Program Types: Legal Initiatives,

The 519’s Access to Justice and Legal Initiatives programs support underserved 2SLGBTQ+ communities to reduce barriers to accessing relevant legal services and educational resources.

2SLGBTQ+ communities experience many barriers to accessing justice systems, including lack of queer- and trans-competent services and experiences of homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, and other forms of discrimination.

The 519 Legal Initiatives are supported by The Law Foundation of Ontario, The Department of Justice Canada – Legal Advice and Supports for Racialized Communities Grant, the Balsam Foundation and private donors. The 519 Trans ID clinic is supported in partnership with McCarthy Tètrault LLP.

Free programs and services offered:

  • The 519 Legal Advice Clinic: Obtain a one-time legal advice consultation by phone or video conferencing.
  • Case Support Program for 2SLGBTQ+ BIPOC community members: 1:1 support with court navigation in the criminal, housing, and family law legal systems. 
  • Health Justice Program: Access blended legal and health services and navigational supports. Engage with projects and events that build community justice and well-being.
  • Mock Hearing Program for LGBTQ+ Refugee Claimants: Practice for your IRB hearing with a mock session that prepares you for the actual process.
  • Narrative Support and Writing Program for LGBTQ+ Refugee Claimants: Assists you in drafting your basis of claim document.
  • Notary and Commisioning Clinic: Access limited notary and commissioning services.
  • Public Legal Education Workshops: Attend workshops for community members on a range of legal issues.
  • Trans ID Clinic: Receive legal assistance by phone or video conferencing for name change and gender marker change. For 2 Spirit, trans and non-binary folks currently living in Ontario.

About legal clinics at The 519

2SLGBTQ+ people face extraordinary barriers while approaching Canada’s justice system, and The 519 Legal Clinic responds to these challenges by empowering folks to feel safe and confident while accessing justice. The 519  Legal Clinic has been responding to that challenge by empowering folks to feel safe and confident while accessing justice.

The earliest Legal Clinic at The 519 was born in the 1980s from community leadership during the AIDS crisis. Volunteer lawyers and students started the Wills Clinic to respond to legal challenges 2SLGBTQ+ people faced while grappling with end-of-life decisions in the initial years of the epidemic. Partners, lovers, and chosen families had no legal standing or say in their loved ones’ care, were denied resources, and sometimes weren’t even allowed to be present while their loved ones passed.

Recognizing a growing demand for queer-competent legal services, our legal volunteers soon began fielding matters related to housing, employment, criminal, immigration, civil and human rights issues as well. Years later in 2019, The 519 recognized the need to broaden our legal services in response to the current socio-political climate and its impact on the most marginalized folks. Through funding support and inputs from our volunteers and community leaders, we expanded our access to justice initiatives.

Today, The 519 Legal Clinic is supported by 50+ lawyers providing pro bono support. We offer specialty clinics focussing on law related to family, criminal, employment, immigration, housing, and of course, wills and estates. We host the Trans ID Clinic, Notary Clinic, and a Mock Hearing Program to help LGBTQ+ refugee claimants.

The 519 Legal Clinic has and will continue to support meaningful access to justice for 2SLGBTQ+ communities and ensure that nobody is left behind. We are truly grateful for the support of our volunteer lawyers, students, staff, as well as our funders.

Supported By: