The Language Interpreter Services (LIS) program of the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration provides funding for interpreter services to enable service providers to communicate with their clients who have limited English or French language skills, or are deaf, oral deaf, deafened or hard of hearing, who are victims of domestic violence, sexual violence, as well as those who have been exploited through human trafficking.
Language Interpreter Services are available in communities across Ontario 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in over 70 spoken languages. Interpreter services are also available for Deaf persons who use: American Sign Language – English (ASL), or Langue des signes Québécoise – French (LSQ).
Interpreters are trained to provide consecutive and simultaneous interpretation face-to-face and over the telephone. Face-to-face interpretation is provided in one-on-one and group settings.
Language Interpreter Services are provided without cost to eligible service providers.
Under the LIS program, all service providers who work with victims of domestic violence and sexual violence or those exploited through human trafficking are eligible to access language interpreters on behalf of their clients.
Eligible service providers include social, health care and legal services, including hospitals, shelters, Legal Aid Ontario, sexual assault centres and Domestic Violence Court Programs.
The LIS program is delivered through nine non-profit agencies across the province:
Greater Toronto Area
Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic
(Toronto, Etobicoke, North York, East York)
Greater Toronto Area and Central
MCIS Language Solutions
(Scarborough, Durham, Halton, Peel, York, Dufferin, Haliburton, Muskoka, Northumberland, Peterborough, Simcoe, kawartha Lakes)
Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Centre
(Brant, Kitchener, Waterloo, Wellington)
Across Languages London
(London, Bruce, Elgin, Grey, Huron, Lambton, Middlesex, Oxford, Perth, Haldimand-Norfolk)
The Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County, Windsor
(Windsor, Essex, Chatham-Kent)
Immigrant Women Services Ottawa
(Ottawa, Frontenac, Hastings, Lanark, Leeds and Grenville, Lenox and Addington, Prescott and Russell, Prince Edward, Renfrew, Stormont, Dundas and Glengary)
Northeast and Northwest
Thunder Bay Multicultural Association, Thunder Bay
(Algoma, Cochrane, Manitoulin, Nipissing, Parry Sound, Greater/Grand Sudbury, Timiskaming; Kenora, Rainy River, Thunderbay)
American Sign Language (ASL) – English, Langue des signes Québécoise (LSQ) – French
Canadian Hearing Society
(All regions in Ontario)
Each agency recruits and maintains a roster of qualified interpreters who complete a recognized training program and pass a language proficiency test. Interpreters are also trained on sector-specific terminology. The work of interpreters is guided by rigorous program delivery standards and a Code of Ethics as set out by the National Standard Guide for Community Interpreting Services (NSGCIS) for spoken languages, and the Association of Visual Language Interpreters of Canada (AVLIC) for visual languages.
Interpreters are screened for their English language proficiency, motivation, attitude and commitment. Following this initial assessment, candidates become part of our agencies’ roster only if they successfully meet all the requirements outlined below.
For Spoken Language Interpreters:
Successful completion of the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade’s (MCIIT)) approved Interpreter Language Skills Assessment Tool (ILSAT). See more details about Language Proficiency Test.
For Visual Language Interpreters:
Successful completion of the Ontario Interpreting Services screening process. See more details about the OIS process.
Service providers should contact an agency that delivers interpreter services under the LIS program in their area.
For information on the geographic coverage, services and eligibility criteria, visit this page: Geographic Scope of Agencies.
Free Language Interpreter Services