[ Browse by Service Category : Criminal Justice and Legal Services : Sub-Topics of Legal Services (46) ]

Benefits Assistance

Programs that provide assistance for people who are having difficulty understanding and/or obtaining grants, payments, services or other benefits for which they are eligible. The programs may help people understand the eligibility criteria for benefits, the benefits provided by the program, the payment process and the rights of beneficiaries; provide consultation and advice; help them complete benefits application forms; negotiate on their behalf with benefits administration staff; and/or represent them in administrative processes or judicial litigation. Included are benefits counselling organizations that offer a range of advocacy services and legal aid programs that offer more formalized legal assistance.

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Citizenship/Immigration/Refugee Services

Programs that administer the laws in Canada which govern the conditions under which immigrants, refugees and visitors can legally enter and/or remain in the country or become citizens; and/or which provide assistance for people who need legal advice about how to proceed. Included are organizations that review and make administrative decisions regarding immigration, refugee and citizenship applications as well as those that help people complete and file application forms and/or appeal decisions.

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Certificates/Forms Assistance

Programs that help people obtain, complete and/or file official forms, certificates, documents, applications or other paperwork that is required to apply for benefits or services, initiate or respond to legal action or to officially handle or document the occurrence of a transaction; that help people acquire copies of official documents on file elsewhere; or that review legal documentation an individual has received to help explain its meaning.

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Commissioner of Oaths

A public official in Canada who is authorized to administer oaths, affirmations and solemn declarations for people making affidavits or statutory declarations.

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Consumer Law

Programs that provide assistance for people who have cases involving violations of federal and provincial statutes governing sales and credit practices involving consumer goods, in situations where appeals to consumer complaints organizations have not resolved the issue. Consumer law cases involve deceptive or unconscionable advertising and sales practices, product quality, credit financing and reporting, debt collection, leases, and other aspects of consumer transactions.

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Discrimination Assistance

Programs that provide assistance for people who believe that they have been treated unfairly or denied normal privileges based on their age, gender, race or ethnocultural origin, nationality, religion, disability, source of income, sexual orientation, same-sex partner status, criminal convictions, political beliefs, marital status or family status. Discrimination protections may be covered by provisions of the Charter of Rights, but are more frequently addressed by statutory law at the federal, provincial or municipal level.

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Elder Law

Programs that provide information and guidance for individuals who need assistance in the area of law which relates to the rights and needs of older adults, especially in the areas of age discrimination, consumer fraud, estate planning and management, living trusts, trust administration, probate, property law, retirement planning, pension benefits, income security programs, health care and medication needs, disability planning, long-term care alternatives, health care decisions, elder abuse, guardianships and conservatorships.

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Ex-Offender Legal Assistance

Programs that provide legal assistance for people who recently have been released from a correctional facility and need advice related to their status as ex-offenders.

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Family Law

Programs that provide assistance for people who are involved in disputes or legal actions which affect their domestic relationships.

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General Legal Aid

Programs that provide legal counselling and/or representation for low-income individuals who need assistance in routine legal matters, usually in the area of bankruptcy, housing, public benefits, family law, elder law or immigration/naturalization.

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Identification Clinics

Programs that assist individuals who have inadequate or no ID, particularly those who are homeless or have little or no income, to obtain or replace identifying documents. May include assisting clients with application forms, filing and paying for applications on the client's behalf, providing a mailing address when necessary for delivery, and offering ongoing safe storage for the documents.

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Labour and Employment Law

Programs that provide legal assistance for people who want to establish employment practices that will minimize or eliminate problems in the employment area or who need to resolve a dispute or initiate or respond to litigation which relates to their role as employers or employees, their rights and obligations. Labour and employment law deals with a variety of issues including wage and hour compliance, workplace health and safety, interview and hiring practices, employee contracts, employee benefits, maternity/paternity leaves, medical leaves, supervision and discipline, workplace privacy, workplace violence, sexual harassment and wrongful termination.

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Landlord/Tenant Assistance

Programs that provide assistance, information and support for tenants and/or landlords who are involved in rental housing disputes; or which administer provincial laws or local ordinances which govern rent control and other aspects of tenant/landlord relations.

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Legal Assistance Referral Services

Programs that maintain lists of lawyers, paralegals, mediators and other legal professionals and services, and link people who need legal assistance with those who specialize in the required area of law.

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Long Term Care Ombudsman Programs

Programs that investigate and attempt to resolve complaints made by or on behalf of residents of nursing facilities, residential care homes, assisted living facilities and other supervised living facilities for older adults. The program also promotes policies and practices that improve the quality of life, health, safety, welfare and rights of residents; monitors laws, regulations and policies that affect those who live in long-term care facilities; provides the public with information about long-term care options; and promotes the development of consumer organizations concerned about long-term care. Long term care falls under provincial/territorial jurisdiction and where no specific Ombudsman program is in place, appropriate complaints are directed to the provincial Ombudsman.

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Notary Public Services

Public officials who are authorized by the provincial government to administer oaths and affirmations, take affidavits and depositions, attest to the authenticity of signatures and take acknowledgment of and certify deeds and other conveyances.

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Traffic/Parking Violation Assistance

Programs that provide information and assistance for people who have violated one of the provisions of provincial motor vehicle codes or local parking or traffic ordinances and have questions about payments, their rights and their alternatives.

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The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.


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