Free & Affordable Legal Services
Getting Help With Your Family Law Matter During Covid-19
You can speak to an Advice Lawyer over the phone for 20 minutes for free, without having to meet the financial eligibility requirements.
If you have a mediated agreement, you may be able to obtain summary advice on its terms. If you are using our onsite or offsite mediation services, you can get advice on the mediation process and some or all parts of the agreement by leaving a message and a family lawyer will call you back.
For more information about the full range of resources available through Legal Aid Ontario, click here.
For the Financial Eligibility Table, click here.
As of May 17, 2021 people who have no income or who receive Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program payments and who do not own any property can apply for legal aid online at Legal Aid Ontario’s (LAO) website.
Note: LAO will not be returning to physical workplaces on January 4, 2021.
Duty Counsel Virtual Line 416-646-1278
Self represented litigants in court.can speak to Duty Counsel over the phone for free.
Parties with court matters can call to complete an intake to determine eligibility for duty counsel services. They should call at least 48 hours before their next court date.
After leaving a message their call will be returned in one business day.
During this time when the courts are closed except for urgent matters, this new service can help those who don’t have a lawyer. You can have 30 minutes of free legal advice specific to determining whether your matter is urgent. You can call this number and speak with a family lawyer for free for 30 minutes.
The Association of French-Speaking Jurists of Ontario (AJEFO) has a resource called the Ontario Legal Information Centre that gives you 30 minutes with a lawyer over the telephone or in person. Call 1-844-343-7462 to speak with a lawyer about any area of law in English or French. You may have to leave a message, and a lawyer will call you back within 14 days.
In recognition of the current challenges faced by parents and families, Advice and Settlement Counsel (ASC) panel members continue to offer services using non-contact forms of communication such as Zoom technology and by telephone. A list of available panel members can be found here.
Changes to our protocols may include:
- Reviewing and executing retainers, intake forms and other documents through scan, photo and/or email.
- Providing summary advice on family matters.
- Providing summary advice on mediated agreements and back-up documentation that have been provided through an on-line platform.
- Drafting temporary and final proposals to resolve family law issues (including offers to settle).
The first hour of services continues to be billed at a rate of $ 226 (inclusive of hst). Payment can be made by e-transfer or credit card, as agreed to by the client and the lawyer. Payment is required to be made when services are rendered.
Panel members may be prepared to continue the retainer at an agreed upon billing rate, or they can make referrals to the Family Law Limited Scope Project.
Additional services that may be provided include but are not limited to the following:
- drafting urgent motions; and,
- drafting court document for use once the courts return to the usual operations such as: preparing financial statements, drafting Applications and Answers.
For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
A directory of family lawyers offering ‘unbundled’ legal advice and services, generally at affordable rates.
An all-in-one resource for everything family law in Ontario.
Pro Bono Students Canada’s recently launched Family Justice Centre (FJC). PBSC has received support for the FJC by founding partner Epstein Cole LLP, and from Legal Aid Ontario.
The FJC aims to bridge this family justice gap. Through the creation of public legal education resources and regularly held virtual legal clinics, family lawyers in private practice and law students will provide unbundled legal services (summary advice, document preparation, legal education, and legal coaching) to individuals who are unable to afford a lawyer. We invite you to learn more about the FJC by visiting our website.
In response to COVID-19, as an interim measure, with support from the Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Justice, the Law Society has launched an emergency family law referral telephone line to provide assistance to people who are self-represented (SRLs) and who are trying to determine whether or not their family court matter meets the criteria to be heard by the Court on an “urgent” basis and, if so, how to proceed in making their request.
This emergency service will connect SRLs with family lawyers, working on a pro bono basis, who will provide 30 minutes of legal advice specific to determining whether or not their family court matter is urgent and referrals to other available legal services. Additional services may be available from the lawyer on a private retainer basis, from Legal Aid Ontario, from the Law Society Referral Service or the private unbundled family law roster.
To access this service, which will be staffed during business hours, SRLs may contact the Law Society by phone at 1-800-268-7568 or 416-947-3310.
This Handbook is intended as a reference for self-represented family litigants appearing in Canadian courts. While this Handbook cannot anticipate all of the possible situations that may arise, and it is difficult to keep up with changes in the rules and practices of each relevant Court (see Section 17: Resources), it provides a starting point that will assist and guide litigants.
This handbook does not provide legal advice and is not a substitute for the advice that a lawyer may provide. The handbook provides general information only. Certain laws and court procedures are different in each province and territory – Quebec in particular has some distinct laws (e.g. Civil Code of Quebec) and procedures. Moreover, as noted, these changes may be frequent – especially during emergencies. Information in this handbook may not be applicable to your situation.