Legal Aid is available in every province and territory in Canada.
It offers support to low-income and disadvantaged individuals and families in legal trouble. Legal Aid clients are issued certificates that can be used to obtain services from affiliated local lawyers.
How to Apply for Legal Aid
Call your local Legal Aid office to find out whether they meet with clients by appointment or on a first-come first-served basis. When you meet with a Legal Aid worker you’ll need to present the following
- ID such as social insurance(SIN) card, driver’s license, birth certificate or landed immigrant papers.
- Any documents relating to you case including court orders, separation agreements, etc.
- Proof of income in the form of pay or welfare cheque stubs.
- Proof of expenses in the form of receipts, mortgage, hydro bills, car payments, etc.
- House deed
Can Legal Aid Be Refused?
If you do not supply your worker with all the documents required, or fail to notify them of any changes in your financial status that may affect eligibility, Legal Aid may be withheld, suspended or revoked. Your worker will assess your financial situation including income, assets, liquid assets and the finances of your family members. If you are refused Legal Aid you may appeal the decision.
Do I Have to Repay Legal Aid?
This depends on your financial situation. Legal Aid is generally free but clients who own houses or have some source of income are often put on a manageable plan and required to make small, interest-free payments.
What Does Legal Aid Cover?
This differs from province to province but Legal Aid generally covers criminal and civil matters including immigration and refugee hearings, child welfare and divorce hearings, wills and estates, RRSP or pension negotiation, human rights issues, landlord/tenant disputes, disability support, family benefits payments and mental health hearings.
What Does Legal Aid Not Cover?
Legal Aid may not cover such issues as wrongful dismissal, real estate, libel, defamation, slander, sponsorship of relatives, personal bankruptcy, parking infractions, power of attorney, change of name and commercial litigation.