Legal aid: free services for people with low incomes

  • August 18, 2021
  • Justice
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Do you have a minimum-wage job or does your family have a low income? On May 31, 2021, the thresholds for qualifying for legal aid were increased.

What is legal aid?

Québec’s legal aid system provides access to legal instruments in order to assert your rights. The services (either free or low-cost) are dispensed by attorneys or, less often, by notaries. The attorneys and notaries are mandated to advise their clients or to represent them in court, to, among other things:

Who qualifies for legal aid?

Legal aid is free for people with low incomes. For an independent adult, maximum income is equivalent to 35 minimum-wage hours. There are various eligibility thresholds, depending on the family situation. The thresholds are adjusted every time the minimum way changes.

There is also a contributory component for people whose income is slighty higher. They can receive legal services via a financial contribution that ranges from $100 to $800.

Maximum gross annual income for access to legal aid

Family situation Free   Contributory
Independent adult: $24,570 $34,321
Adult with a child: $30,062 $41,982
Adult with more than one child: $32,092 $44,818
Spouses without children: $34,195 $47,762
Spouses with one child: $38,259 $53,437
Spouses with more than one child:      $40,291      $56,276

 

Note: the value of your assets, investments and property may be factored in. To see whether you qualify, use the online tool for that purpose.

Questions or problems?

You can consult the website of the Commission des services juridiques (CSJ), the body that manages Québec’s legal aid system.

The Québec Ombudsman handles complaints concerning Québec government departments and agencies, including the Ministère de la Justice. However, it does not have jurisdiction regarding the CSJ. If you are dissatisfied with the CSJ, complete its complaint form instead.