Our Legal Services

CELA has nearly 50 years experience with taking on groundbreaking legal cases seeking justice and fairer treatment of individuals and communities and to strengthen environmental laws and policies.  In numerous cases, decisions in favour of CELA’s clients have upheld citizen rights to participate in decision making under both Ontario and federal environmental protection laws. Access profiles of selected current and historical cases here.

As an Ontario legal aid clinic, our appearances before courts or tribunals are on behalf of low income individuals and community organizations. Often, the most economically vulnerable bear the largest brunt of pollution.


As a specialty clinic within Legal Aid Ontario, CELA helps those who otherwise lack the resources to mount a legal challenge to pollution or environmental harm.

Legal Aid Representation

All legal aid-qualified cases must involve clients (individuals, families, or groups) and issues in Ontario, whether the case is heard in a provincial or federal court or tribunal. We also take on cases that will decide important legal issues and that are therefore in the broad public interest. Our clients must also meet all other Legal Aid Ontario qualifications, including for income, to be considered. We do not take on libel or slander cases. To discuss possible legal representation, please call 416-960-2284, ext. 7216 or email articling @ cela.ca.

General Advice and Referrals

For general advice about your situation, we encourage you to consult this website. It contains a wealth of information. To speak to us directly, please call 416-960-2284 or send an email. For legal inquiries, please contact our articling student at ext. 7216 or articling @ cela.ca. For non-legal inquiries, please contact Tracy at ext. 7210 or tracy @ cela.ca. If you are unsure if your inquiry is legal or non-legal, start with the articling inquiry. The articling student can help with up to two hours of summary advice. Where we cannot respond to an inquiry in depth we can often steer you toward appropriate resources.

We often refer potential cases to lawyers in private firms who specialize in environmental or municipal law. See our lawyer referral list. If you are a lawyer and would like your name added to this list, please send an email to admin @ cela.ca. See also our referrals page.