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You and the law - Community Legal Information on the Web

The following is a compilation of links to legal and government information available free of charge on the Internet. This list is intended primarily for residents of Ontario. Although every effort is made to link to reliable sources, we cannot guarantee the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of any information provided. The list is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice. If you have a serious legal problem, please consult a lawyer.

Links to General or Comprehensive Sources of Legal Information

Canadian Legal FAQs
A series of answers to frequently asked legal questions, developed by the Legal Studies Program at the University of Alberta.

Community Legal Information Ontario
CLEO is a community legal clinic that produces plain-language legal information. Topics include social assistance, landlord and tenant law, refugee and immigration law, workers' compensation, women's issues, family law, employment insurance and human rights.

Duhaime's Law Dictionary
Provides plain language legal definitions.

Legal Line
Legal Information Ontario provides general information on Federal and Ontario laws for 870 topics in 28 different areas of law from.

Government Forms and Information

Ontario

Federal

Citzenship, Immigration and Emigration

Citizenship Services
(from Citizenship and Immigration Canada)
This site provides information about the rights and obligations of Canadian citizenship. It includes information about citizenship requirements, legislation and links to citizenship application kits.

Immigration Services
(from Citizenship and Immigration Canada)
Information to help newcomers adapt to the Canadian culture, language and climate.

Application Forms and Kits
(from Citizenship and Immigration Canada) (PDF files)
Most of the applications you will need for immigration and citizenship services are available on this site.

International Adoption and the Immigration Process
(from Citizenship and Immigration Canada)
A guide to the process of international adoption and the entry of adoptive children into Canada.

Settlement.org: Welcome to Ontario
This web site will provide much of the important information that someone would need if he or she were moving to Ontario. Information is provided in the following areas: immigration and citizenship, consumer information, education, employment, health, housing, language and literacy, legal information and human rights, and social services. The relevant government forms can be retrieved from this web site.

Lesbian and Gay Immigration Task Force
The Lesbian and Gay Immigration Task Force is a national organisation that offers information, experience and support for same-sex couples who are in the process of immigrating to Canada.

TN Visas: Professionals Under NAFTA
(from the U.S. Department of State)
This web site provides information on how Canadian professionals can work in the United States. This site provides a list of the occupations that qualify as professional.

Human Rights Commissions

Canadian Human Rights Commission
This web site explains the role of the Canadian Human Rights Commission and how the Canadian Human Rights Act is applied. There is a section on this site about resolving complaints. Contact information in each province is available on this site.

Ontario Human Rights Commission
The OHRC administers the Ontario Human Rights Code, investigates complaints of discrimination and harassment and settles complaints between parties.

Justice and the Court System

General

Court Addresses in Ontario
(from the Ministry of the Attorney General Ontario) Find the address of any court in Ontario.

Canadian Justice System
(from the Department of Justice Canada)
This web site is a guide to Canada's justice and court systems, it also includes an quick access to primary federal legal information (statutes and associated regulations), including Constitutional documents.

Criminal Matters

Find a Criminal Lawyer
(from the Criminal Lawyers' Association)
This site provides names and contact details for members of the Criminal Lawyers' Association. The information is searchable by city, region or name.

Firstline Criminal Law Information

A Free Criminal Law and Procedure Handbook by Martin F. Allen, Criminal Defence Lawyer. The pages on this site give information useful to anyone who is either facing a criminal charge in Canada and does not have a lawyer, or who just has a general interest in how the Canadian criminal process works. It includes links to other sources of criminal law information, including lawyers.

Rules of the Ontario Court of Justice in Criminal Proceedings and Forms
(from the Criminal Lawyers' Association)

Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted (AIDWYC)
This is a public interest organisation dedicated to preventing and rectifying wrongful convictions. This voluntary non-profit organisation carries two main objectives: first, to reduce the likelihood of future miscarriages of justice and, second, to review and, where warranted, attempt to overturn wrongful convictions. AIDWYC works for the victims of miscarriages of justice through public education, case by case advocacy and legislative reform initiatives.

