What is a Community Legal Clinic?

Lawyers, paralegals, and other legal professionals work at community legal clinics to help low-income and marginalized groups, like youth.

If you need legal help but don't have the money to pay a lawyer, you can get help from a Community Legal Clinic (CLC). Community legal clinics are found all over Ontario. They help people with many legal issues.

Who can use CLCs?

You can get help from a legal clinic regardless of your immigration status. This means you do not need Canadian citizenship or other legal status (like permanent residence or refugee status) to get help from a clinic.

You don’t have to be an adult to get legal help. If you are under 18 years old, you can get help from Justice for Children and Youth.

Any discussion you have with staff at a CLC is confidential. This means that anything you tell a clinic legal worker about your situation is private and will not be repeated.

What types of legal problems do legal clinics cover?

Community legal clinics cover issues like immigration/refugee claims, housing, social assistance, employment, and human rights. To be sure the clinic you want to visit has the services you need, call or email them first to ask. Find a community legal clinic near you.

For criminal, family, and immigration law issues, you can apply for legal aid to get a legal aid certificate. Legal aid certificates are awarded based on financial need. If you cannot get legal aid, you still have options.

Learn more: What do I do if I can’t afford a lawyer?

What else can community legal clinics help me with?

  • Legal advice and information
  • Help with forms and other paperwork
  • Representation in court (your legal advocate may be a lawyer, community legal worker, or student, depending on the circumstances of the case)
  • Referral to a private lawyer who may be able to provide services at a discount or pro bono (for free) or to a community agency
  • Legal education and information