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Legal Matters

The Canadian legal system protects you in many different areas of your life. Some newcomers might face legal problems because they don’t know about law in Canada and Canadian legal system. In this section you will find information about your legal rights and responsibilities and how to get legal help when you need.

Emergency Services

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Who do I call in an emergency?

An emergency is when you are in danger or can see someone else is in danger and needs help. An emergency is also when you see someone commit a crime and would like to report it to the police.

In an emergency, you can call 911. Never call 911 in a non-emergency situation as this ties up the operators and prevents them from dealing with real emergencies. You can contact the police for non-emergency situations at a different number.

When should I call 911?

You should call 911 to:

  • Stop a crime
  • Report a fire
  • Save a life
  • In any emergency situation
  • Whenever police, fire or ambulance assistance is needed immediately

The 911 operator will ask you some basic questions such as:

  • "Where is this happening?"
  • "When did this happen?"
  • "What is happening now?"
  • "Who is involved?"
  • "Did you see any weapons or was there any mention of weapons?"

When you call:

  • Remain calm and speak clearly.
  • Say what you need: ambulance, police, firefighters.
  • Describe what is happening.
  • Give your exact location (for example, 263 Main Street, Apt. 216).
  • Give your name and telephone number.
  • Provide more information if you are asked for it.
  • Do not hang up until you are told it is OK to do so.

Calling 911 when you don’t speak English

Multi-language translation services are available through 911 when needed. 911 has access to interpreters who speak more than 140 languages.

Ask for service in your language if it is difficult to explain the situation or understand the operator.

Other Things to Know:

If you need an ambulance to take you or someone else to a hospital, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care will pay for most of the cost. You will have to pay a small fee ($45). If the doctor who sees you at the hospital does not think that ambulance service was necessary, you must pay the full cost ($240 or more).

If you are very sick or injured but do not need an ambulance, go to the emergency department of the nearest hospital. Take your Health Card (OHIP) and other private health insurance plan documentation with you.

For more information:

(1) Ontario Hospital Association, Hospital Locator:

(2) Toronto Police Service, List of Municipal Police Services:

(3) Ontario Provincial Police (OPP):