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Street Youth Legal Services (‘SYLS’) is a unique legal outreach program in Toronto, Canada.  It connects young people experiencing or at-risk of homelessness aged 16 to 24 years old with a lawyer at youth drop‑ins and shelters across the city.

The SYLS lawyer provides:

  • advice, referrals and representation directly to street-involved young people;
  • legal education workshops to young people and persons advocating on their behalf;
  • test case advocacy;
  • law and policy reform submissions.

The SYLS model prevents youth homelessness by:

  • empowering young people with knowledge of their legal rights and the tools to assert them; and
  • helping young people understand and address the broad variety of legal issues that can contribute to homelessness, impact housing stability and prevent a young person from successfully transitioning out of homelessness.

Drop-in Schedule

Legal Services Offered

The SYLS lawyer will provide legal information, advice, and referrals to all street involved youth that contact JFCY directly or through the drop-in’s.

When selecting clients for legal representation, the following factors will be considered when deciding whether a client is able to be represented by the SYLS lawyer:

  • Is the legal problem a chronic problem for the SYLS population?
  • Is the legal problem a problem unique to the SYLS population?
  • Is the legal problem one that the client has no other potential places to obtain representation or co-ordinated legal help?
  • Does the client have specific vulnerabilities (e.g: age/disability/marginalized) that makes it difficult/impossible for them to effectively access other legal help?
  • Does the SYLS lawyer have time/resources/expertise to represent the client?

Educational Workshops for Youth and Agency Staff

The SYLS lawyer provides individually tailored educational workshops on a variety of topics. If you would like to book a workshop with the SYLS lawyer, please contact us.

All workshops include information on how to access legal help and reliable sources of online legal information.

Workshops can also provide detailed information on a variety of legal topics. Common topics include:

  • Police: Your rights when stopped by the police;
  • Criminal Court: What happens when you are charged or ticketed and need to attend court;
  • Youth Records and Criminal Records: How to request them, who can access them, what you can do about them;
  • Employment law: your rights as an employee in the workplace;
  • Housing: your rights if you’re unhoused, living at a shelters, in shared housing or as a tenant;
  • Immigration: an overview of the refugee and other immigration processes and how to get legal help;
  • Leaving Home: your right to attend school, to have your possessions, to receive income support and other issues that arise when you’re kicked out or leave home.

Visit the Legal Rights section and Publications page for information on legal rights

List of Resources for Youth Experiencing Homelessness in Toronto

Reports, Test Cases and Other Law Reform Materials

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