Rights in Exile Programme

Refugee Legal Aid Information for Lawyers Representing Refugees Globally

Canada Pro Bono Directory

Click here to see the numbers and origins of refugees hosted by Canada. 

As UNHCR statistics generally rely on data from host countries, statistics on refugees alone can give an insufficient account of refugee numbers, as some host countries will not grant refugee status to certain groups. Including statistics for individuals in refugee-like situations is an attempt to account for unrecognised refugees and does not include internally displaced persons. Statistics for stateless refugees are included if available.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency created the website help.unhcr.org/canada/ for refugees and asylum-seekers who want to know about asking for asylum in Canada. On this website, you will be able to find information about:

For Afghan nationals, Canada has implemented special measures for Afghan nationalsIf you believe you qualify as an Afghan national who assisted Canada, you can find details on how to apply here: Resettling Afghans who assisted Canada: How it works – Canada.ca.


Refugee Hearing Preparation: A Guide for Refugee Claimants in Canada

Contact persons: Programme Director, Andrew Kuipers andrewatkinbrace [dot] ca
Fran Gallo readyatrefugeeclaim [dot] ca

Thanks to the dedication of Kinbrace, a Vancouver-based NGO, the completely revised Refugee Hearing Preparation: A Guide for Refugee Claimants is now available across Canada, in 6 regions and 10 languages, that helps refugee claimants and service providers navigate the refugee determination system. This Guide is an invaluable tool for refugee claimants, service providers and the legal community in helping to prepare refugee claimants for their hearings. The Guide is available in EnglishFrenchSpanishChineseArabicMongolianSomaliUrduFarsiTigrigna and Sorani Kurdish.

Canadian Bar Association

www.cba.org/cba/ | in French
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500 - 865 Carling Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 5S8
Tel: 613-237-2925 or 613-237-1988
Toll Free: 1-800-267-8860
Fax: 613-237-0185
Email: infoatcba [dot] org

Email: infoatjran [dot] ca (info@)ccblc.org

The Canadian Cross-Border Legal Coalition is a network of Canadian lawyers working to help those impacted by the US President’s 27 January 2017 travel ban, in partnership with colleagues in the US and around the world. The travel ban has caused large-scale rights violations and family separation, and has left thousands of refugees stranded in desperate circumstances. The CCBLC grew out of the spontaneous mobilization of hundreds of lawyers who rushed to airports in the US and Canada to help those impacted by this Executive Order. It brings together leading Canadian organizations and groups of volunteer lawyers and law students who quickly came together to oppose the ban and fight for the rights of those impacted.

Jewish Refugee Action Network

Email:infoatjran [dot] ca

JRAN is a Canadian organization that brings together individuals from diverse backgrounds who are deeply concerned about the changes made in 2012 to Canada's refugee determination system and refugee health care coverage. These changes place refugees at risk and disrupt Canada's humanitarian values and traditions. JRAN is a Jewish initiative that invites multi-faith and multi-cultural support and welcomes the involvement of individuals throughout Canada. Our mission is to advocate for change through the political process, education, public-speaking, and the media.

Pro Bono Students Canada - PBSC

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78 Queen's Park, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5S 2C5
Tel: 41 69 78 40 48
Fax: 41 69 78 26 48
Email: nikki [dot] gershbainatprobonostudents [dot] ca

They have chapters in every law school in Canada, and a list can be found on their website. PBSC provide lawyers and trainees for non-governmental organisations across Canada who require legal assistance but cannot otherwise afford it. They do not provide direct legal aid to those seeking asylum, but can provide details of organisations who will.



Address : PO Box 21732,1424 Commercial Drive,Vancouver BC,V5L 5G3
Phone : 604.255.9691
Email :  infoatkinbrace [dot] cainfoatkinbrace [dot] ca ()Contact person: Fran Gallo

Kinbrace is a non-governmental organisation which welcomes refugee claimants by providing housing, orientation, accompaniment, education, and support. They welcome those arriving in Canada who are seeking refugee protection and who need housing and support while doing so. Kinbrace helps refugees with the complex legal and bureaucratic systems that they encounter upon arrival which are often experienced as overwhelming and even traumatic, especially when coupled with the experience of exile.

Rainbow Refugee Committee

Vancouver Regional Centre, Suite 425 (intake); Suite 400 (administration), 510 Burrard Street, Vancouver, BC V6C 3A8
If you can't get to a legal aid office, phone the Legal Services Society Call Centre:
Tel: (001) 60 44 08 21 72 (Lower Mainland) / (001) 86 65 77 25 25 (toll free, outside the Lower Mainland)
Opening hours: 9:00-16:00 Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, and 9:00-14:30 Wednesday

Every year the Legal Services Society (LSS) provide a range of legal information, advice, and representation services that help people resolve their legal problems. These services include booklets about the law and referrals to other agencies, or a lawyer to represent someone in court. They give priority to people with low incomes and have a number of offices across British Columbia which are listed on their website. Those requiring legal aid are advised in the first instance to go to their nearest office.

