The Geography of Civil Legal Services in Ontario

The Ontario Civil Legal Needs Project (OCLN) identifies the civic legal needs of Ontario’s low-income and middle-income communities, as well as the distribution of legal service providers. This mapping report is the third and final phase of the OCLN project and describes the civil legal services market in Ontario,identifying how and where lawyers and paralegals work in Ontario. The data are intended to enhance research and policy development. The report examines factors such as age and income of Ontarians, as well as number of lawyers and paralegals in each region, their age, years of practice, and area of law. The authors use these data to assess policy and programs and structure an evaluation process. Legal service providers can cross-reference the population information to the legal information in order to anticipate future issues. The legal data can also allow providers to predict lower access to justice, as the maps show how legal aid funding is allocated across the province. The report also includes a literature review. The data from this third phase of OCLN, used in conjunction with the first two phases, will allow the legal community to collaborate on innovative solutions to improved access for low-income to middle-income Ontarians.