Immigration and refugee law


Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) may be able to provide help with certain immigration and refugee matters.

  • To apply for a Legal Aid Certificate for an immigration and refugee law matter, you must visit a Legal Aid Ontario office to complete an application and a financial test.
  • If you financially qualify for a Legal Aid Certificate, LAO may be able to pay your lawyer for the following types of cases:
    • Hearings before the Refugee Protection Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board.
    • Detention reviews.
    • Sponsorship appeals.
    • Appeals of deportation orders.
    • Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA).
    • Admissibility or Examination hearings.
    • Humanitarian and Compassionate claims (rarely).
    • Judicial Reviews of certain decisions.
  • In some cases, you may be required to pay back LAO some or all of your legal fees.
  • Refugee clients who apply for LAO assistance will be given a document called Client and Lawyer Rights and Responsibilities, which helps protect claimants and better define their relationship with their lawyers.
  • A Legal Aid Certificate is not available for the following immigration matters:
    • Assistance in obtaining landed status or checking status of application with Immigration.
    • Sponsorship application of a person inside Canada.
    • Renewal of Minister's Permits, Student Visas.
    • Problems obtaining OHIP.
    • Initial sponsorship application of a person outside Canada.
    • If you do not qualify for a legal aid certificate, you may be able to get assistance with your immigration law matter from a law student at a legal clinic run by a Student Legal Aid Services Society (SLASS)

Learn more

  1. Decide if your legal problem relates to getting help with an immigration or refugee law matter.
  2. Read Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to learn more about immigration and refugee law.
  3. Follow the Steps for instructions on how to get assistance with an immigration or refugee law matter.
  4. Review the Resources to find new and in-depth legal information about immigration and refugee law issues.
  5. See the Links for news and other helpful websites.

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DisclaimerLast updated 07/30/2009