Legal Aid Services Act, 2020
The Legal Aid Services Act, 2020 (LASA 2020) was passed into law on July 8, 2020 and came into effect October 18, 2021.
LASA 2020 ushers in a modern approach to the management and administration of legal aid in Ontario. This leap forward is made possible by permitting LAO to make rules on how legal aid is provided (described in s.46 of the new law). Some of these practices were built into the old law (LASA 1998), which meant that the law would have to be changed to allow LAO to update operational processes. This process was slow and difficult; limiting the ability of the legal aid system to keep up with the needs of Ontarians and the technological advances that we have come to take for granted.
The new law maintains several aspects of the original Legal Aid Services Act, which continues to define the purpose of legal aid in Ontario, including:
- LAO’s commitment to access to justice
- LAO’s independence from, but accountability to, the Government of Ontario.
- The areas of law in which LAO provides service (criminal, family, refugee and immigration, and mental health law services).
- That LAO provides high quality legal aid services to low income clients.
- The foundational role of the private bar and clinics.
Learn about the Rules that now form the foundation for how LAO manages legal aid, and support its long-term sustainability.