Small Claims Court

Small Claims Court Guides to Procedures
(from the Ministry of the Attorney General Ontario) (also available as PDF files)
A guides that take you through the Small Claims Court process and explains how the system works.

Small Claims Court Forms
(From the Ministry of the Attorney General Ontario) (also available as PDF file)

The Parental Responsibility Act
(from the Ministry of the Attorney General Ontario) (PDF file)
A pamphlet explaining The Parental Responsibility Act and how to recover in Small Claims Court for property damage caused by youth.

Young Offenders Act

Young Offenders Act: Parents Page
Includes information for parents with children charged under the Young Offenders Act. Includes an emergency summary of a child's rights. From Stephen R. Biss Barrister and Solicitor.

Jury Duty

Frequently Asked Questions About Jury Duty
(from the Ministry of the Attorney General Ontario Court Services Division)

Victims/Witnesses

Victim/Witness Programmes And Services
(from the Ministry of the Attorney General Ontario)
This web site provides links that will assist victims and witnesses with their experiences and help them understand the role they play in the criminal justice system. Includes links to:

  • An Act Respecting Victims of Crime:
  • Victims' Bill of Rights, 1995
  • Victim/Witness Assistance Programme: V/WAP
  • Victims' Crisis Assistance and Referral Service: VCARS
  • Victim Support Line: VSL (formerly Automated Victim Notification System)
  • Designated Domestic Assault and Sexual Assault Coordinators
  • Emergency Legal Advice
  • Criminal Injuries Compensation Board

Motor Vehicles and Driving

Buying and Selling a Used Vehicle in Ontario
(from the Ministry of Transportation Ontario)
Everything you need to know about buying a selling a used car in Ontario. Includes general advice, step-by-step instructions, checklists and forms.

Suing an Uninsured or Unidentified Motorist
(from the Financial Services Commission of Ontario)
Provides information on using the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund for judgments against uninsured or unidentified motorists as specifically provided for in the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Act.

Drivers and Vehicles
(from the Ministry of Transportation Ontario)
This web site contains important information about driving in Ontario including information on driver and vehicle licensing as well as other information such as how to obtain or replace a Disabled Person Parking Permit.

Canadian Motor Vehicle Arbitration Plan (CAMVAP)
At CAMVAP, consumers have an opportunity to bring disputes with vehicle manufacturers about alleged manufacturing defects or implementation of the manufacturers' new vehicle warranty before an arbitrator for resolution.

Facts about Automobile Accident Injury Claims (from Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists)
A factsheet prepared for ARC by an insurance claims adjuster.

Power of Attorney and Substitute Decisions

Power of Attorney Kit
(from the Ministry of the Attorney General Ontario, Office Of The Public Guardian And Trustee) (PDF file)

An Introduction to Powers of Attorney in Canada
(From Duhaime's Canadian Family Law Centre)

Guide to the Substitute Decisions Act
(From the Ministry of the Attorney General Ontario, Office Of The Public Guardian And Trustee) (available as PDF file)

Specialty Legal Clinics and Advocacy

HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario (HALCO)
HALCO aims to help people who are living with HIV and AIDS with their unique legal problems. Representation is free and is available to those who meet eligibility guidelines and whose legal problem falls within specific areas of practice (list available on the web site). Free summary advice is available from this clinic regardless of financial eligibility.

Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto
The ALST is a multi-service legal agency serving Toronto's Aboriginal community. ALST provides court services in Adult, Family, and Young Offender courts as well as a legal aid clinic that provides free legal assistance to low income Aboriginal people living in Toronto. ALST also provides a Community Council (a criminal diversion program for adult Aboriginal offenders who live in Toronto). The Community Council takes Aboriginal offenders out of the criminal justice system and brings them before members of the Aboriginal community.

African Canadian Legal Clinic
The ACLC provides advice and representation to African Canadians in all legal forums, especially race-based test case litigation, which are likely to result in significant legal precedence. Among its many services, the ACLC maintains a library and resource centre, publishes a newsletter, provides summary legal advice, and writes manuals.

