Racialized communities strategy

About the strategy

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) has committed to developing a multi-year, multi-faceted, province-wide racialized

communities strategy that will build upon the services and supports that LAO already has in place.


Child protection systems

Infographic: Racial disparities in Ontario’s child protections system

Click on the image for a PDF version of the infographic

In the system

According to the 2013 Ontario Incidence Study of Reported Abuse and Neglect, the numbers of children likely to be investigated as possible victims of child abuse or neglect compared to white children:

  • Aboriginal children
    • 130% more likely to be investigated
    • 15% more likely to have maltreatment confirmed
    • 168% more likely to be taken from their homes and placed into care
  • Black children
    • 40% more likely to be investigated
    • 18% more likely to have maltreatment confirmed
    • 13% more likely to be taken from their homes and placed into care

The connection to poverty

Children at risk are usually from poor families, where families struggle with lack of:

  • food
  • clothing
  • affordable housing

How Legal Aid Ontario can help

Before court papers are served In family court

When children’s aid starts looking into your home life, asking questions and wanting to perform a home inspection.

Clients can get advice or help with:

  • customary care agreement
  • special needs agreement
  • temporary care agreement
  • participation in an Aboriginal alternative dispute resolution process

Client can choose a legal aid lawyer, who will provide up to 10 hours of legal advice and negotiation.

A legal aid lawyer can represent you in court with:

  • crown wardship
  • society wardship
  • supervision order
  • status review
  • openness application
  • third party application

For more information

Call us toll-free at 1-800-668-8258. If possible, have the following available:

  • all papers you have received from children’s aid, the courts, or the police
  • all agreements you have signed or have been asked to sign
  • information about whether you have hired a lawyer


  • Chantal Lavergne, Sarah Dufour, Nico Trocmé, and Marie-Claude Larrivée. “Visible Minority, Aboriginal and Caucasian Children Investigated by Canadian Protective Services.” 2008.

  • Toronto Star. “CAS study reveals stark racial disparities for blacks, aboriginals.” 2016

  • Toronto Star. “Ontario children’s aid societies agree to collect race data.” 2016

  • Fallon, B., Van Wert, M., Trocmé, N., MacLaurin, B., Sinha, V., Lefebvre, R., Allan, K., Black, T., Lee, B., Rha, W., Smith, C., & Goel, Ontario Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect.” 2013.

  • Children’s Aid Society of Toronto. “Addressing disproportionality, disparity and discrimination in child welfare.” July 2015