Access to Justice Fund

Funded by cy-près awards, the Access to Justice Fund is a unique national fund that provides grants to nonprofit organizations across Canada.

The Access to Justice Fund (ATJF) is a unique national fund that provides grants to nonprofit organizations across Canada.

The Foundation created the ATJF in 2009 after receiving a $14.6 million cy-près award in Cassano v TD Bank. (Courts make cy-près awards when it is not practical to distribute all the proceeds of a class action to individual plaintiffs.) Since then, the Foundation has received additional cy-près awards. This gave us the ability to make the ATJF a permanent fund that is available to receive cy-près awards on an ongoing basis and to develop new calls for applications with these funds.

The ATJF makes national calls for applications in priority areas and areas determined by the direction of the cy-près awards received. The themes vary from call to call. The grant amounts have traditionally been up to $100K.

The ATJF has made grants in:

  • Public legal education, triage, brief services, and referrals (including tools to assist self-represented litigants); Indigenous Peoples’ legal needs; refugees (2020)
  • Family law (2018)
  • Investor rights (2016 and 2020)
  • Children and youth; consumers; public legal education, intake and referral; racialized communities; refugees (2016)
  • Indigenous people’s legal needs (2015)
  • Consumer rights; domestic violence; Aboriginal legal issues; linguistic and rural barriers to access to justice; self-help (2010)

The Foundation works with the Association of Canadian Law Foundations (ACLF) and a national consultation group to provide input into possible new directions for the ATJF based on their expert knowledge and geographically diverse perspectives. The ACLF contributed significant knowledge and expertise to the Foundation’s grantmaking. The consultation group membership includes a justice of the Court of Appeal for Ontario, a former Chair of the Foundation, the Executive Directors of the Alberta and British Columbia law foundations, and a law school dean.


See the class actions that have resulted in cy-près awards for the ATJF

Access to Justice Fund Report 2017

Access to Justice Fund Report 2017

From 2010 to this report in 2017, the Foundation has made more than 185 grants for over $20.4 million from the Access to Justice Fund. These grants have had a profound impact on access to justice in Ontario and nationally.

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Access to Justice Fund report 2013

Access to Justice Fund report 2013

The Foundation’s Access to Justice Fund has awarded a large number of grants since its launch in May 2010 making this an appropriate time to recognize and report on what has been achieved.

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Open call for applications

See The Law Foundation of Ontario’s open calls for applications to learn about the granting opportunities you can apply for now.

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Grants made

Search The Law Foundation of Ontario’s list of grants made since 2012 that have supported programs and projects to advance access to justice for Ontarians.

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News & stories

Find The Law Foundation of Ontario’s latest news and grantee stories. Browse through the list, search by a type of news, or search for a specific article title.

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