Mapping legal services in Ontario

A new “map” of legal services in Ontario shows that all across the province there are decent numbers of lawyers and paralegals compared the population.

Former Ontario chief justice Roy McMurtry released the “Geography of Civil Legal Services in Ontario” report today in Toronto. It is part of the Ontario Civil Legal Needs Project, an initiative of the Law Society of Upper Canada, Legal Aid Ontario, and Pro Bono Law Ontario.

“We now have access to hard data that can be used to identify the civil legal needs of Ontario’s low- and middle-income communities, as well as the distribution of legal service providers available to meet those needs. We have not had access to this type of data before,” McMurtry noted at the report’s release.

The geography report examines and compares the demographic characteristics of the Ontario population and the distribution of legal services, to create a detailed picture of the market for civil legal services across Ontario.

“Some of the larger, more rural areas appear underserviced at first glance but actually have a good number of lawyers and paralegals compared to the population. This is encouraging news since we may be able to use existing legal service providers to improve access to civil legal services,” says John McCamus, the chairman of Legal Aid Ontario.

The research also shows that almost half the lawyers in the province provide some pro bono or free legal services. “An unexpected, positive finding was the high per centage of lawyers - 46.7 per cent in 2009 - who provide some level of pro bono or free legal services,” says Osgoode Hall Law School dean Lorne Sossin. “While there are still questions about the nature of those services, we can use this information to further engage the profession in access to justice solutions.”

Read next week’s Law Times for more details and analysis of the report.

Recent articles & video

Federal fall economic statement includes anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism financing changes

Intellectual property firm ROBIC joining IPH Limited, the international group of IP service firms

Federal Court of Appeal hears patent infringement suits relating to interactive program guide tech

Freshfields unveils Data Trends 2024 report, forecasting challenges and AI opportunities

Readers' Choice winners for 2023 unveiled by Canadian Lawyer

Osgoode project keeps an eye on Canadian mining companies abroad

Most Read Articles

2023 Lexpert Rising Stars revealed

Alberta Court of King's Bench rejects litigation privilege claim in a personal injury case

Future of self-regulation dominates Law Society of British Columbia bencher election discussion

Collaborative contracting on the rise in infrastructure projects, says Torys LLP's Josh Van Deurzen