Pro Bono Students Canada - PBSC

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1170 Bute St, Vancouver, BC V6E 1Z7, Canada
Email: infoatrainbowrefugee [dot] ca

Rainbow Refugee Committee is a Vancouver-based grassroots organization, comprised entirely of volunteer members engaging in support and advocacy with LGBTQ/HIV positive asylum seekers, refugee claimants and refugees. Rainbow Refugee provides information about the RSD process tailored to those making claims based on sexual orientation or gender Identity. It puts clients in contact with lawyers experienced in LGBT/HIV refugee claims and accompanies them to hearings, security checks or other meetings with officials. A peer support and information group is held twice a month. Rainbow Refugee collaborates with other NGOs to help LGBT refugee claimants access safe housing, social assistance, mental and physical health care and jobs. Rainbow Refugee offers these services in English, Spanish, Farsi and Arabic, but they can answer emails in French, Hindi and Urdu.


The Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba Inc.

95 Ellen Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3A 1S8 CANADA
Tel: 1 (204) 94 38 765
Email: infoatircom [dot] ca

The Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba Inc. (IRCOM) is a non-profit organisation that operates a 5 storey transitional housing complex in Winnipeg called IRCOM House. IRCOM House offers secure, affordable and clean 2 and 3 bedroom apartments to newcomers for up to 3 years after their arrival. In addition IRCOM provides onsite supports and services including an After-School Program that runs five nights a week and a Community Resource Program that connects residents with employment, education, and various health resources throughout Winnipeg. IRCOM also runs the Newcomer Literacy Initiative which consists of daily English as an Additional Language classes with free childminding services available.

The Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture (CCVT)

194 Jarvis Street, 2nd Floor, Toronto, Ontario M5B 2B7
Tel: 416-363-1066
Fax: 416-363-2122
Email: mabaiatcctv [dot] org

The Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture (CCVT) is a non-profit, founded by several Toronto doctors, lawyers and social service professionals, many of whom were associated with Amnesty International. They had begun to see survivors of torture in their practices as early as 1977. Many of the survivors were in the process of claiming refugee status in Canada. The doctors saw the need for specialized counseling for the social and legal problems faced by these clients. Lawyers, social workers and community groups saw clients who were survivors of torture, and in need of treatment by doctors and other health professionals. They are open on Saturdays from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm.

Chin Human Rights Organisation

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2-Montavisata, Nepean, Ontario K2J 2L3
Contact: Victor Biak Lian, Board Member
Email: vblianathotmail [dot] com

The Chin Human Rights Organisation (CHRO) is a non-governmental, non-profit advocacy organisation legally registered in Canada. It was formed in 1995 on the India-Burma border by a group of Chin activists committed to promoting democracy in Burma and raising international awareness of previously unreported human rights abuses being perpetrated against the Chin people by the Burmese military regime.

CHRO activities include:

  1. Documentation of violations of Human Rights in Western Burma and conducting necessary advocacy in that regard
  2. Making relevant reports about the situation depending on how important the need to response
  3. Human rights education to the people of China in Burma (see website for further information)

In terms of refugee work:

  1. Refugee protection (advocacy works for the local and central government to stop deportation in Mizoram, India)
  2. Providing humanitarian assistance to the vulnerable refugee families in India and Malaysia
  3. Providing financial assistance to the refugee children education
  4. Providing capacity training to refugee organisation.

FCJ Refugee Centre

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208 Oakwood Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M6E 2V4
Tel: 416-469-9754
Email: infoatfcjrefugeecentre [dot] org

With an open door approach, FCJ Refugee Centre offers an integrated model of refugee protection, settlement and educational services, and shelter for woman and their children. The Centre's mandate is to assist refugees and other uprooted people in re-establishing their lives and integrate into Canadian society by: 1) offering inclusive and timely counseling and support, including interpretation, pro bono legal support, information and referral, mentoring and employment training programs on Canadian culture and life, as well as other educational workshops; 2) Providing temporary shelter for woman and children and ; 3) collaborating with relevant organizations to deliver popular education about the immigration and refugee process, as well as on the protection of the human rights and dignity of uprooted people. 

Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees Inc - IRQR

20 Bay Street, 12th Floor, Toronto, Ontario M5J 2N8
Tel: (001) 41 65 48 41 71
Fax: (001) 41 62 14 20 43
Email: infoatirqr [dot] ca

IRQR is an international queer human rights organisation based in Toronto, Canada. IRQR help Iranian gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered refugees all over the world when threatened with deportation back to Iran, and also assist Iranian queers in obtaining asylum in friendly countries. Their goals are to end discrimination against sexual minorities in Iran; to raise awareness of queer oppression in Iran and in other countries; to advocate for the Iranian queer population; fight for the abolition of execution in Iran; and to end systematic abuses of human rights in Iran. Many Iranian queer people fleeing persecution in Iran go to Turkey. UNHCR interviews these refugees and if they are granted asylum status, UNHCR looks for a new country for each person on the basis of their profile. However, IRQR assists some of these refugees through the process and, whenever possible, provides funds for safe houses from donations, since Turkey is also a homophobic and transphobic society and queer people are not physically safe there either.