Centre for Spanish Speaking Peoples
The Centre for Spanish-Speaking Peoples offers programs including language orientation and legal counselling, as well as other services such as a youth program, an AIDS program, and a women's program.

ARCH Disability Law Centre
ARCH is a legal clinic that represents the interests of persons with disabilities in precedent setting case. Public legal education is also available at ARCH. All other people will be referred elsewhere.

Advocacy Centre for the Elderly (ACE)
A legal clinic for low-income senior citizens. ACE may represent senior citizens on legal issues that are particularly important to seniors. The service is free for those that meet the eligibility requirements.

Protecting Mentally Incapable People
(from the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario, Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee)
The Public Guardian and Trustee protects the interests of incapable people by making important decisions for them when there is no one else who is willing or able to do so. The Public Guardian and Trustee can help by investigating allegations of abuse or neglect of an incapable person may take steps to get legal authority to make decisions for the person in order to prevent abuse or neglect.

Travel

The Canadian Passport Office
This site includes information on how to obtain a passport, replace a lost or stolen passport, Canadian passport specificationsprintable passport forms or on-line passport applications.

Passport Freqently Asked Questions
Information about travel documents for refugees and stateless persons and guidelines to follow to receive these documents

Travel Reports and Warnings
(from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada)
Provides information on dangerous situations as well as other useful information for people who plan to travel abroad.

Directory of Canadian Government Offices Abroad
(from Consular Affairs Canada)
Identifies where to seek consular assistance in each country with addresses, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses.

Bon Voyage But.....
Information for the Canadian Traveller (from Consular Affairs Canada)
[PDF file] [HTML file]

Shopping for Travel Medical Insurance
(from Financial Services Commission of Ontario)
A guide for people who travel outside of Canada and would like to look into purchasing travel health insurance.

Out-of-Province and Out-of-Country Claim Submission Form
(from the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care Ontario)(PDF File)

You and Your Family

General

What you should know about Family Law in Ontario
(from the Ministry of the Attorney General Ontario) (PDF file)
A booklet with an overview of many different aspects of family law in Ontario. Included is information regarding the laws that can affect you, your spouse/partner, and your children if you chose to separate. Also included is information about how to go about obtaining a divorce and which courts should be approached. The booklet includes information about both marriage and common law partnerships.

Family Law Rules
Rules that apply to all family law cases in the Family Court of the Superior Court of Justice and in the Ontario Court of Justice.

Ontario Family Court Locations

Superior Court of Justice - Family Court Branch Ontario Court of Justice - Court Forms
These forms are valid only in the Superior Court of Justice Family Court Branch locations and in the Ontario Court of Justice.

Family Justice Programs and Services
(from the Ministry of the Attorney General Ontario)

Adoption

Adoption Services
(from the Ministry of Social Services Ontario)
The Adoption Services Web site provides links to a series of pamphlets. adoption forms and "Today's Child".

How to adopt a child in Ontario
(from the Ministry of Social Services Ontario)
This page provides comprehensive information on adoption through a children's aid society, through a licensee, or through a licensed international adoption agency.

International Adoption and the Immigration Process
(from Citizenship and Immigration Canada)
A guide to the process of international adoption and the entry of adoptive children into Canada.

Advocacy for Children

The Children's Lawyer
"The Office of the Children's Lawyer is a law office in the Ministry of the Attorney General which delivers programs in the administration of justice on behalf of children under the age of 18 with respect to their personal and property rights. Lawyers within the office represent children in various areas of law including child custody and access disputes, child protection proceedings, estate matters and civil litigation. Social workers prepare reports for the court in custody/access proceedings and may assist lawyers who are representing children in such matters."

Justice For Children and Youth
Justice for Children and Youth provides legal representation to low-income children and youth in Toronto and vicinity. Staff give summary legal advice, information and assistance to young people, parents (in education matters), professionals and community groups across Ontario. The web site provides information on family issues, leaving home, school, The Young Offenders Act, corporal punishment and other information dealing with minors' rights in court and with the police. Ask a lawyer a question on-line (from Justice for Children and Youth)

Custody/Access

Canadian Custody and Access Provisions
(from the Department of Justice Canada)
A legislative comparison offers a basic summary of Canadian legislation pertaining to custody and access.

