Online Guide for Newcomers to Prince Edward Island - Canada
In a new country, it can be confusing if you find yourself needing legal advice. You may need it if you are buying a house, starting a business, divorcing your spouse or are facing criminal charges. Depending on your situation, there are different ways to deal with your legal advice needs.
- Like in many other countries, lawyers in Canada charge fees for their services, and hiring one may be expensive. Ask for the cost before you request a service from a lawyer.
- If you are a potential immigrant to Canada, beware of fraudulent 'immigration lawyers' or 'immigration consultants' who claim they can help you get permanent resident status or Canadian visa. You should check their background before dealing with them, or not deal with them at all.
In Canada, like in many other countries in the world, lawyers help their clients with legal advice and services in many areas. They act as advisors in making agreements and solving legal problems, and in preparing legal documents such as wills, contracts, deeds, and court documents.
To find a lawyer to assist you in dealing with a legal issue you can:
- look in the Yellow Pages under 'Lawyers' [See Related Resources]
- call a legal firm and ask if they have someone who deals with your type of legal situation (if they do not, they may refer you to another firm that does)
- ask friends, coworkers or family members who had a similar legal situation if they can recommend someone
PEI Legal Aid
PEI Legal Aid offers free legal assistance in some areas of family and criminal law to people who, for financial reasons, are unable to get legal services from the private sector. To be eligible for legal aid, you must have a low income and be unable to pay for the necessary legal services.
Community Legal Information Association of PEI
Community Legal Information Association (CLIA) of PEI is a non-profit organization which provides information, referrals and support related to legal issues to Islanders. Their goal is to provide Island residents with understandable and useful information about the justice system and laws in Canada and PEI.
- a confidential inquiry line to answer general legal questions, referrals to services, support, and information (you do not have to give your name)
- a lawyer referral service where Island lawyers volunteer to provide 30 minute consultations for people who have legal questions or need basic legal advice, for a small fee
- various publications on federal and provincial laws, with topics like buying property on PEI, child support, being an executor for an estate, etc. [See Related Resources]
- a divorce kit and family law kit (available only in hard copy)
CLIA also provides legal education to community groups and schools, and collaborates with other organizations on various projects.
One such project was the development of the 'Canadian Law - An Introduction for Newcomers to Canada', in collaboration with the PEI ANC. This is a series of learning modules about the basics of Canadian law, intended for newcomers. [See Related Resources]