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Family Legal Health Program

The IWK Family Legal Health Program (FLHP) helps by providing legal assistance to IWK Health patients and their families, improving their access to the justice system, and in turn improving their health and the well-being of their families.

How we help

Patients of the IWK, or an immediate family member or guardian of a child who is a current patient of IWK Health, are eligible to apply for the FLHP if:

  • they have a legal issue that is likely to affect their health or general well-being.
  • they have a combined family income, before taxes, of less than $75,000 per year.
  • they are not able to access Legal Aid.
  • the legal interest(s) of the family member is not otherwise harmful to the patient.

If you’re eligible, ask an IWK Social Worker or an IWK staff member about a referral to the FLHP. Any IWK staff member can help a patient or family apply for the program. Information for IWK staff is located on the Social Work site on Pulse (IWK's intranet).

Completed applications are sent to the IWK Social Work Office, where an IWK FLHP Liaison Social Worker will review the application and send it to the Legal Information Society of Nova Scotia (LISNS). LISNS will then confirm family income and assess the possible legal issue. If appropriate, LISNS will send the application to McInnes Cooper or Pink Larkin. The law firm will determine if they are able to represent you as part of the free FLHP. If you qualify for the FLHP, you will be assigned a lawyer from the law firm of McInnes Cooper or Pink Larkin who will work with you to try to resolve the legal problem.

LISNS may also provide general legal information if you are not eligible for referral to an FLHP law firm.

The areas of law that FLHP may cover include the following:

  • Adult capacity and decision making
  • Education
  • Employment
  • Immigration
  • Access to healthcare
  • Housing
  • Access to government programs
  • Tax
  • Wills & estates
  • Human rights

If you’re not sure if your concern might be a legal issue, please speak to an IWK Social Worker.

Areas of law not covered by FLHP include medical malpractice or any other complaints against hospitals or care providers; family law (e.g. disputes over custody, visitation rights, separation, divorce or division of property); child welfare (e.g. representing parents on child protection issues); representing parents or youth on criminal charges; and representing patients or family members in personal injury lawsuits.

If you qualify for help from the IWK FLHP, you will not have to pay for the lawyers time. You will, however, have to pay any disbursements the law firm may incur as a result of representing you on your legal issue—disbursements are out-of-pocket expenses paid by the law firm on the client’s behalf.

Accessing this Clinic, Program or Service

How to apply for the FLHP

An IWK social worker or other IWK health care provider can help a patient or family apply for the program.

  • Information for IWK staff is located on the Social Work site on Pulse (IWK's intranet).

General health-related legal information

A Family Legal Health Information Clinic is often offered on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month in the Ronald McDonald Family Room in the Goldbloom Pavillion on the main IWK Health site.

A representative from Legal Information Services of Nova Scotia is available to provide legal information at these drop-in clinics.   

*please note, these dates are subject to change