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Resources to Help with Legal and Financial Issues for Self-Advocates and Caregivers

From time to time, self-advocates and family supports run into obstacles, grey areas, and bigger problems in the course of navigating the world, especially when dealing with organizations or systems that are not trained in autism spectrum disorder(ASD). Families report struggling with issues such as filing taxes; setting up bank accounts; obtaining insurance; struggling to keep employment; or estate planning. At those times, it can be difficult to know where to obtain information or support. This document can give you a place to start.

Organizations that can provide information or support

Sometimes we need a helping hand:

  • Legal Aid Ontario 1-800-668-8258 – Legal Aid Ontario promotes access to justice in Ontario for low-income individuals.
  • Pro Bono Ontario – Pro Bono Ontario connects volunteer lawyers with Ontarians who can’t afford a lawyer with a lawyer.
  • Social Justice Tribunals Ontario (SJTO) – is a cluster of eight adjudicative tribunals with a mandate to resolve applications and appeals brought under statutes relating to child and family services oversight, youth justice, human rights, residential tenancies, compensation for victims of violent crime, disability support and other social assistance, and special education. SJTO has provided a list of where to get legal help:
  • Human Rights Legal Support Centre 1-866-625-5179 – The Human Rights Legal Support Centre provides legal services to individuals who have experienced discrimination. The Centre will provide legal assistance to individuals in taking an application to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario to resolve a human rights dispute.
  • The Office of the Public Guardian & Trustee (OPGT) 1-800-518-7901 – OPGT delivers a range of services that safeguard the legal, personal and financial interests of certain private individuals and estates.
  • The Special Needs Planning Group: 1-905-640-8285 – The Special Needs Planning Group’s sole purpose is to assist families in the provision of a secure financial future for our loved ones with disabilities.
  • Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office: 1 800 578 2343 – The Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office protects and promotes the rights and entitlements of Ontarians with mental illness through advocacy, rights advice and education.

Sometimes we need information:

  • Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario) helps people understand their legal rights by providing information.
  • Partners for Planning The P4P Planning Network provides free resources including webcasts followed by live Q&A, inspiring documentaries and stories, financial and legal planning tools, and more.

Sometimes we need help from professionals (Fee for Service Options):

The agencies or individuals listed here listed here are those who are recognized as experts in Ontario and who are consulted as such by stakeholder agencies. These are some of the services that have often been used by families. There may be other professionals who are not listed here, with whom you may wish to consult. It is important to make sure that the financial or legal expert you consult has previous experience with disability issues.

  • ARCH Disability Law 1-866-482-2724 – ARCH Disability Law Centre is a specialty community legal aid clinic dedicated to defending and advancing the equality rights of people with disabilities in Ontario.
  • Pooran Law Professional Corporation 1-416-860-7572 – They specialize in maximizing access to financial supports such as the Ontario Disability Program (ODSP), Passport and other forms of Individualized Funding, the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) and various benefits through the income tax system.
  • Ability Tax and Trust Advisors 1-877-690-0330 – They provide integrated services that include disability tax reviews and applications, taxpayer relief requests, personal and trust tax filings, tax appeals, and estate and trust planning.

Sometimes we can benefit from others’ experiences:

  • Connected Families Forum at ConnectABILITY.CA – On Connected Families, self-advocates, caregivers and family members can post a question and get feedback from other families and service providers who may have had similar experiences.

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