Lawyer Referral Service of the Law Society of Upper Canada: 1-900-565-4577. There is a $6 fee but you get 30 minutes of free consultation.
Legal Line: Search on-line for lawyers in your area. They have "frequently asked questions" about 28 legal areas including criminal law, family law, immigration law, and legal aid.
Provincial Correctional System
These links pertain to provincially sentenced women.
Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services: The arm of the government which administers community-based sentences and those that involve prison terms of less then two years.
Ontario Parole and Earned Release Board: The body that hears applications from adult provincial inmates for full parole release which is possible after one-third of (longer) sentences have been served. They can grant or deny applications, set conditions of parole, and make decisions about revoking parole. Anyone released by the Board is subject to parole supervision until the end of her sentence (warrant expiry).
Omdudsman Ontario: Hears complaints about provincial government services such as those offered by the Ministry of Public Safety and Security and the Ontario Parole and Earned Release Board. The Ombudsman is the "last resort", however, and you must exhaust all other avenues of complaint before they with accept a complaint. For example, the first avenue of complaints about the OPERB is the Chair of the Board.
Ontario Human Rights Commission: Administers the Human Rights Code of Ontario which discourages discrimination in employment, accommodation, goods, services and facilities, and membership in vocational associations and trade unions. There are sixteen grounds of discrimination: race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed (religion), sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, handicap, age, marital status, family status, same-sex partnership status, receipt of public assistance and record of offences. You can contact them toll-free at 1-800-387-9080.
Federal Correctional System
These links pertain to federally sentenced women.
Correctional Service of Canada: The agency responsible for administering the sentences of adults sentenced to two years or greater. They operate prisons and supervise offenders on parole and other forms of conditional release.
National Parole Board: The agency which reviews applications for conditional release (i.e., parole) from federal inmates and has the authority to grant, deny, cancel, terminate or revoke day parole and full parole. They also review applications for some temporary absences (i.e., passes) and detention during period of statutory release. See their web site about how to apply for a pardon.
Office of the Correctional Investigator: As Ombudsman for federal offenders, it is an independent avenue of redress for offender complaints and it makes recommendations to the Commissioner of Correctional Service of Canada and the Solicitor General about areas of concern raised in complaints.
Canadian Human Rights Commission: Hears complaints of discrimination by federal departments and agencies such as Correctional Services of Canada. The Canadian Human Rights Act says that people should not be disadvantaged because of age, sex(including pregnancy and childbearing), race, colour, national or ethnic origin, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability (including dependence on alcohol or drugs), pardoned criminal conviction or sexual orientation.
Federal Court of Canada: The court of last resort for judicial review of decisions of federal penitentiary and paroling bodies.
General Information on Legal Issues
Support and Services
Apply to the Parole Board of Canada for pardons to expunge your criminal record from federal data bases.
For links to Elizabeth Fry Societies in Ontario, see our members page.