Get Legal Expense Insurance (LEI)

LEI Resources

Most Canadians cannot afford justice. For instance, in 2015 the average cost of a 5-day civil trial was $56,439 (see article), which is roughly $16,000 more than the median net income of a single Canadian (see article).

While Legal Aid tends to cover the legal expenses of the most poor, and the rich of course can afford justice, the middle class are left in suspense, unable to pay for their legal expenses.

LEI may be the best solution for coverage of legal expenses for the middle class. The Canadian Bar Association’s goal is for 75 percent of middle-income Canadians to be covered by LEI by 2028 and to get government to make some LEI mandatory, like car insurance for drivers.

Below are some LEI resources we found on the internet. We do not recommend or endorse any of them. These are mere suggestions of what is available on the market. If you are looking to purchase LEI you should do your due diligence.

JusticeNet

JusticeNet is a non-profit organization that connects clients who make less than $59,000 a year with lawyers and paralegals who are willing to work at a reduced wage in order to promote access to justice.

Get a Free Legal Referral

Law Society Referral Service

The Law Society of Ontario provides a free referral service, which can be accessed at the following coordinates:

Website: www.findlegalhelp.ca
Email: lsrs@lso.ca
Phone number:

    • London: 1-800-268-8326
    • GTA: 1-855-947-5255 or 416-947-5255

Open hours: Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

How It Works

The LSRS will:

    • help you find a lawyer who practises in the area of law you need
    • help you find a lawyer who meets certain requirements like speaking certain language or accepting Legal Aid certificates

LSRS does not:

    • offer second referrals for the same legal issue
    • identify legal representatives who work on a contingency basis (i.e., where you pay a percentage of winnings only if you win) or pro bono (for free)

Don’t use the LSRS if:

    • you’re in crisis (e.g., if you’re in custody)

When you use LSRS, the Law Society will give you a referral number and the phone number of a lawyer or paralegal. Call that person’s office and provide your name, phone number and the referral number. Someone will contact you within 3 business days to arrange for your consultation.

Contact lsrs@lso.ca if:

    • you haven’t received a call back from the legal representative by the fourth day
    • you can’t wait up to 3 days for a lawyer or paralegal to call back or you can’t leave a call-back number

Lawyer and Paralegal Directory

You can also use the Lawyer and Paralegal Directory to find a lawyer. Please note, however, that it doesn’t guarantee a free consultation. You’ll need to discuss legal fees directly with the lawyer or paralegal.

Other Free Options

Apply for a Legal Aid Certificate

If you can’t afford to pay for your legal expenses, you may qualify for a Legal Aid certificate that may cover some or all of them (see eligibility criteria). You’ll generally qualify if you make about $10,973 a year for yourself or up to $45,446 for a family of five.

For more details, see the Legal Aid website or call Legal Aid toll free at 1-800-668-8258.

Apply for a Court Fee Waiver

If you make between $31,200 a year for yourself and up to $75,600 for a family five, you may qualify for a court fee waiver pursuant to subpar. 2(2)1i of O. Reg. 2/05.

Get On and Off a Student Loan

You can apply for a student loan under the Canada Student Loans Act (CSLA) or the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act (CSFAA) and repay it after you graduate – if you get a job.

The 7-Year Rule

If you don’t get a job and can’t repay your student loan, you can file for bankruptcy 7 years after being a student.

A discharge from bankruptcy will free you of your obligation to repay your student loan and other debts. It gives you a fresh start.

You can apply for a discharge from bankruptcy resulting from a student loan since as far back as July 7, 2008.

Undue Hardship

If it’s been 5 years since you’ve been a student, you can apply to court for bankruptcy earlier due to “undue hardship” if the court is satisfied that you

    • acted in good faith to repay your student loans and
    • experience(d) financial difficulty that prevents you from repaying them.

When considering the question of good faith, the courts will look at:

    • how you used your student loan money
    • your efforts to complete your educational program
    • your efforts to repay the loan
    • your use of available repayment assistance programs, such as the federal government’s Repayment Assistance Plan