency, LAO will provide temporary relief for clients with contribution agreements in place.
The following options are available until further notice:
You may postpone monthly contribution payments in three month increments without a financial reassessment.
For example, if your request is approved in July, you won’t have to make a monthly contribution payment until October. Before your October contribution payment is due, you may request to postpone payment for another three months.
If your contribution agreement with LAO includes a lien in place, you can request any of the following options:
- To have the interest on the existing debt waived in three month increments.
- To have the lien postponed without negotiation, to support re‑financing.
These accommodations are only available to clients who have an existing contribution agreement in place with LAO.
To qualify, you MUST request this temporary relief by calling 1-800-668-8258 Monday to Friday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Help is available in over 300 languages.
Courts and tribunals
Some courthouses have resumed in‑person hearings. Before you go, please check to see if the courthouse you need to go to is open and complete the COVID‑19 courthouse screening assessment. Your result will tell you if you can or cannot enter the courthouse. If you are told you cannot enter, you will get information about what to do next.
The Ontario Court of Justice, the Superior Court of Justice, and the Court of Appeal for Ontario will also continue to hear matters via phone, video conferencing, or in writing (for appeals only) as not all courthouses are open or are restricting entry.
Tribunals Ontario (Social Justice Division) has postponed all in‑person hearings until further notice.
Please visit the website of the court or tribunal scheduled to hear your matter for more information.
Government supports for individuals and families
You may be eligible to receive temporary benefits, including financial help, from the Government of Canada through one or more of their programs for individuals and families affected by the COVID‑19 outbreak. Specific programs are available for Indigenous people, women and children fleeing violence, people experiencing homelessness, seniors, and students.
Charged with a crime that could send you to jail? Going to court without a lawyer? Charged under the Youth Criminal Justice Act?
Abuse is never ok. If you are experiencing domestic abuse, we may be able to provide you with legal advice or representation.
Do you want to separate from your partner? Need to decide custody, support or access? Contacted by Children’s Aid?
Need legal help with a mental health hearing or appeal? Are you being held in a psychiatric facility?
Want to apply for refugee status? Need help completing your Basis of Claim form? Was your refugee claim rejected?
Were you denied Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support? Need help with income supports such as pension? Being evicted?
You can call us at 416‑979‑1446, toll free at 1‑800‑668‑8258 or through Bell Relay service at 1‑800‑855‑0511 from Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.