Ontario Providing Improved Access to Legal Services
Province to Increase Legal Aid Eligibility Threshold on April 1, 2017
Ontario is providing more people with affordable access to legal services by increasing the financial eligibility threshold for legal aid by another six per cent.
Effective April 1, 2017, about 140,000 more people will be eligible to receive the legal services they need, regardless of their ability to pay. This has been made possible by the province's investments in Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) to increase access to legal aid services for low-income and vulnerable people provincewide.
This is part of Ontario's 2014 commitment to expand access to legal aid services provided by LAO to an additional one million Ontarians in ten years. With more than 500,000 additional people who will be eligible for legal aid, Ontario is now more than half-way to this goal.
Improving access to justice is part of the government's plan to keep communities safe and help people in their everyday lives.
- This year, Ontario is investing almost $67 million to help LAO provide legal services in areas such as criminal, family, immigration, mental health and poverty law.
- This is the fourth time that Ontario has boosted the eligibility threshold by six per cent. Previous increases took place on Nov. 1, 2014, April 1, 2015 and April 1, 2016.
- An eligibility threshold is the income level at which people can qualify for legal aid services. Contact LAO to find out if you qualify.
- Ontario has increased LAO’s funding by $153 million over the past four years, which has helped people in the province access: representation for urgent or serious matters; advice about legal rights, obligations and court processes; assistance in the courtroom for bail hearings and sentencing; and local legal services from a community clinic, in areas such as social assistance and housing law.
“Ontario has increased LAO’s funding by $153 million over the past four years in order to increase legal aid services for low-income and vulnerable people across the province. Our plan is focused on putting affordable legal expertise within reach of more low-income people to help level the playing field and increase access to justice. I am pleased that by continuing to increase LAO’s eligibility threshold, 500,000 more people will be eligible for the legal aid services they need.”
“Everyone in Ontario deserves access to justice and now more low-income Ontarians are eligible for legal aid, thanks to the expansion of financial eligibility thresholds. On behalf of Legal Aid Ontario, I want to thank the provincial government for its commitment to make justice more accessible to those who need it.”