Legal Aid Ontario: Financial Eligibility Criteria

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Legal Aid Ontario: Financial Eligibility Criteria

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) provides low-income people with a range of legal services such as:

  • duty counsel;
  • information, referral, and advice through the toll-free telephone service and from LAO staff in courthouses;
  • summary legal advice;
  • community legal clinics, and;
  • representation by a lawyer through the certificate program.

To qualify for legal aid services, you must be financially eligible, and your legal matter must be one that LAO covers.

The chart below provides a guideline for the income levels needed to qualify for services such as duty counsel assistance, summary legal advice available through our toll-free number and advice through a Family Law Information Centre. Community legal clinics have their own eligibility criteria. Contact a clinic near you to find out more.

Family size Will likely qualify for duty counsel/summary legal advice assistance if gross family income is below:
One person $18,000 $1,500 per month
Two persons

(2 adults or

1 adult and 1 child)

$27,000 $2,250 per month
Three persons

(2 adults and 1 child or

1 adult and 2 children)

$31,000 $2,538 per month
Four persons

(2 adults and 2 children or

1 adult and 3 children )

$37,000 $3,083 per month
Five persons

(2 adults and 3 children or

1 adult and 4 children )

$43,000 $3,583 per month

Note: this chart is for duty counsel and summary legal advice eligibility only.

Legal Aid Certificate program

If you are eligible and face a serious legal matter, you can apply for a free legal aid certificate through our certificate program. A legal aid certificate is a voucher guaranteeing that the private practice lawyer who accepts your case will get paid for providing you with full representation for a certain number of hours.

If you have an income or own property, you may qualify for a certificate with a contribution agreement. This means you will be required to repay LAO some or all of your legal fees.

Who can get a legal aid certificate?

To find out if you’re eligible for a certificate, your legal problem has to be one that is covered by LAO. You will also need to take a financial test to see if your gross income from all sources is within the range of this chart:

Family size Will likely qualify financially for a certificate if annual gross family income falls below: A contribition agreement might be required if annual gross income is within these ranges:
One person $10,800 $10,800 – $12,500
Two persons

(2 adults or

1 adult and 1 child)

$18,684 $18,684 – $22,500
Three persons

(2 adults and 1 child or

1 adult and 2 children)

$21,299 $21,299 – $26,220
Four persons

(2 adults and 2 children or

1 adult and 3 children )

$24,067 $24,067 – $30,120
Five persons

(2 adults and 3 children or

1 adult and 4 children )

$26,714 $26,714 – $33,960
Single boarders

(paying and non-paying)

$7,100 $7,101 – $8,200

What happens if you’re not eligible for the certificate program?

If you are not eligible for LAO’s certificate program, there are other services available. Learn more about community legal clinics, duty counsel, our toll-free number, and family law services. It is possible, in some cases, to appeal LAO’s decision relating to eligibility for the certificate program.

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Author: AllOntario Team

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