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Police Powers: Stops and Searches

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How do I get legal help?

Legal Aid Ontario provides legal assistance for low-income people. Services include:

  • legal advice from duty counsel over the phone for people in police custody
  • assistance by duty counsel in some criminal matters for eligible clients who appear in court without a lawyer
  • legal information and advice over the phone
  • legal resources and referrals
  • a certificate program to pay for a lawyer

To get legal aid services, your legal issue must be one that Legal Aid Ontario covers, and you must be financially eligible. If Legal Aid Ontario cannot help, they may be able to refer you somewhere that can.

For more information, visit www.legalaid.on.ca/en or call:

Toll-free: 1‑800‑668‑8258

Toronto area: 416‑979‑1446

Toll-free TTY: 1‑866‑641‑8867

Toronto area TTY: 416‑598‑8867

The Law Society of Ontario has a directory of all lawyers licensed to practise law in Ontario. You can search the directory by name, address or postal code, language, or area of law.

Visit the Law Society website at www.lso.ca to locate the directory or call them at:

Toll-free: 1‑800‑668‑7380

Toronto area: 416‑947‑3315

The Law Society Referral Service is an online service that gives you the name of a lawyer in your area who can give you a free consultation for up to 30 minutes. You can ask for a lawyer who speaks your language, or a lawyer who accepts Legal Aid certificates.

You can also call them on the crisis line if you are unable to use the online service, for example if you are in custody, in a shelter or in a remote community without access to the internet. This line is available from Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Visit www.findlegalhelp.ca or call them at:

Toll-free Crisis Line: 1‑855‑947‑5255

Toronto area Crisis Line: 416‑947‑5255

JusticeNet is a not-for-profit organization that helps people access legal services when their income is too high to qualify for legal aid but too low to afford legal fees. If your net family income is less than $59,000, JusticeNet will refer you to a directory of lawyers and paralegals who provide help at reduced rates depending on income.

You must register and pay a $25 fee to use the website. This fee may be returned to you if you do not find a professional to work with. Visit the JusticeNet website at www.justicenet.ca.

CLEO's Steps to Justice website has step-by-step information about common legal problems, including police stops and searches. Visit www.stepstojustice.ca and see the information in the Criminal Law section.