Frequently Asked Questions

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 
Q. How do I contact ARCH?
A.
 You can contact us by telephone or TTY (this is for the Deaf, deafened or hard-of-hearing).  We have a local phone number for people in the Greater Toronto Area. We also have a toll-free number for people in other parts of Ontario. 

Our local phone number is 416 482 8255.
Our local TTY number is 416 482 1254.
Our toll free number is 1 866 482 2724.
Our toll free TTY number is 1 866 482 2728.

You can also email us at archlib@lao.on.ca.   

Please note: The sending of an email to ARCH Disability Law Center does not constitute a retainer nor does sending an email mean that ARCH is acting for you.  Please do not forward confidential information to ARCH by email.

You may prefer to communicate another way because of your disability. If so, please let us know. We will do our best to accommodate your request.

Q. What will happen once I contact ARCH?
A.
 We will ask you some questions. We need information about you and the details of your problem.  We need this information to help you.  If we can help you at ARCH, we will book an appointment for you. The appointment could be by telephone or TTY. Please let us know if you need other accommodation for your disability.  If you need more than telephone advice, we will discuss next steps with you.  If we cannot help you, we will try to refer you to a place that can help.

Q. Who works at ARCH?
A.
 Six lawyers work at ARCH, including the Executive Director who is also a lawyer.   These lawyers are experts on laws that affect people with disabilities.  There is also an Information and Referral Worker who is the first person you talk to at ARCH.  She gives you the information you need. She may do this either by making an appointment for you with one of our lawyers, or by referring you to another agency or lawyer who can help.  There are also two Litigation Assistants to keep the office running, and one Office Manager who works on administration.  From time to time, law students work at ARCH.  In particular, students from the Disability Law Intensive Program at York University work on cases and policy issues at ARCH. The students are in their second or third year of Law School.

Q. Does ARCH charge for its services?
A.
 No.  We give some advice to anyone with a disability who contacts our office.  But our services are for low-income people with disabilities.  We have financial eligibility guidelines.  This means that we can only take your case if your income is less than a set amount and if your case will help a lot of people with disabilities.  Please call if you have questions about this. 

Q. How does ARCH deliver its services?
A. ARCH lawyers deliver most of our services. Other staff members assess callers’ problems and refer them to a place that can help. ARCH lawyers find the best legal way to deal with a client’s problem.  This could mean giving  legal advice or information; helping you work your problem out with another person; legal research; help with drafting documents; or representing clients in cases that affect many people with disabilities.

ARCH staff watch for trends in legal problems faced by people with disabilities. They also follow changes in law and policy that affect people with disabilities.  ARCH writes submissions to government, works on test cases, and works with our community to make positive change for people with disabilities.

Q. Are services confidential?
A. 
Yes.  Everyone who works or volunteers at ARCH must keep information confidential.  When you talk to ARCH staff about a legal matter, your discussions with that staff member are private.  Unless you give permission, ARCH staff can’t share your name or anything you tell us with anyone outside of our office. 

Q. How does ARCH accommodate requests for accommodation?
A.
 When you contact ARCH, please let us know right away if you need accommodation during the call because of your disability-related needs.  We will also provide accommodation for appointments.  The accommodation could be an ASL interpreter, an alternate print format, having a support person at the meeting with ARCH or something else.  Please let us know what type of accommodation you need.

Q. What are some examples of concerns that ARCH addresses and how are they addressed?
A.
 Example:  Jill uses attendant services.  Her hours of service are cut.  ARCH might negotiate with the service provider to restore the hours.

Example:  A public school is not allowing a student with a disability to attend a regular class. ARCH may work with the family and negotiate with the school.

Example:  Abdi has a guardian for property. He does not think he needs the guardian anymore. He wants the guardian removed.  ARCH may help convince the court that Abdi does not need a guardian.

Example: Beatriz lives in a supported group home setting. She has been labelled as a person with an intellectual disability.  Beatriz is worried that she has lost her right to make decisions about her own medical treatment. ARCH might help Beatriz to advocate for making her own decisions.

Q. I already have a lawyer. Can I still get help from ARCH?
A. 
If you already have your own lawyer for the legal problem, ARCH cannot speak to you directly. But if your lawyer would like to discuss your case, please ask them to contact us.

Q. Can lawyers consult with ARCH about their cases or about working with a client with a disability?
A.
 ARCH provides a consultation service for lawyers who have clients with disabilities. These lawyers can talk to an ARCH lawyer about clients’ legal questions or how to meet the needs of their clients.  Lawyers can call our Information and Referral Worker to make an appointment for this service.
 
