Community Justice: Ontario

By: Open Society Foundation

On the second Tuesday of every month in a small store-front office in the town of Bancroft, in eastern Ontario, two lawyers offer legal advice to mostly low-income clients with a range of mostly everyday problems: arguments with a landlord; disputes with an employer; difficulties claiming social assistance; and much more. The advice is free, and no appointment is necessary; most of the clients could not otherwise afford to talk to a legal specialist.

The weekly clinic is operated by the Community Advocacy and Legal Center, a non-profit community legal clinic set up in 1980, part of a province-wide network of Community Legal Clinics.

Clinic law services are provided by a model unique in Canada to the province of Ontario, publicly funded and administered by Legal Aid Ontario (LAO). LAO funds a network of 76 such community-based legal clinics across the province. These independent community-governed non-profit organizations range in size from four to nearly thirty staff. Additionally, seventeen clinics support specific client populations (First Nations, youth, seniors, people with disabilities, ethno-racial groups) or address specific issues including the environment, income security, housing, and injuries at work.

Stay Informed

  • Get regular updates on the latest developments and opportunities in legal empowerment around the world. You can unsubscribe at any time.

    Learn how we protect and use your information in our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Join the Network

Be part of the movement for legal empowerment.

Meet practitioners from around the world, access practical resources, and join learning exchanges.

Sign Up