Legal Aid Program

The Government of Canada and the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) have reached a tentative agreement, ending the strike affecting many public service members. There may still be some service impacts over the next few days and weeks as services return to full capacity.

Overview and Objectives

The Legal Aid Program provides contribution funding to the provinces and territories for the delivery of legal aid services for economically disadvantaged persons. This federal-provincial/territorial collaboration on legal aid is based on the shared responsibility for criminal justice by the federal government, under its constitutional authority for criminal law-making and procedure, and by the provincial/territorial governments, under their constitutional authority for the administration of justice, including legal aid.

Legal aid promotes access to justice for economically disadvantaged persons, and helps to ensure that the Canadian justice system is fair, efficient and accessible, and that public confidence in the justice system is maintained.

Legal aid funding to the territories is provided through the consolidated access to justice services agreements. Canada’s financial support to provinces and territories for the delivery of civil legal aid is primarily provided through the Canada Social Transfer which is the responsibility of the Department of Finance Canada.

The federal government does not provide direct legal aid services. If you need assistance, please consult the provincial and territorial legal aid plans’ web pages listed below:


The Legal Aid Program provides funding to the provinces, through its contribution agreements respecting criminal legal aid, and to the territories, through the consolidated Access to Justice Services Agreements, for the delivery of criminal legal aid services to:

In addition to contributing toward the cost of criminal legal aid in the provinces and territories, the Legal Aid Program also provides funding to recipients for the following:

The Legal Aid Program also co-chairs and provides secretariat support for the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Permanent Working Group on Legal Aid (PWG). The PWG is comprised of representatives of the federal, provincial and territorial governments and representatives from each provincial and territorial legal aid plan, and reports directly to the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Deputy Ministers Responsible for Justice and Public Safety. The PWG is a forum for national information sharing, research and joint policy development and discussions on matters of shared interest respecting legal aid, as well as for the negotiation of the federal contribution for legal aid.

Who is eligible for funding?

As legal aid is a cost-shared program between the federal government and provincial/territorial governments, federal contribution funding for the delivery of legal aid services is provided directly to provincial and territorial governments.

Criminal, and Immigration and Refugee Legal Aid

  1. Provincial and territorial governments
  2. Provincial and territorial legal aid service providers
  3. State-Funded Counsel

Impact of Race and Culture Assessments

  1. Provincial and territorial governments
  2. Provincial and territorial legal aid service providers
  3. Canadian non-profit or charitable organizations
  4. Canadian for-profit corporations, when undertaking non-profit activities

Legal Advice for Complainants of Workplace Sexual Harassment

  1. Canadian non-profit or charitable organizations
  2. Provincial and territorial governments, legal aid service providers, and Crown corporations, regional and municipal governments OR an agency or institution thereof
  3. Canadian educational institutions, including universities and colleges
  4. Band, First Nation, Tribal Council, local, regional or national Indigenous organizations
  5. Canadian for-profit corporations, when undertaking non-profit activities

Publications and Resources

For further information on available legal aid research reports, please consult the Department of Justice’s Reports and Publications web page.

Official Languages

In support of Section 41 of the Official Languages Act, the Department of Justice Canada is committed to facilitating the participation of official language minority communities and their organizations in the development and assessment of the Department’s policies, programs and services having significant impact on the development of the communities; and to take measures to ensure that the Department of Justice’s programs and services reach official language minority communities.

As provinces and territories deliver legal aid services, they are responsible for ensuring that legal aid services are available in both official languages, when required.

Contact Information

For more detailed information on the mandate and activities of the Legal Aid Program, please contact:

Programs Branch
Department of Justice Canada
284 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0H8
Telephone: (613) 941-4193
Fax: (613) 954-4893