Q. Does ARCH go out and speak to community groups?
A. 
Yes. ARCH gives Public Legal Education sessions to people with disabilities and organizations. Usually these sessions discuss legal rights and new developments in the law. We provide public legal education on topics such as human rights laws, working with clients with disabilities, and the rights of people with disabilities to make their own decisions. Please contact us if your group would like a presentation.  If ARCH cannot speak at your event, we will try to suggest another speaker.

Q. How can you become involved with ARCH?
A.
 There are several ways to get involved and help ARCH work for a world where people with disabilities enjoy social justice and equal participation in society and our communities.

Become a Member!
Members can vote at the ARCH Annual General Meeting.  ARCH often asks members to share information about living with a disability. This helps with our work.  Contact ARCH for an application or sign up on our website at http://www.archdisabilitylaw.ca/?q=arch-membership.

Sign up for the ARCH Alert!
The ARCH Alert is a newsletter written by ARCH staff and guest authors. It gives information about ARCH news & events, as well as legal issues of concern to the disability community.  Contact ARCH to receive the newsletter or sign up on our website. Go to the main page of the ARCH website and then scroll down to the words “Sign up for ARCH Alert & Other Electronic Information from ARCH” on the side of the page. Here is the link to the page: http://www.archdisabilitylaw.ca/ 

Stay Informed
Stay informed and up to date on ARCH news, events, and campaigns, as well as other resources available for people with disabilities. You can do this by visiting our website and checking out ARCH News and Community News. 

Get Involved in Campaigns!
From time to time, ARCH will organize and participate in campaigns on legal issues of concern for people with disabilities.  These campaigns need community support to succeed.  If you become a member or sign up for the ARCH Alert, then you will get the latest information about ARCH campaigns and how you can help.

 Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! 

Contact ARCH or visit our website at http://www.archdisabilitylaw.ca/ to find out how to get involved. 

Q. How can community organizations get involved with ARCH?
A.
 ARCH is committed to working with community organizations to achieve our mutual goals.  There are several ways that community organizations can get involved with ARCH.  These include:

Become a Community Partner!
Non-profit organizations that represent the interests of people with disabilities and share our goals and objectives can become Community Partners.  There are several benefits to becoming an ARCH Community Partner. These include input at consultations, input on ARCH’s annual plan, and a link on the ARCH website. Contact ARCH for an application or download the application from our website at http://www.archdisabilitylaw.ca/?q=community-partners

Get Involved in Campaigns!
From time to time, ARCH will organize or participate in campaigns on legal issues that affect people with disabilities.  These campaigns need community support to succeed.  Community Partners can support ARCH campaigns by sharing and distributing information.

Request a Presentation!
ARCH gives Public Legal Education sessions to people with disabilities. Contact ARCH for more information or to request a presentation.

Stay Informed!
Stay informed and up to date on ARCH news, events, and campaigns, as well as other resources available for people with disabilities. You can do this by visiting our website and checking out ARCH News and Community News. 

Community organizations can contact ARCH or visit our website at http://www.archdisabilitylaw.ca/  for more information about how to get involved.

Q. How is ARCH accountable to the community?
A.
 ARCH staff report to a volunteer board of directors. At least half of the board members are people with disabilities.  The board of directors works with ARCH staff and in consultation with the community. Together we decide where to focus and which activities will meet ARCH goals.  The board of directors ensures that our goals are met, our resources are well managed, and that the interests of people with disabilities are protected and reflected in ARCH’s decisions and policies.

Q. How is ARCH Funded?
A.
 ARCH’s main funder is Legal Aid Ontario.  Legal Aid Ontario funds us to serve people with disabilities throughout Ontario.  ARCH also applies for funding from the City of Toronto’s Community Service and Partnership Program, the AGCO through its Break Open Ticket program, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) and the Law Foundation of Ontario.  ARCH sometimes applies for other grants for specific projects.  Our audited financial statements are available to the public. Please contact ARCH if you would like a copy.  

Q. Does ARCH accept donations? 
A. Yes, ARCH is a registered charity and we appreciate donations.  If you would like to make a donation, please contact our office or visit our website to find out where to mail your cheque.  If you wish to make an on-line donation, visit the CanadaHelps website and then search for ARCH Disability Law Centre. You will get a charitable donation receipt for your donation.  Here is the link to Canada Helps:  https://www.canadahelps.org/

Q. Does ARCH Provide Services in French, American Sign Language (ASL) or in languages other than English?
A.
 Yes.  ARCH provides services in French, ASL or any other language through the use of an interpreter.  When you contact us by phone, TTY or by email, let us know what language you would like to use. If we use interpretation services, these will be free of charge.  You will not have to pay for them.