Criminal Law

Have you been charged with a crime? Have you been denied legal aid? We may be able to help. Visit our criminal law page to read more able the kinds of cases we can take on.

Family Law

Do you need advice about custody and access? Questions about child support? DLS may be able to assist. To find out more about these services, visit our family law page.

Refugee and Immigration Law

Have you made a refugee claim? Do you need help filing a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment or Humanitarian & Compassionate Grounds application? We may be able to help.

Housing Law

Are you a tenant in rental housing? Is your landlord trying to evict you? Does your apartment need repair? We may be able to help.

University Affairs

Are you a student at the University of Toronto? Have you been charged with an academic offence? Do you need advice about an academic appeal? Read more about our services for students to see if we can assist.

Employment Law

Lost your job?  Treated unfairly at work?  Problems with your employer?  We may be able to assist you.

Legal Education Workshops

We provide plain language workshops on a variety of legal topics. To request a workshop or learn more about our PLE program, contact us.


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DLS submission to the Ministry of Housing on standard lease

The DLS Housing Law Division calls on the Ministry of Housing to ensure that new tenant protections enacted through the Rental Fairness Act, 2017 – specifically, the right to demand a fair lease that does not contain void or misleading terms – are not left with a loophole for landlords to continue imposing illegal rules on unsuspecting tenants. You can read our submission here.

Interested in Volunteering at DLS this Year?

Come to our Volunteer Program Information Session in J250 on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 from 12:30 – 2:00 pm to learn more about the clinic and how you can get involved. 

Also, click here for more information about our 2017-2018 volunteer program.

Click here for the application form.

Statement on Trump’s Executive Actions and the Quebec mosque attack

For an updated list of opportunities to engage with groups doing meaningful work on these issues, jump to the bottom of this page.

We are deeply disturbed by the Executive Orders issued by U.S. President Donald Trump concerning preclusion and detention of Latin American migrants along the southern U.S. border (82 FR 8793), persons born in certain Muslim-majority countries (82 FR 8977), and undocumented persons already inside the U.S. (82 FR 8799), together with the ongoing implementation and enforcement of these orders by officers of the U.S. government. We condemn and mourn these acts of racist exclusion, just as we condemn and mourn the murders of Azzeddine Soufiane, Khaled Belkacemi, Ibrahima Barry, Mamadou Tanou Barry, Abdelkrim Hassane, and Boubaker Thabti, who were shot in an act of terror and hatred as they prayed peacefully in their Quebec City mosque last weekend.

Downtown Legal Services was founded over 40 years ago so that law students at the University of Toronto could assist marginalized people in our city. Today, our clinic’s client community stretches across borders and around the globe, as we work to reunite families and seek justice for refugees, migrant workers, and international students alike. We stand with them, just as we stand with our many allies, our fellow legal clinics, partner agencies, and movements that have mobilized in the face of these oppressive events. We support the demands that they have made through the National Days of Action Against Islamophobia, White Supremacy & Deportations.

We applaud the tireless work of clinical faculty and law students throughout the U.S. in cooperation with the American Civil Liberties Union and its partners to provide emergency legal services for those facing detention and deportation at major airports this week. We are also proud to of the over 200 Canadian law professors – including those from our own University of Toronto – who have called on the Canadian government to suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement.

Staff and students at DLS, as well as our colleagues with the Faculty of Law’s International Human Rights Program and our allies with the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers and the Canadian Council for Refugees, will continue working to challenge discrimination and demand an end to both the Safe Third Country Agreement and the Designated Country of Origin regime, just as we have for the past several years. Our clients lived the risks and felt the dangers of these policies long before President Trump’s actions brought them into the public spotlight. We therefore acknowledge that our deep sense of injustice in response to these actions comes from our clients’ stories of failure, success, suffering, and relief. They continue to teach us what justice is, and we are privileged to learn from them what the law ought to be.

If you are reading this and find yourself asking how you can engage further with these issues and work in partnership with communities directly affected by current refugee and migration policy, we have attempted to list some of the related projects and opportunities of which we are aware:

  • Tonight (Friday) the IHRP and DLS alumnus Petra Molnar are facilitating a panel at UofT’s Centre for Ethics entitled “Are Refugees Welcome Here?” on Friday, February 3, 2017 from 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm in the George Ignatieff Theatre at 15 Devonshire Place, Toronto, ON

  • Protest on the National Days of Action Against Islamophobia, White Supremacy & Deportations, which include a demonstration planned for Saturday, February 4, 2017 from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm outside the U.S. Consulate at 360 University Avenue, Toronto, ON (for a list of similar events planned across Canada, click here)
    ***Pre-rally: DLS students are meeting at 11:00 a.m. that morning in the Rowell Room to make signs and head down to the demonstration together. Members of the law school community are welcome to join us!

  • Sign the Broadbent Institute’s petition calling on the Trudeau government to denounce Trump’s actions, lift the cap on private refugee sponsorship, offer status to those affected, and suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement

  • Monday the Faculty of Law is hosting a panel entitled “Law in the Age of Trump” on Monday, February 6, 2017 from 4:10 pm to 5:30 pm in the Moot Court Room (J250)

  • Next Friday the IHRP and a number of departments and faculties at UofT are hosting a panel at the law school entitled “Bordering Injustice: How Should We Respond to Trump’s Ban?” on Friday, February 10, 2017 from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm in the Moot Court Room (J250)

  • Volunteer with the Refugee Sponsorship Support Program to help refugees fleeing places that are directly targeted by Trump’s Executive Orders (click here; see SSP Toronto and Law Student sections)

  • We will continue to update this list as we become aware of related resources and opportunities to get involved.

    We are grateful for the funding provided by Legal Aid Ontario, the Law Foundation of Ontario, the Faculty of Law and students at the University of Toronto.