The Supervised Access Programme
(from the Ministry of the Attorney General Ontario)
This site describes and explains the Supervised Access Programme which provides a safe and secure setting where visits and exchanges can take place under the supervision of trained staff and volunteers.

Divorce

Divorce
(From Duhaime's Canadian Family Law Centre)
General information on divorce and the procedure involved.

Divorce Law: Questions and Answers
(from the Department of Justice Canada)
This booklet gives basic information about divorce law in Canada. It also provides suggestions about where to find more information. Available as a PDF file

Getting Divorced
(from Community Legal Education Ontario)

What happens next? Information for kids about separation and divorce
(from the Department of Justice Canada)
Provides some basic facts about family law and gives children between the ages of nine and twelve years old an idea of the processes that their parents may go through when they split up. In addition the booklet attempts to help children realize that it's normal for them to have an emotional response to the divorce of their parents.

Where Do I Stand?: A Child's Guide to Separation and Divorce
(from the Ministry of the Attorney General Ontario) (PDF file)
This is a pamphlet about the law and does not address a child's emotions that may result from separation or divorce (the phamplet does include suggestions for books for dealing with how children might feel when their parents separate or divorce).This pamphlet discusses issues of custody, parental access, a parent's new partner, as well as places to go for help.

Family Property

Canadian Matrimonial Property Law - A Primer
(From Duhaime's Canadian Family Law Centre)

Marriage/Common Law Partnerships

About Marriage in Canada
(From Duhaime's Canadian Family Law Centre)

Marriage Licence Application - form (PDF file)

Cohabitation: The Law Of Living Together in Canada
(From Duhaime's Canadian Family Law Centre)

Living Together: Opposite-Sex and Same-Sex
Common-Law Relationships

(from Community Legal Education Ontario)

Support

Federal Child Support Guidelines: Step by Step
(from the Department of Justice Canada)
Provides worksheets and step-by-step instructions that will assist in
estimating what an appropriate amount of child support would likely
be in any given situation.

Child Support Guidelines: What Ontario Families Need to Know
(from the Ministry of the Attorney General Ontario)

The Family Responsibility Office
(from the Ministry of Community and Social Services Ontario)
The Family Responsibilty Office processes child and spousal support payments to help ensure that support gets paid on a regular basis.

Wills and Estates

How to Make Claim as an Heir
(from the Ministry of the Attorney General, Office Of The Public Guardian And Trustee Ontario)
A Guide for Lawyers and Families

You and Your Job

Employment Insurance

Employment Insurance
(from Service Canada)
This web site provides links that will tell you how to apply for Employment Insurance, how to appeal a decision regarding your claim, as well as other useful information regarding Employment Insurance in Canada.

Employment Standards

Employment Standards Act
(from the Ministry of Labour Ontario)
The Employment Standards Act establishes minimum terms and conditions of employment called employment standards. It sets out rules on such things as hours of work and overtime pay, vacations with pay, pregnancy leave and parental leave.

Includes:

Labour Relations

Ontario Labour Relations Board
The Ontario Labour Relations Board mediates and adjudicates a variety of employment and labour relations-related matters under a number of Ontario statutes. The site includes "Decisions of Interest" as well as information on making an application

Workplace Injuries

Office of the Worker Adviser
(from the Ministry of Labour Ontario)
The Office of the Worker Adviser represents non-unionized injured workers at the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) and at the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal (WSIAT). This site also provides fact sheets on various aspects of workplace insurance in Ontario.

Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board
Commonly used forms can be filled out electronically at this web site. This site is also for workers who want to know how to make a claim or what benefits and services are available, or for employers who want a quick estimate of next year's premium and help in reducing costs through prevention.

Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal
The Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal is the final level of appeal to which workers and employers may bring disputes concerning workplace safety and insurance matters in Ontario. The Appeals Tribunal is separate from and independent of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. This web site explains when a worker can appeal a decision and how the appeal is to be brought. The Notice of Appeal Form can be downloaded from this site in PDF or Word Format.

Information on Worker's Compensation
(from Community Legal Education Ontario)
Includes:

  • Benefits if you were injured between January 2, 1990 and December 31, 1997
  • Benefits if you were injured on or after January 1, 1998
  • Benefits if you were injured on or before January 1, 1990
  • Getting your job back after an injury
  • How to make a claim
  • When to make a claim
  • Your health care
  • Your legal responsibilities
  • Your right to appeal

You and Your Health

Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP)
Includes information about Health Cards.

Registration for OHIP form

Shopping for Travel Medical Insurance
(from Financial Services Commission of Ontario)
A guide for people who travel outside of Canada and would like to look into purchasing travel health insurance.

Out-of-Province and Out-of-Country Claim Submission form
(from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care) (PDF File)

Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons Information for the Public
Includes fact sheets, a complaint form and Discipline Committee Decisions.

You and Your Home

Home Ownership

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
Information, resources and services for those buying or renting a home.

TARION Warranty Corporation (Formerly Ontario New Home Warranty Program)
This site provides information about your rights as a new home buyer. It includes a link to legislation and regulations.

Mortgage Wise: A Guide for Home Buyers
(from the Canadian Bankers Association)
A guide to help people make informed decisions about home partnership. This guide will also help people when they are making the decision to buy, trying to find the right home, or just looking for details of a mortgage.

Housing Rights

Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation
The Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA) promotes human rights in housing and works to remove the barriers that keep disadvantaged individuals and families from accessing and retaining the housing they need.

Landlord and Tenant

Tenants' Rights under Ontario's Human Rights Code
(from the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation)

Landlord's Self-Help Centre
Landlord's Self-Help Centre provides information, assistance and educational programs to Ontario's small scale landlords free of charge.

Landlord and Tenant Board
The Landlord and Tenant was established to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants and to provide information about the Residential Tenancies Act. This web site provides a link to the legislation as well as links to the application forms for landlords and tenants. Other links on this web site provide further information about the Residential Tenancies Act.

Information on Landlord and Tenant Law
(from Community Legal Education Ontario)
Includes links to a variety of pamphlets in PDF Format

  • Maintenance and repairs
  • Moving out
  • Rent increases
  • What tenants need to know about the law
  • Fighting an Eviction

Subsidized Housing

Housing Connections
Provides information on applying for subsidized housing in Toronto. This site includes a link to an application form.

You and Your Lawyer

Finding a Lawyer

Lawyer Referral Service
(from the Law Society of Upper Canada)
The Lawyer Referral Service will provide the name of a lawyer who will be able to help you. Telephone referral service is available from 9 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday Call 1-800-268-8326 or 416-947-3330 (within the GTA). You will be referred to a lawyer who will provide a free half-hour consultation before you decide whether you would like to hire that lawyer to work for you. The web site will walk you through the appropriate procedure to be followed.

Finding Legal Help in Ontario
A guide prepared by the Bora Laskin Law Library to assist people to find a lawyer or other legal support to help resolve legal problems.

Community Legal Clinics
Legal Aid Ontario provides a list of general services clinics, which provide representation and advice to people with problems related to landlord tenant disputes, workers' compensation, Employment Insurance, social assistance, Canada Pension Plan, refugee and immigration law, employment law and human rights, as well as a list of specialty clinics.

Find a Criminal Lawyer
This site provides names and contact details from members of the Criminal Lawyer's Association. The information is searchable by city, region or name

Obtaining Legal Aid

Am I eligible for legal Aid and other questions relating to legal aid services from Legal Aid Ontario

Solving Problems with your Lawyer

Is Your Lawyer's Bill Too High?
(from the Law Society of Upper Canada)
This web site provides the steps to follow if you believe that your lawyer has charged you too much money.

