At your first legal aid appointment, you’ll need documents showing your financial situation, as well as your spouse’s financial situation in certain cases. It’s your responsibility to show that you qualify financially for legal aid, unless you’ve already been declared eligible in the past 12 months and your situation hasn’t changed. If you don’t provide the necessary documents, your request could be refused.
You’ll need documents showing the income you earned during the year prior to your legal aid application. For example, if you apply for legal aid in 2022, you must bring proof of income for 2021.
You’ll need these documents:
- federal and provincial notices of assessment
- tax returns and supporting documents (T-4, Relevé 5, financial statements and other documents, if necessary to show your financial situation)
You must also bring documents to show your income for the current year.
- last pay slip from all jobs held since January 1 of the year of your legal aid application
- detailed statement showing payment amounts and number of weeks paid
- T4E slip (available from “My Service Canada Account”)
Social assistance (welfare)
- claim slips for the month in which you apply for legal aid (This is the only document required to prove that you qualify financially.)
- copy of current financial statements with supporting documents
Payments from the SAAQ, CNESST, IVAC or other programs
- Relevé 5
- letter indicating the amount of payments received
- statement of loans and bursaries
- proof of tuition fees
- copy of the agreement with Emploi Québec indicating the amount paid (if applicable)
- statement from Revenu Québec showing the amounts received for the current year
- copy of the most recent judgment concerning support payments
Amounts you can deduct
Certain amounts can be deducted from your income in the calculation of your financial eligibility. For example, the amounts you pay as support, child care and expenses required because of a serious mental or physical disability can be deducted.
Part of the child support payments you receive can also be deducted. You’ll need all documents showing these amounts. To prove childcare expenses, for example, you must bring all “Relevés 24” you received in the year prior to your legal aid application.
Value of your assets
Your assets include certain property you own and your savings, such as cash in a bank account.
As in the case of your income, you must show the value of your assets by providing the appropriate documents.
Statements of account
You must bring all statements of account showing updated balances, including for these accounts:
- chequing accounts
- TFSA (tax-free savings account)
- RESP (registered education savings plan)
- RRSP (registered retirement savings plan)
If you own property, you’ll need a copy of your municipal tax bill showing its value. You must also bring a copy of your hypothec (mortgage) statement showing the current balance on the date of your legal aid appointment.
You can deduct your debts from the value of your property. You’ll need proof of all your debts (for example, updated credit card statements).
Couple’s financial situation
If you have a spouse and you’re living together, your combined financial situation can be considered in the calculation of whether you qualify for legal aid (for example, if you’ve been living together for over a year, are married or have a child). In this case you must bring documents showing your spouse’s income and the value of their assets.
However, only your financial situation will be considered if you and your spouse have opposing interests in the case for which you’ve requested legal aid — such as cases involving separation, divorce or child custody.
Documents concerning your legal situation
You’ll also need all documents relating to your legal situation.
For example, if you received a document asking you to appear in court on a certain date, you must bring it to your legal aid appointment.
The relevant documents will depend on your legal situation.
If you have questions about the documents you must bring to your appointment, you can call your nearest legal aid office.