Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) - Aide juridique Ontario (AJO) is an independent, publicly funded, and publicly accountable non-profit corporation that administers the province's legal aid program.
Legal Aid Ontario's mandate in the Legal Aid Services Act, 1998 is to "promote access to justice throughout Ontario for low-income individuals by means of providing consistently high quality legal aid services in a cost-effective and efficient manner."
For more information on LAO Services see Services Map > Services by Type > Legal Aid Ontario Services
LAO services, such as helping people to obtain or maintain social assistance benefits - are delivered through a network of a number of independent, community-based legal aid clinics, funded by LAO.
LAO also runs a certificate program through its network of legal aid area offices. Here LAO issues certificates, which low-income people use to retain a private lawyer to represent them in proceedings before the criminal or family courts, certain administrative tribunals or immigration/refugee boards. The certificate is the private lawyer's guarantee of payment from LAO, subject to the rates and limitations set out in the legal aid tariff.
LAO also provide duty counsel services - performed by staff and private-sector lawyers - for people who arrive in criminal, family or youth courts without a lawyer.