Am I eligible for legal aid for the services of a lawyer?

Do you need legal advice or do you want to exercise your rights but lack the means to pay for a lawyer? You may be eligible for legal aid.

This public legal service, instituted by the government, is offered free of charge or at a reduced cost to low-income people, families and non-profit organizations residing in Quebec.

The legal services are provided by the regular staff of legal-aid lawyers or by lawyers in private practice. These lawyers offer advice to their clients and can even represent them in court, if necessary.

Legal aid is primarily governed by the Act Respecting Legal Aid and the Provision of Certain Other Legal Services (in effect since January of 1997) and the Regulation Respecting Legal Aid.

Who is eligible?

There are several criteria that must be met in order for one to benefit from the services of a legal aid lawyer. The two most important determining factors are as follows:

The applicant’s financial situation

Legal aid is provided at no cost to low-income individuals, as determined by certain eligibility requirements, including the following:

  • The annual income of the individual or family, including all sources of income, such as salaries, tips, income replacement benefits from CNESST or the SAAQ, alimony, child support, etc.
  • The applicant’s civil status (single, married, with or without children, the number of children, etc.)
  • The value of the applicant’s assets and liabilities, including homes, retirement accounts, debts, etc.
  • The value of the applicant’s assets and liabilities, including homes, retirement accounts, debts, etc.

For example, the annual gross income of a family consisting of one adult and one child cannot exceed $29,171 in order to benefit from free legal aid.
You can consult the different tiers of eligibility for legal aid here.

Types of legal services

The main types of services covered by legal aid are as follows:

  1. Social and administrative law

    • Contesting a denial of social assistance
    • Contesting a ruling denying compensation for victims of criminal acts or denying worker’s compensation following a work-related accident, vehicular accident, etc.
  2. Civil law

    • Contesting an order to seize property
    • Enforcing consumer protection laws
    • Contesting an eviction or demanding repairs if a dwelling is in substandard condition
  3. Criminal law

    • Receiving representation if accused of criminal acts or summary offences
    • Obtaining telephone support in the event of an arrest
  4. Juvenile law

    • Filing for adoption
    • Representing children in Child Protective Services (DPJ) cases
  5. Family law

    • Filing for divorce
    • Obtaining child support or modifying the amount
    • Obtaining custody
  6. Immigration

    • Requesting asylum or sponsorship
    • Contesting a deportation order

Legal aid offices

Do you believe you may be eligible for legal aid? First, you must contact your nearest legal aid office. If you live in the areas of Valleyfield, Vaudreuil-Soulanges, Beauharnois-Salaberry or Châteauguay, you can contact the offices below:

Châteauguay Office
147 Boulevard Saint-Jean-Baptiste, Châteauguay J6K 3B1
Telephone: 450 691-4325
Email: chateauguay@ccjrs.com

Or

Salaberry-de-Valleyfield Office
151 Rue Salaberry, Salaberry-de-Valleyfield J6T 2H8
Telephone: 450 370-3064
Email: valleyfield@ccjrs.com

For other regions, you can consult the listing of legal aid offices here ici.

Do you need incomparable legal advice or services in Valleyfield or Vaudreuil-Dorion? Contact Martine Thibodeau, a lawyer specializing in criminal and penal law.

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