Legal Needs as an Expression of a Public Health Crisis: A COVID-19 Case Study

At this point it’s clear that COVID-19 is a public health emergency that has laid bare socio-economic inequities. One of the ways this expressed is through the occurrence and evolution of legal needs during the pandemic and how public policy decisions impacted the incidence of unmet legal needs. And while we inch towards a return to normalcy, it is important that we learn what lessons we can […]

You Found a Lien on Your Home. Now What?

Finding a lien on your property can be a shock. In some cases, you run the risk of a failed refinancing or a lawsuit stemming from an aborted closing. In other cases, liens can enable someone else to force the sale of your property without your consent. PBO’s Free Legal Advice Hotline receives calls regularly […]

Looking Back on 2021, Improving Access for 2022

PBO had another very strong year in 2021. We provided direct legal services to more than 29,000 clients. Our Free Legal Advice Hotline continued to demonstrate its value as a safe, efficient, and effective means of delivering access to justice. We served 91% of our clients from across Ontario through the Hotline. 88% of the […]

COVID-19 and Your Child’s Rights at School: What Parents Should Know

Back to school is always a stressful time for families scrambling to get their children ready for the coming year. It is also a busy time for our Education Law Program, which was launched in 2003 to help families address unlawful conditions that keep their kids out of school. From what we’re seeing, this year […]

Don’t Think Corporate Lawyers Can Do Pro Bono? Think Again

If you ask a highly skilled corporate lawyer why they’re nervous about volunteering through PBO’s Free Legal Advice Hotline, you will often hear a more or less diplomatic version of: “I practice in a very niche area of law and couldn’t possibly help someone with a real problem.” The irony is that the exact traits that make some corporate lawyers hesitant […]

The Lawyers’ Guide to Giving Back: Three Simple Ways to Help PBO Close the Justice Gap

Milestone anniversaries instinctively spark reflection on what has been and what will be. PBO is proud to be celebrating 20 years of connecting lawyers with those in need. In our opening blog post, we observed that COVID-19 forced us to grow up fast; last year, we faced unprecedented, crushing demand for legal services. We brought […]

High Stakes for Small Estates: Do the New Probate Rules Further Access to Justice?

Many people believe they don’t need a will if they “don’t have anything.” They believe that because anything they own at death will automatically pass to a spouse or children, they need not worry. In fact, low-income Ontarians have the most to lose if someone in their household dies without a will. PBO’s Free Legal Advice Hotline […]

What Would Holistic Legal Care for Seniors Look Like?

2021 marks Pro Bono Ontario’s 20th anniversary. As we take stock of what we have accomplished and learned over the years, we are also asking ourselves how we can do more to bridge the gap for vulnerable Ontarians, like seniors. Through our Free Legal Advice Hotline, our Medical-Legal Partnerships, and our court-based centres, PBO has […]

Prevention and Cure: Ontarians Need Stronger Consumer Protections and Advocacy Supports

The provincial government is currently undertaking the first review of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) in 15 years. Having answered more than 8,500 consumer calls on the Free Legal Advice Hotline since 2017, PBO believes amendments cannot come soon enough. Most of our suggestions to the government have focussed on the issue we see more […]

No Easy Answers: Navigating the Top 4 Landlord-Tenant Issues during COVID-19

The COVID-19 virus has disrupted society and every element of our lives. In few instances is this as evident as in Ontario’s unfolding housing law crisis, which illustrates both the large scale and intimate ways this pandemic is affecting us. Between the economic disruption, lockdown orders and health and safety measures, the pandemic has placed […]