Complaining About Your Lawyer
(from the Law Society of Upper Canada)
This web site explains how to file a complaint with the Law Society of Upper Canada about your lawyer. An electronic complaint form is available.
In addition, the Law Society's Web Site provides the Rules of Professional Conduct as well as some commentary on these rules. Some of the rules relate to the lawyer's relationship with and responsibility to the client.

You and your Money

Banks and Banking

Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI)
This is an independent body which investigates complaints from individuals and small businesses about banking services and about products and services provided by bank financial groups. Its objective is to provide impartial and prompt resolution of complaints. This service is available free of charge.

Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation
Provides information on how the money you deposit in financial institutions is protected in case of their failure. This site includes links to legislation

Safeguarding Your Money: A Guide to Protecting Your Money and Resolving Bank Problems
(from the Canadian Bankers Association)
This web site serves as a consumer protection guide. This site makes the consumer aware of a bank's obligations and also provides some helpful tips on protecting your money, credit and bank cards against fraud and misuse. There is also up-to-date information on how to resolve problems you may have with your bank.

Bankruptcy

Dealing with Debt: A Consumer's Guide
(from the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada)
This web site provides a consumer with danger signals to recognise before bankruptcy occurs, possible solutions to the problem and different ways to handle the problem. The relevant excerpts from the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act are provided as well as the location of the division offices of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy.

Consumer and Commercial Issues

A guide to register, renew, or amend your business
(from the Ministry of Consumer and Business Services Ontario)
This site provides access to online information and registration forms.

Not-For-Profit Incorporator's Handbook
(from the Ministry of the Attorney General Ontario)
This handbook provides general information on not-for-profit organisations and how one would go about incorporating a not-for-profit organisation.

Debt

Collection Agencies
(from the Ministry of Small Business and Consumer Services)
This website provides basic information on the role of collection agencies and how one might deal with them. Information is also provided on how to proceed if the collection agency is treating you unfairly

Credit Counselling
(from Credit Counselling Service of Toronto)
The Credit Counselling Service of Toronto offers no cost/ low cost confidential credit counselling. The service (including telephone counselling) operates 24 hours from Monday to Friday and 8.30 AM to 4.30 PM Saturdays.

Dealing with Debt: A Consumer's Guide
(from the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada )
This web site provides a consumer with danger signals to recognise before bankruptcy occurs, possible solutions to the problem and different ways to handle the problem. The relevant excerpts from the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act are provided as well as the location of the division offices of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy.

Income Tax

Canada Customs and Revenue Agency: Income Tax
Everything you need to know about your taxes. This site includes links to Income Tax Forms.

Pensions/Income Security

Old Age Security and Canada Pension Plan
(from Human Resources and Social Development Canada)
This web site provides general information and links regarding Canada's retirement income system. The site also provides information about eligibility for international benefits.

Savings Plans

Canada Education Savings Grant
(from Human Resources Development Canada)
This web site explains how the Canadian Education Savings Grant and Registered Education Savings Plan can help parents save for post-secondary education. The site also answers commonly asked questions on this issue.

Social Assistance

Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)
This web site explains who is eligible to receive financial support from ODSP and how a person would apply for that financial assistance.

How to Appeal Your Social Assistance
(from the Social Benefits Appeals Tribunal)

Need Welfare? How to apply for Ontario Works benefits
(from Community Legal Education Ontario)

Women's Issues

Ontario Women's Justice Network
An online legal resource for women's organisations and individuals working on issues related to justice and violence against women and children. This web site aims to demystify the legal system and it examines justice issues such as sexual assault and partner abuse. The site also contains such legal information as a glossary of legal terms and commentary on laws and court cases pertaining to women's experiences. The "Take Action" section offers a variety of opportunities to respond to violence and provides links to documents that may help those living with violence.

SpringTide Resources: Ending Violence Against Women
This web site is useful to inform and educate about the issue of wife assault/woman abuse. The site's purpose is to decrease the incidence of physical, psychological, emotional and sexual violence against women and the effect that woman abuse has on children.