Freedom of Information requests
You have the right to ask Legal Aid Ontario for information, via a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, no matter where you live or how old you are.
A Freedom of Information (FOI) request is an official written request for information. Your rights to make this request are covered by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) (which provides individuals with the right to request personal information about themselves as well as general records) and the Legal Aid Services Act, 2020 (LASA 2020) (which allows collection of personal information within the definition of FIPPA to help LAO fulfill its mandate).
As an independent government agency, Legal Aid Ontario is committed to responding to FOI requests in as complete and timely a manner as possible.
You can request any record for information in any form, including:
- print (such as letters or reports)
- film (such as computer tape, microfilm or videotape)
- electronic documents such as emails
- sound recordings such as voicemail.
LAO cannot release:
- case information you are requesting about another current or past LAO client
- court records that deal with legal aid clients
- records containing certain law enforcement information
- records that could prejudice intergovernmental relations
- personal information that could invade the privacy of an individual
- certain records supplied in confidence by a third party
- most labour relations records
How to make a Freedom of Information request
If you need help to determine whether the information you want is available under FIPPA, contact LAO’s Privacy and Information Management Office.
For LAO to process an access request under FIPPA, the requestor must submit the following:
- A clearly-worded, written request for records (download and complete LAO’s Freedom of Information request form).
- A copy of government-issued photo identification (unless incarcerated). Examples of acceptable forms of identification include Driver’s License, Passport, Ontario Health Card, or Ontario Photo Card.
- A mandatory $5.00 application fee submitted by e-transfer to email@example.com, or by cheque or money order payable to Legal Aid Ontario, (in-person payments in cash can be arranged by appointment with PIMO).
Mail should be sent to:
Privacy and Information Management Office (PIMO)
Legal Aid Ontario
20 Dundas St. W., suite 730
Toronto, ON M5G 2H1
LAO will accept the wording and ID by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that using email is an unsecure method of communication and may be intercepted, viewed, changed, or saved by others. By sending us your request, you understand and acknowledge the risks associated with email communication and agree to proceed.
Please note that counsel submitting a request on behalf of a client will not be required to provide the client’s identification, but will require a signed authorization/consent from the client to act on their behalf. A clearly worded request and fee are still mandatory.
A $5.00 application fee is required. For general records requests, additional processing fees may be required.
What happens next
You will receive a written response to your request within 30 days from the date of our receiving your request, copy of identification, and application fee.
You can appeal LAO’s decision to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario within 30 days of receiving it. You will need to fill in and submit an appeal form (or a written letter) to the Information and Privacy Commissioner Registrar within 30 calendar days of receiving LAO’s decision.
Contact LAO’s Privacy and Information Management Office:
Legal Aid Ontario
20 Dundas St. W., Suite 730
Toronto, ON M5G 2H1