Legal Aid Resources In Toronto

By Noor Azrieh

While many struggle to fight the impacts of poverty alongside an overly damaging pandemic, legal aid service centers across Toronto are aiming to change the fate of many living in the city. 

Black Legal Action Centre

Black Legal Action Center, established in 2017, is an independent, non-profit community legal clinic located at 720 Spadina Avenue.

Their services aim to combat individual and systemic anti-Black racism through research, engaging in structural transformation, and providing legal services to members of Ontario's Black communities. 

Education, advocation, and litigation are the mission of BLAC in combating individual and systemic anti-Black racism in Ontario. Their work focuses on community building and engagement—they understand and reimagine what it means to be Black in Ontario.

BLAC also engages in advocacy, community development, law reform, test case litigation, and public legal education. While working with clients, BLAC gives legal advice, represents clients at tribunals and courts, and helps fill out forms. 

Their services are free for those who qualify. 

Aboriginal Legal Services

Aboriginal Legal Services, established in 1990, was developed after a greater need for legal-related support and programs for Indigenous people living in the Greater Toronto Area. 

Located at 211 Yonge Street, ABL aims to strengthen the capacity of Indigenous communities to deal with justice issues. Their work is Indigenous controlled and offers culturally based justice alternatives. 

Their Legal Clinic covers a range of issues including Housing, PDSP/OW, Indian Act Matters, Canada Pension, Disability, Police Complaints, Criminal Injuries Compensation, and Human Rights. 

The Clinic is community funded and is heavily involved in law reform, community organizing, public legal education, and test case litigation. 

ABL also offers a Courtworker Program. Court workers are able to explain legal rights and obligations to clients, and also assist in securing legal counsel, finding and contacting interpreters, assist with pre-sentence reports, bail hearings, and referrals. 

HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario

HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario is a community-based charitable non-profit legal clinic providing free legal services for people living with HIV/AIDS in Ontario.

Located at 55 University Avenue, HALCO provides a variety of services including public legal education, community development, and law reform activities. 

Many people living with HIV/AIDS face unique legal problems that affect their wellbeing, and for that reason, HALCO’s services are tailored to their needs. 

They provide legal representation, public legal education, and they engage in law reform and community development. 

HALCO also offers other areas of practice including Government Income Maintenance programs, Tenent/Housing matters, Human Rights, Immigration and Refugee Law, Employment Standards matters, Privacy Law, Health Law, Power of Attorney, Regulated Health Professions complaints, HIV-related prison matters, private insurance matters, and other administrative matters. 

Their services are offered in English and French, but they also arrange interpreters for other languages. 

Parkdale Community Legal Services

Parkdale Community Legal Services aims to fight the impacts of poverty and act on the root causes of inequality. 

PCLS is located at 1229 Queen Street West and covers a range of issues including workers' rights, housing rights, immigration, social assistance, violence, and health. 

Founded in 1971 by Parkdale neighbourhood residents, community organizations, and Osgoode Hall Law School, PCLS is now one of the first and largest community legal clinics in Canada. 

PCLS believes in community-based and governed poverty law services, access to justice as a right, and anti-racist, anti-oppressive approaches that understand and adhere to the racial, cultural, and social needs of the neighbourhood. 

PCLS services include interpretation and translation in the client's language of choice, and disability or other accommodation needs

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