Providing equal access to justice for low-income people has been the guiding principle for legal aid services in Ontario.
- In 1997, law professor John McCamus conducted a review of OLAP. In his report he recommended the creation of an independent body to govern OLAP, the consideration of various service delivery models, and a renewed emphasis on serving client needs.
- In 1998, the government introduced The Legal aid Services Act to create an independent agency called Legal Aid Ontario (LAO).
- In 1999, LAO's Board of Directors approved 29 new and enhanced initiatives to improve access to legal assistance for low-income people.
- In 2001, the Board of Directors approved a four-year strategic plan that outlines LAO's vision, values and strategic directions for the organization.
- LAO is the second largest justice agency in Ontario, and is considered a leader in North America in providing access to legal services for low-income people.
- Poverty law services are delivered through a network of 76 independent, community-based legal and specialty clinics that are located across Ontario.
- LAO runs a certificate program through its network of 23 offices. These offices issue certificates, which low-income people use to retain a private lawyer to represent them in proceedings before the criminal or family courts, immigration/refugee boards, or child protection matters.