Applications for Judicial Review to the Federal Court must be made within 30 days of the date the decision was communicated to you.

Applying for this program will NOT extend your deadline.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you meet this deadline, even if you have applied to this program and are waiting for a response from us.

You may be eligible for free legal help if:

  • You received a CERB/CRB overpayment notice

    You received a letter from Canada Revenue Agency or Service Canada notifying you that you were overpaid CERB or CRB and must pay it back

  • You already had a review

    You followed the instructions in your letter and there was a review of your eligibility for CERB or CRB benefits, but the original decision was confirmed and you must pay the benefits back

  • You are considering a second review or court appeal

    You still think the decision was wrong and are requesting a second review or are considering an application for judicial review to the Federal Court

  • You are self-represented

    You don’t have a lawyer and can’t afford one

About the CERB/CRB Overpayment Pro Bono Program

Pro Bono Ontario is a registered charity with a mandate to help people who can’t afford a lawyer. In partnership with our volunteer lawyers, we are offering a program to help people who:

  • live in Ontario;
  • disagree with a CERB or CRB overpayment decision;
  • have already had a review of their eligibility for CERB or CRB but were unsuccessful;
  • either:
    • are now considering a second review, or
    • had a second review that was also unsuccessful and are considering asking the Federal Court of Canada to review the decision; and
  • cannot afford a lawyer

If you apply to this program and meet our eligibility requirements, PBO volunteers will assess your application and may, if they think you have strong case, offer to help you bring your court to case on a pro bono basis. They may offer to represent you, or just to help with specific aspects of your case.

If our volunteers do not choose to take on your case, PBO will provide you with some resources to help you if you decide to bring the court case yourself.

Please note that this program is currently available only to residents of Ontario. We will update this page if that changes.

To learn more about Pro Bono Ontario, see About PBO. Please review PBO’s Terms of Service before applying for this program.

This project was developed in partnership with the Income Security Advocacy Centre, a specialty legal clinic funded by Legal Aid Ontario, and with Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP and Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP.

How to Apply

For assistance, please fill out the application form below. You will be asked to attach the following documents to your application:

  • All decision letters from the CRA concerning benefit eligibility, including the most recent letter
  • Any other letters or notices from the CRA concerning the pandemic benefits, if any
  • All submissions or documents that you provided to the CRA as part of their review (such as letters to the CRA providing additional documents/information, requests for review, etc.)

Please note that we need these documents to assess whether we can assist you. If you do not provide the required documents, we will not be able to assess your case and will not take further steps. Thank you for understanding.

If you can’t apply online, please email for details on other methods of applying for help. Please note that the online application is the most efficient method, so please use that option if you are able. Thank you.


  • Applying for this program does not create a solicitor-client relationship between you and PBO.
  • We are not your lawyers and we do not guarantee that we will be able to find you a pro bono lawyer.
  • If we are able to introduce you to a pro bono lawyer, no services will be provided unless and until you enter into an agreement with that lawyer or firm. The specific nature of the legal services to be provided may vary and will be set out in your agreement with them.
  • We regret that we are unable to assist with all cases.