Kingsley Jesuorobo and Associates

Suite 318, 1280 Finch Ave. West, North York, Ontario, Canada M3J 3K6
Tel: (001) 41 63 98 86 47
Fax: (001) 41 63 98 45 49
Email: kjatkjlawoffice [dot] com

Kingsley Jesuorobo and Associates describe themselves as a 'one stop legal boutique for all immigration and refugee protection needs'. The firm's Principal Counsel, Kingsley Jesuorobo, has fought many successful cases on behalf of those seeking asylum, and has had notable landmark successes in securing asylum for individuals suffering accusations of witchcraft. The firm accepts Legal Aid Ontario certificates for representation in deserving cases, and the website contains a number of legal advice videos, devised by Jesuorobo, which may provide guidance to some seeking asylum in Canada.

Mennonite Coalition for  Refugee Support - MCRS

43 Queen Street South, 2nd Floor, Kitchener, Ontario
Tel: (001) 51 95 71 19 12
Email: officeatmcrs [dot] ca

The Mennonite Coalition for Refugee Support was formed in 1987 to assist refugee claimants from Central America in the resettlement process. By the mid-1990s MCRS was aiding refugee claimants arriving from countries around the world. MCRS provides refugee claim process support and settlement support in addition to advocating for a fairness and justice for refugees in Canada. The MCRS provides numerous emotional support, assistance with document completion, translation, interpretation, help finding legal support, referrals to suitable housing and community resources, and advice.

Ontario Bar Association

www.oba.org/en/home/home/default.aspx / in French
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20 Toronto Street, Suite 300, Toronto, Ontario M5C 2B8
Tel: (001) 41 68 69 10 47
Fax: (001) 41 68 69 13 90
Toll-free in Ontario (001) 80 06 68 89 00

Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization (OCISO)

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959 Wellington Street West, Ottawa, Ontario K1Y 2X5
Tel: 61 37 25 02 02 or 61 37 25 56 71
Fax: 61 37 25 90 54
Email: infoatociso [dot] org

Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization (OCISO) is a non-profit organization that has been assisting immigrants and refugees with settlement and integration issues since 1978. OCISO are a multi-service agency with programs for students and schools, English language training, immigrant women, job seekers, victims of torture, families and communities. Their services help newcomers to help themselves by providing information, counselling, and support. Legal Aid is available to low income individuals and disadvantaged communities for a variety of legal problems, including criminal matters, family disputes, immigration and refugee hearings and poverty law issues such as landlord/tenant disputes, disability support and family benefits payments.

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1266 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario, M6K 1L3
Tel: (001) 41 65 31 24 11
Fax: (001) 41 65 31 08 85
Email: SadowayGatlao [dot] on [dot] ca
Contact Person: Geraldine Sadoway: extension -229

Parkdale Community Legal Services (PCLS) is a teaching clinic with law students from Osgoode Hall Law School who work under the supervisions of the staff lawyers. PCLS offers assistance in immigration and refugee cases:

  • Humanitarian and Compassionate landing applications
  • Refugee claims and pre-removal risk assessment applications
  • Landing and family reunification of refugees
  • Work permits, visitor extensions
  • Admittance to schools for immigrant children
  • OHIP for immigrants and renewing interim federal health coverage
  • Loan application for right of landing fee
  • Invitation letters to visitors
  • Sponsorship of relatives
  • Deportation and sponsorship appeals
  • Federal Court applications for judicial review

PCLS's work is free of charge but criteria for taking on cases is limited by geographic area and our own resources. Please contact for more information.

Refugees Lawyers' Association - RLA

3852 Finch Avenue East, Suite 209, Scarborough, Ontario M1T 3T9
Email: gerrimacsatsympatico [dot] ca

The Refugee Lawyers' Association (RLA) of Ontario is an association of approximately 200 lawyers in the Province of Ontario in Canada advocating on behalf of refugees. The RLA hopes to use its website to present members and others with news in the world of refugee determination in Canada, links to sources of country research, as well as comments on important Federal Court decisions in refugee law. Their newest page, Research Links, features links to general sources of information, including Amnesty International.

The Schliffer Clinic

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489 College Street, Suite 503, Toronto, ONM6G 1A5
Tel: +1 41 63 23 92 49
Fax: +1 41 63 23 91 07

The Barbra Schlifer Clinic offers legal representation, professional counselling and multilingual interpretation to women who have experienced violence. Our diverse, skilled and compassionate staff accompany women through personal and practical transformation, helping them to build lives free from violence.The clinic offers:

  • legal help in family, immigration and criminal law
  • compassionate support from diverse, skilled counsellors
  • interpretation and translation in more than 90 languages