Legal Services

HALCO provides free legal services for people living with HIV in Ontario. HALCO’s legal services include summary legal advice, brief legal services, referrals and legal representation. We generally focus on HIV-specific issues, such as HIV-related discrimination, privacy of health information and access to medications. However, we also provide assistance with some other issues including immigration/refugee law and income support (e.g., Ontario Disability Support Program). In certain situations, we may be able to provide advice but not representation. For more information about our areas of law, see below. For information about other legal services in Ontario, please scroll down.

HALCO Legal Services

Legal Advice, Brief Services and Referrals

Depending on our resources and the issue, HALCO provides free legal advice, brief services and referrals to people living with HIV in Ontario. There are no financial eligibility guidelines for these services. We do not practice in all areas of law and are not be able to take on all cases. If we cannot provide advice or brief services, we will do our best to provide information and referrals to other services.


Depending on our resources and the issue, HALCO provides free legal representation to people living with HIV who meet case and financial eligibility guidelines (note that depending on the issue, we may ask clients to pay for reports, etc. needed in the case).  We do not practice in all areas of law and are not be able to take on all cases.  If we are unable to provide representation, we will do our best to provide referrals to other services.

HALCO’s Areas of Legal Practice Include (note that in some areas we may provide advice and not representation):

  • Government Income Maintenance/Income Security programs (e.g., Ontario Disability Support Program, Ontario Works, Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security, Employment Insurance)
  • Tenant/Housing matters (HIV-related, issues involving co-tenants or other tenants)
  • Immigration and Refugee law (we do not assist with completing forms)
  • Human Rights (Federal and  Provincial)
  • Privacy law
  • Health law (e.g., access to medications, public health issues, HIV testing)
  • Powers of Attorney
  • HIV-related prison matters
  • Regulated Health Professions complaints
  • Some private insurance matters

If you are facing HIV-related criminal charges, please contact us right away.

Please visit our Contact Us page for more information about getting legal advice from us and our intake process for new inquiries.

You can visit our Areas of Law pages for general information about many legal topics.

HALCO pamphlet cover image 2019HALCO pamphlet

Our HALCO information pamphlet is available in print and on-line. Almost everything that you might want to know about HALCO is in one pamphlet.  You can view our HALCO pamphlet on-line:  Please contact us if you would like to request print copies of our pamphlet.

Other Legal Services in Ontario

The following sections provide information about a number of other legal services available in Ontario, including community legal clinics (like HALCO) and other Legal Aid Ontario services, for example Legal Aid certificates, advice lawyers, and duty counsel. Private lawyers and licensed paralegals also provide legal services and usually charge fees.  Pro Bono Ontario provides free legal information, resources and services.

Ontario’s community legal clinics

Community legal clinics provide free legal services to people across Ontario.  HALCO’s community is people living with HIV in Ontario. Legal clinics are independent not-for-profit organizations with volunteer Boards of Directors.  There are two types of community legal clinics:

  • General/local community legal clinics that provide services to people in the clinic’s local community, and,
  • Specialty community legal clinics, like HALCO, that provide services to a particular group of people or in a particular area of law.

You can contact your local community legal clinic to find out about services in your community.  You can find your local community legal clinic as well as specialty legal clinics using the Legal Aid Ontario website:

Getting legal help:  Community Legal Clinics in Ontario is a Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) on-line resource that lists all the legal clinics in Ontario:

Conseils juridiques en français par téléphone :

  • Région du Grand Toronto (RGT) : téléphone sans frais 1 877 966-7345 (service fourni par le Centre francophone de Toronto).
  • Est de l’Ontario : téléphone sans frais 1 877 500-4508 (service fourni par le Centre des services communautaires Vanier).
  • Nord de l’Ontario (incluant Barrie, Parry Sound, Muskoka et les lacs Kawartha) : téléphone sans frais 1 87 POUR AVIS / 1 877 687-2847 (service fourni par la Clinique juridique communautaire de Sudbury).
  • Sud-Ouest de l’Ontario : téléphone sans frais 1 855 650-9716 (service fourni par la Clinique juridique bilingue de Windsor/Essex).

HALCO is a member of the Association of Community Legal Clinics of Ontario:

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO)

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) provides many programs and services to help low-income people with legal issues. You must be financially eligible to qualify for most LAO legal aid services. LAO programs and services include:

  • telephone services
  • duty counsel lawyers in family and criminal courts
  • advice lawyers in courts and in the community
  • community legal clinics
  • Student Legal Aid Services Societies (SLASS)
  • Family Law Information Centres and Family Law Service Centres
  • LAO law offices, and
  • Legal Aid certificates to pay private lawyer fees

For more information about Legal Aid Ontario (LAO), please visit the Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) website: For LAO financial eligibility:

Human Rights Legal Support Centre (HRLSC)

The Human Rights Legal Support Centre (HRLSC) offers human rights legal services to individuals throughout Ontario who believe they have experienced discrimination.  The Centre’s services range from legal assistance in filing an application at the Tribunal to legal representation on human rights applications.  For more information, please visit the Human Rights Legal Support Centre (HRLSC) website:

Pro Bono Ontario

Pro Bono Ontario provides a wide range of legal information, resources and services for people in Ontario:

Private Lawyers and Licensed Paralegals

Private lawyers and licensed paralegals provide legal services in Ontario. Some private lawyers accept legal aid certificates, and others charge fees for legal services.  The Law Society of Ontario (formerly the Law Society of Upper Canada) regulates the provision of legal services in Ontario, and is responsible for the licensing of lawyers and paralegals. For more information, please visit the Law Society of  Ontario website:

Law Society Referral Service

The Law Society Referral Service (LSRS) of the Law Society of  Ontario is an on-line service that provides a referral to a lawyer or paralegal for an in-person or phone consultation of up to 30 minutes at no charge.  The LSRS crisis telephone for people in custody, in crisis, in a shelter or in a remote community without internet access is 416-947-5255 or toll-free 1-855-947-5255, Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm. For more information please see the Law Society Referral Service information on the Law Society of Ontario website:  The Law Society of  Ontario was formerly the Law Society of Upper Canada.