The Ticket Defence Program (TDP) is a mobile legal clinic seeking to improve access to justice for street-involved and homeless individuals in Ottawa by providing free bilingual legal services and representation for poverty-related offences.

Legal aid or duty counsel services are not available for provincial offices. Through its network of volunteer criminal lawyers and law students, the TDP provides legal advice and represents clients who have received tickets related to provincial offences, City of Ottawa by-laws, and OC Transpo contraventions.

The TDP also provides legal education about the regulation of homelessness through community education and expert commentary provided to media outlets in order to raise awareness about laws that disproportionately affect street-involved and homeless persons.

The TDP partners with the University of Ottawa to provide students with an opportunity to work with lawyers and paralegals providing legal services to TDP clients. To get involved with the TDP, second and third year law students can apply and register through the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law for the course CML2579/CML2584: Accès à la justice stage (NIVEAU I): Clinique Programme de défense des contraventions, which runs from May to April each year. The application process for May 2020 – April 2021 is now closed. Interested students can contact us for more information.

Please see our Services page for more information on eligible tickets and our current intake schedule.


From 2003 to 2020 the TDP collected over 1,300 tickets for:

  • Illegal camping ($100)
  • Soliciting without authority ($95)
  • Possession of liquor in contravention of provincial law under the National Capital Commission Traffic and Property Regulations ($125)
  • Abandoning material likely to become litter under ON’s Environmental Protection Act ($130)
  • Failure to leave under the Trespass to Property Act ($95)
  • Public intoxication under the Liquor License Act (which could result in detention)
  • Ottawa city by-law offences such as failure to provide proof of full transit fare ($125)
  • Vending near a highway ($150)

TDP wishes to acknowledge the financial support of the Law Foundation of Ontario.