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Legal Aid Ontario: What is it and How can it help you?
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Legal Aid Ontario: What is it and How can it help you?


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In this webinar recorded on August 12, 2009, for, Claudia Belda describes Legal Aid Ontario's services, what they cover, who is eligible, and how to apply. Claudia Belda is a lawyer and the …

In this webinar recorded on August 12, 2009, for, Claudia Belda describes Legal Aid Ontario's services, what they cover, who is eligible, and how to apply. Claudia Belda is a lawyer and the Public Legal Education Coordinator at Nishnawbe-Aski Legal Services Corporation, providing legal information to the 49 First Nations communities that make up Nishnawbe-Aski Nation.

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  • 1. To view this presentation as a webinar with sound visit CLEONet is a web site of legal information for community workers and advocates who work with low-income and disadvantaged communities in Ontario.
  • 2. Nishnawbe-Aski Legal Services Corporation LEGAL AID ONTARIO What is it and How can it help you?
  • 3. What is Legal Aid?
    • It is an independent but publicly funded non-profit corporation.
    • It helps people who need access to justice resources but don’t have the money to pay for a lawyer.
  • 4. The Legal Aid Ontario Programs
    • Certificate Program
    • Poverty Law Services
    • Duty Counsel Services
  • 5. Where can you access LAO services?
    • The Legal Aid Office closest to you
    • NALSC
    • Community Legal workers
  • 6. NALSC and Legal Aid Ontario What services can we provide for you?
    • Specialty clinics
    • Community Legal Workers
    • Duty Counsel lawyers
  • 7. Duty Counsel/Advice lawyers
    • Can advise you of your rights and how to protect them
    • Help clear up any questions you might have about the court process
    • Assist you to prepare forms and in some motions and hearings
    • Help you apply for an adjournment, bail or diversion.
  • 8. Legal Aid Certificates
    • Cases that are covered
        • Criminal
        • Family
        • Immigration and Refugee matters
        • Limited civil cases
  • 9. Criminal Matters
    • Offence must be likely to result in jail time
        • Likely is offence was committed while on probation or in jail
        • Previous criminal conviction or related similar offences
        • Other relevant or aggravating circumstances present when the offence took place.
        • Sentencing principles
        • Outstanding chaarges
  • 10. Examples of Offences that may be covered
    • Manslaughter
    • Assault
    • Sexual assault
    • Arson
    • Breach of probation
    • Careless use of a firearm
    • Breaking and entering
    • And more
  • 11. Family Law Matters
    • Usually covers cases where child custody, access and support is in question, and in cases of family violence or abuse. More specifically:
        • Custody of your children
        • Dealing with Children’s Aid Societies
        • Access to your children
        • Setting up child or spousal support payments
        • Restraining orders against your partner
        • And more.
  • 12. What is not covered by Legal Aid?
    • Wrongful dismissal
    • Change of name
    • Personal Bankruptcy
    • Powers of Attorney
    • Money you lent or owe others
    • Commercial Litigation
    • Libel, defamation and slander
    • Adoption
    • Real Estate matters
  • 13. How to apply for Legal Aid
    • Fill out application (why you need a lawyer and why you cannot afford one)
    • Fill out Financial Assessment
  • 14. Financial Eligibility
    • Takes into account person applying and his or her family.
    • There are two tests:
        • The Asset test
        • The Income test
  • 15. What documents do you need when you apply for Legal Aid?
    • I.D.
    • All documents related to your case
    • Proof of your income
    • Proof of any assets, money or saving you may have
    • Proof of monthly expenses and bills
    • Proof of any unusual expenses such as medical costs.
    • If you are receiving support from another person then you need their financial information.
    • Your information will remain confidential
  • 16. What happens after the eligibility tests are done?
    • You may be granted an application
        • Free of contribution
        • With a contribution to your fees
    • You may be refused because:
        • You didn’t provide the required financial information
        • Did not sign a payment or lien agreement with LAO
        • You were deemed to be able to afford the cost of legal services
        • You defaulted on a previous agreement
        • You applied for a certificate for the same matter and failed
        • Jail is not probable
        • Your matter is not covered by LAO
  • 17. What can you do if you disagree with the decision?
    • If you have been refused legal aid or got legal aid but do not agree with the terms of repayments or don’t think you can afford it, you can:
          • Appeal the decision to the Area Committee.
          • Reapply if there is a change to your financial situation.
  • 18. Where can you go for help?
    • Call Nishnawbe-Aski Legal Services at 1-800-465-5581.
    • Contact your local Community Legal Workers.
    • Contact the LAO provincial office at 1-866-297-5559.