Who We Serve
The ACLC is a specialty community legal aid clinic dedicated to defending and advancing the equality rights of low-income members of Ontario’s African Canadian community.
The ACLC provides a range of legal services to low-income African Canadians living in Ontario, to community organizations and to members of the legal profession. Services include:
- Legal representation before all levels of courts and a number of tribunals for clients who do not have a lawyer;
- The provision of resources, summary legal advice and/or referrals to other social assistance agencies and/or legal professionals; and
- Written or oral advocacy.
Areas of Law
The ACLC provides free, confidential legal advice and information in a number of areas of law. To find out more about our services, select the type of law below that best fits your legal issue:
- Have you experienced racial or ethnic discrimination at your workplace in terms of hiring, promotion, job assignment, termination or compensation? The ACLC can provide you with information on the available avenues of redress including negotiating a settlement agreement, filing a civil claim for wrongful discipline or filing an application for discrimination at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.
- Have you or your child been unjustly suspended, expelled or otherwise disciplined? The ACLC can help you appeal the suspension/expulsion, file an application on the basis of racial discrimination with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, facilitate a speedy return to school, or refer you to service providers or members of the private bar specializing in the area of education.
- Are you concerned that the Identification Placement and Review Committee attempting to place you or your child in a non-academic stream? The ACLC can provide you with information about your or your child’s rights and options and/or liaise with the school on your behalf.
- Have you been racially profiled, harassed or assaulted by a member of the municipal or provincial police services? The ACLC can provide you with resources on your avenues for redress and/or can assist you in filing a complaint with the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIRPD), the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, or, in some cases, the Special Investigation Unit.
- Are you involved in a dispute with your landlord? Have you been served with a notice of eviction? Have you experienced discrimination or harassment on the basis of your race or ethnicity? The ACLC does not represent clients at the Landlord and Tenant Board. However, the ACLC can help you file an application alleging racial or ethnic discrimination with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario or correspond with your landlord on your behalf. The ACLC can also provide you with information on such services as local community legal clinic that provide information and legal advice on housing issues, tenant duty counsel (lawyers and community legal workers who can help you do such things as reviewing documents, preparing forms, and assisting tenants at hearings with procedures such as urgent review applications and requests for adjournments), the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario, and the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Association. Finally, the Clinic can refer you to members of the private bar that specialize in tenant and housing issues.
- Have you been charged with a criminal offence? The ACLC does not represent clients in criminal matters. However, the Clinic can provide you with information on how to obtain a certificate, summary legal advice, and/or other services from Legal Aid Ontario. The ACLC can also provide you with referrals to a number of criminal lawyers in the Greater Toronto Area.
- Has your child been removed from your care by the Children’s Aid Society (“CAS”)? Do you believe that these measures were unwarranted? The ACLC can provide you with the resources to file a complaint against CAS with the Child and Family Services Review Board or, if warranted, to file an application with the Human Rights Tribunal.
- Are you going through a divorce or separation? Are you seeking custody or access to your child? Are you seeking support payments from a former spouse or from the parent of your child? The ACLC does not represent clients in family law matters. However, the ACLC can supply you with resources and information on the family court process, legal definitions and more. The Clinic can also give you information on how to obtain one of a number of free legal services provided by Legal Aid Ontario including family duty counsel, summary legal advice, and a legal aid certificate to obtain full representation by a lawyer. Finally, the Clinic can provide you with referrals to a number of family lawyers in the Greater Toronto Area.
Immigration and Refugee
- Are you a refugee claimant? Do you want to make a submission to stay in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds? The ACLC can provide you with a referral to a number of immigration lawyers in the Greater Toronto Area, to legal aid clinics that specialize in immigration and refugee law or to the Refugee Law Office, an office that assists clients with their refugee claims, risk assessment applications, detention reviews, appeals of deportation orders and Federal Court hearings, including stays of removal. The ACLC can also provide information on using Legal Aid Ontario’s certificate program to obtain representation by a lawyer.
- Are you having trouble settling into Canada? The ACLC can refer you to a number of settlement services for newcomers; these agencies can provide you with information on such things as working, studying, visiting or immigrating to Canada.
- Do you need assistance in a workplace safety or insurance appeal tribunal? Do you have an employment insurance appeal? Do you want to appeal a decision of an administrative board or tribunal? Do you need to make a claim against an insurance company for long-term benefits? Do you want to appeal a denial of Canada Pension Plan benefits? Are you looking to obtain power of attorney or set up a living will? The ACLC does not handle most civil matters. Help with civil appeals, tribunals, and proceedings is, however, available through community legal clinics. The ACLC can provide you with the contact information for your local community legal clinic. The ACLC can also refer you to a number of lawyers specializing in your particular matter. If you cannot afford a lawyer but are not eligible for legal aid, the ACLC can also provide you with a number of alternatives.
If your legal problem fits under one or more of these headings, you may call the ACLC at 416-214-4747. When you call, ACLC staff will speak with you and take down the details of your problem. If we can help you, a telephone appointment with an ACLC staff lawyer will be booked for you. Should more than telephone advice be required, we will discuss the next steps with you. If the ACLC cannot help, we will refer you somewhere that can.
The lawyers at the ACLC are governed by the Rules of Professional Conduct. Pursuant to Rule 2.03 of the Rules, a lawyer must maintain the strict confidentiality of any and all information provided by his or her client.