Who We Are
The Law Foundation of Ontario has a unique mandate to improve access to justice for the people of Ontario.
We provide funding that enables a wide range of organizations to:
- Help people to understand the law and the justice system.
- Help people to use the law to improve their lives.
- Foster excellence in the work of lawyers, paralegals and other legal professionals.
A priority for the LFO is improving access to justice for disadvantaged groups.
The LFO achieves its objectives through a variety of grants, fellowships, scholarships, and awards in addition to annual payments to Legal Aid Ontario.
The LFO also administers the Class Proceedings Fund to support the independent Class Proceedings Committee. That Fund provides financial assistance to parties involved in class action lawsuits in the public interest.
- The LFO is a non-profit organization, created by statute in 1974.
- A five-person volunteer board of trustees governs the LFO, supported by a staff team.
- The Law Society appoints three trustees. The Attorney General of Ontario appoints the other two. Trustees are independent from the bodies that appoint them.
- The LFO’s main source of revenue is interest from lawyers’ and paralegals’ mixed trust accounts.
- By law, the LFO gives 75% of this revenue after operating expenses to Legal Aid Ontario.
- The LFO uses the remaining 25% for innovative grants to improve access to justice.
- The LFO also receives funds from the proceeds of class action lawsuits where the court has made a cy-près award in its favour. The LFO uses these funds to make grants across the country through the Access to Justice Fund.
The LFO is the only Ontario foundation with a primary focus on access to justice.
The LFO was created by the Law Society Act in 1974. Highlights from the past 40 years demonstrate the LFO’s commitment and success in finding new and creative ways to enhance access to justice.
The LFO’s annual report includes a description of its activities for the year, as well as audited financial statements.
Board & Staff
The LFO is governed by a volunteer board of trustees and supported by a staff team.
The LFO created the Guthrie Award Guthrie award in 1996 to honour H. Donald Guthrie who served as Chair of the LFO for 13 years. The Guthrie Award recognizes outstanding individuals and organizations for their contributions to access to justice and excellence in the legal profession.
Roy & Ria McMurtry Endowment
In 2005, the LFO created an endowment in honour of the former Chief Justice of Ontario, the Honourable Roy McMurtry, and his wife Ria. The endowment currently funds two scholarships. One is for for youth at risk of becoming involved in the criminal justice system. The other is for a student attending an Ontario law school.
How Lawyers and Paralegals Contribute to Access to Justice
Ontario’s lawyers and paralegals contribute to access to justice in many ways. In addition to generating income for the LFO from interest on mixed trust accounts, lawyers and paralegals contribute…