Toronto Area Legal Resources

As rules and regulations pertaining to border crossings into the United States have shifted since January 2017, you may be considering what legal remedies are available to you in the event of a crossing that did not go as planned. Our research team, with the assistance of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA), has compiled the below list of legal resources.

The Canadian Cross Border Legal Coalition (CCBLC)

The CCBLC is working to locate individuals who have been affected by the immigration-related Executive Orders (travel bans) signed by President Trump. The CCBLC can help you determine whether you need legal assistance for your case if you have been denied entry to the US because of the travel bans, and can help you find a lawyer. 

If you need help, send an email to indicating your first name, your current location and your phone number, and a legal professional will contact you as soon as possible. If you have been denied entry at the border, they will also ask to record the details of your experience as part of their work to Fight the Ban in Court. You do not have to agree, and they will provide you with their services regardless.

Please also be sure to consult up-to-date information about travelling to the United States, found on CCBLC’s Know Your Rights page:

The Law Society of Upper Canada 

If you are a Canadian resident and would like to consult with a lawyer after an experience at the border, this service allows you to request a free, 30-minute consultation with either a lawyer or paralegal. Please note that only the initial consultation is free.

The Law Society Referral Service is available at: or 416-947-3300.

Human Rights Legal Support Centre

The Centre provides legal advice and assistance to individuals across Ontario who would like to resolve a dispute involving rights protected by the Human Rights Code, file an application to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, take an application to mediation or to a hearing before the Tribunal, and enforce an Order of the Tribunal if the Tribunal finds that you have experienced discrimination. 

The Centre is located at 180 Dundas Street West, 8th Floor, Toronto, Ontario, M7A 0A1 and can be reached by phone at 416-597-4900 Monday-Wednesday and on Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. The Centre can also be reached on Thursday from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Legal Aid Ontario

Legal Aid Ontario provides free legal help for low-income individuals in criminal law, family law, and refugee law. They can be reached at 416-979-1446 or toll free at 1-800-668-8258. Please see their website for more information:

An index of Community Legal Clinics is available via the following site:

Toronto Area Counseling Services

Other Resources

For additional resources, please call 211 to speak to an operator who can direct you to community and social services in your area.

Crossing borders can be a traumatic experience. Talking about it can be traumatic, too. Below is a list of Toronto-area counseling and legal resources that our research participants and the general public may find helpful. Please let us know of any additional resources we can add to our list.

Mental Health Helplines

Helplines offer access to emotional support from the safety and security of your home. Callers can express their thoughts and feelings in confidence.

1) Distress Centre: (416) 408-HELP (4357)
2) Gerstein Centre: (416) 929-5200
3) Good2Talk: 1-866-925-5454 (This service is especially for post-secondary students).

Texting Service

This service allows you to access emotional support from your texting device.
1) ONTX: Text is available from your mobile phone from 2pm to 2am daily and is accessed by dialling 741741.

In-person Counselling

The following centres offer walk-in services for those wishing to have a face-to-face session with a counsellor. Please visit the listed websites for more information about schedule and location.

1) What’s Up Walk-in: services are offered at 6 locations across the GTA for young adults under the age of 24 and 29 (at East Metro Youth Services and the Griffin Centre). See:

2) Woodgreen Community Services: walk-in counselling is offered on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings to address a wide range of concerns. (416) 572-3575 See:

3) Family Service Toronto: single-session counselling is offered with a trained counsellor or psychotherapist. (416) 595-9618 

Electronic Devices and Your Rights at the Border

Learning Resources

For additional information, please visit The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association’s (BCCLA) website on your rights at the border.

What are your rights at the border when it comes to electronic devices? Do border guards have the authority to search your computer, phone or camera? What do CSBA officers do when they search a device?

The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) has put together a handbook on your electronic rights at the border. This handbook is meant to help you make sense of the current state of play with respect to electronic searches at the Canadian border and at US preclearance zones in Canada, and to provide tools to protect your privacy when traveling with electronic devices.

What the Guide Does

1) Rights at the Canadian border – What can and can’t be done by a CBSA officer when they decide to search your electronic devices?

2) CBSA policies – What exactly do CBSA officers do when they are searching your electronic devices?

3) Rights at U.S. preclearance areas – What can and can’t be done by a preclearance officer when they decide to search your electronic devices?

4) Best practices – What steps can you take to keep your data private and secure?

5) I’ve been searched! – What should you do if your electronic devices have been searched by the CBSA?