ACE serves people 60 years of age and over in the Greater Toronto Area, and may also provide services to seniors outside of Toronto if the case is of significance to the seniors' community. ACE also works with the local community clinics across the province to provide legal services to seniors living in these other locations.
Please note that while ACE primarily provides legal services to low-income seniors, we do not have the resources to provide legal services to all eligible low-income seniors. ACE will consider several factors in deciding whether it will provide legal services to you, including your income level, the importance of your case to legal issues affecting the seniors' community, and the availability of a community legal clinic within your geographic area. If ACE is unable to assist you directly, we will make every effort to refer you to someone who can. Please note that you will not become a client of ACE unless ACE agrees to represent you.
How to Get Help at ACE
To request assistance from ACE, please telephone us. We prefer phone calls over email messages or walk-in appointments. When you call, ACE staff will guide you through our intake process. First, our staff will speak with you and take down the details of your problem and details of your eligibility for ACE’s assistance. Our intake staff will either provide you with some information or refer your case to a lawyer for further assistance and consideration of whether ACE will assist you.
Should more than telephone advice be required, a lawyer may make an appointment with you. If you are unable to come to our offices due to health problems, a staff person may visit you at your place of residence (including a long-term care home, hospital, or retirement home).
Our hours of service are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Thursday. Lawyers work on new intakes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday unless it is an emergency situation that requires immediate attention.
If you are calling when our office is closed and you require urgent legal advice, you may contact the Law Society Referral Service at 1-855-947-5255 or (416) 947-5255 (within the General Toronto Area). The Law Society Referral Service is designed to provide callers with up to 30 minutes of consultation either by phone or in person at no charge. A Legal Information Officer will receive the call and assess the needs of the client and then provide the name of a lawyer or paralegal who best fits the client's stated needs. The service is not designed to provide legal advice or second opinions and any fees should be discussed with the lawyer or paralegal.
Lawyers at ACE provide direct legal services in a wide variety of areas of law affecting seniors including:
- Health care consent and advance care planning;
- Consumer protection;
- Elder abuse;
- Health care;
- Home care;
- Long-term care homes;
- Pensions and income; and
- Retirement homes.
ACE does not provide assistance in all areas of the law. We do not prepare wills or powers of attorney, or give advice on estate administration, real estate, criminal law or family law matters. If we are unable to assist you directly, we will make every effort to refer you to someone who can.
Public Legal Education
ACE staff participates in conferences and speaking engagements for seniors and service providers. With an emphasis on self-advocacy, ACE aims to provide seniors with the information necessary to advocate for themselves or to identify problem areas in which they may wish to seek legal assistance. Education programs are also directed at service providers for seniors to educate the community to recognize the rights of the seniors' population.
ACE staff has also prepared written materials on a wide range of topics. In addition to numerous brochures, ACE has published a detailed manual entitled Long-Term Care Facilities in Ontario: The Advocate's Manual, now in its third edition. ACE has also produced a 20-minute DVD on Powers of Attorney.
If you are interested in having an ACE lawyer speak to your organization or at an event, please call Petrina Lewis at (416) 598-2656.
With respect to law reform, ACE staff prepare briefs, analyze both proposed and proclaimed legislation, engage in research, and engage in other work necessary to advocate for changes in legislation or policy to improve the status of seniors in Ontario.
ACE works with individuals and organizations in the community to mobilize for broader social change and to offer practical support, such as legal representation, administrative assistance, research and access to political and media networks.
For additional information about ACE, see the ACE Brochure.