“Pro bono” simply means without charge, or free. Many (but not all) lawyers set aside time each year to provide their services without charge to those who otherwise would not be able to afford legal representation. It is important to keep in mind that there is no obligation for lawyers to do so. It is a way of “giving back.”
There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Canadians whose income is too high for them to be eligible for Legal Aid yet not sufficient to cover the usually very substantial cost of hiring a lawyer.
It is this group that may benefit from pro bono representation. Lawyers will not necessarily take every case or client on a pro bono basis, but there is absolutely no harm in asking. The lawyers listed in this section of the Directory may be able to assist you on a pro bono basis if your legal matter falls within their expertise. Please inquire.
In Ontario, there is also a charitable organization called Pro Bono Ontario that promotes access to justice by providing a way for lawyers to provide pro bono legal services to lower-(but not too low)-income people and charitable organizations. The organization’s primary focus is to help lower-income people with civil (non-family) legal problems that are not covered by Legal Aid Ontario. Pro Bono Ontario offers a free legal advice hotline for up to 30 minutes of legal advice and assistance. The toll-free number is 1-855-255-7256. For more information, you may wish to visit https://www.probonoontario.org/hotline/.