Pro Bono Students Canada

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Who We Are

PBSC is a national pro bono organization with chapters at 23 law schools across the country. Each year about 1,700+ law students provide approximately 140,000 hours of free legal information and services to over 450 organizations, courts, and tribunals across the country. 

Check out the Pro Bono Students Canada website for more information about the organization! 

Why We Do This

Through our program, PBSC law student volunteers are given an opportunity to enhance their legal skills by providing free legal services to individuals and communities facing barriers to justice in Canada. We envision a society with accessible legal systems, where the dignity and rights of every person are upheld. 

The Benefits of Volunteering with PBSC

PBSC offers a range of practical experiences in a wide array of legal settings: PBSC law students are matched with public interest organizations, community groups, legal clinics or other legal service organizations, government agencies, pro bono lawyers and courts, and tribunals.

PBSC supports projects that interest students from all backgrounds: PBSC creates projects in many areas of the law, including administrative, civil, constitutional, corporate non-profit, criminal, environmental, family, human rights, immigration and refugee and all areas of poverty law.

PBSC serves a range of diverse Canadian populations: PBSC student volunteers have an opportunity to work with and serve diverse groups of Canadians.

Executive Committee

1L Representative
The 1L representative functions as a liaison between the Program Coordinators and first-year students. The 1L representative supports the Chapter with student recruitment and volunteer management. The 1L representative will coordinate with the Program Coordinator to raise the Chapter’s profile by advertising PBSC projects and events to first-year students.

Time Commitment: 3-5 hours per week, except for December - students are not expected to work on PBSC initiatives in exam months. Applications for the 2021-2022 1L Representative are due August 27 at 5:00pm, apply HERE.


Communications Coordinator
The Communications Coordinator will work closely with the Program Coordinator to maintain and update all forms of social media. This is a low-commitment role for a student who is interested in participating in the Pro Bono Students Canada community, without the commitment of working on a project with an organization. The student will monitor and document projects and progress to showcase them online.

Time Commitment: 3-5 hours per week, except for December - students are not expected to work on PBSC initiatives in exam months. Applications for the 2021-2022 Communications Coordinator are due August 27 at 5:00pm, apply HERE.

 

2021-2022 Projects:

Kinna-aweya Legal Clinic
Description: One student will assist with client services, which may include assisting clients with
procuring proper identification and providing legal information. As well as connecting clients
with staff lawyers when they require further legal support. In addition, students may also be
given the chance to participate in research, where they will be expected to identify and analyze
legal resources and legislation. Furthermore, students will provide support to ID services which
may include following up with clients, helping obtain identification, and a range of duties that
could be assigned within the area of providing poverty law services.
 
Type of Project: Client Assistance / Legal Research and Writing
Area of Law: Poverty Law, Identification (ID), Social Assistance
How many Students: 1
Prerequisites/Assets: Competency working with Indigenous people, organizational skills,
sensitivity working with clients who may have mental health, addictions and other barriers.
Experience or demonstrated interest in working in a social justice environment with people
living in poverty or with vulnerable populations.
Who Can Apply: 1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls
Link to Organization: https://www.kalc.ca/
 
 
Northwestern Ontario Women’s Centre
Students will assist the Gender Based Violence (GBV) Navigator in supporting and orienting
clients around their legal issues, including those requiring the GBV High Risk Protocol. Students
 
will approach client relations and prepare their work guided by anti-racism, anti-oppression,
trauma-informed, and gender-based analysis frameworks. Students will find and use legal
resources to prepare and present findings on the GBV high-risk protocol in an accessible manner
to distribute as a PowerPoint in a Public Legal Education session with the potential to present the
work at such a clinic or session in the spring.
 
Type of Project: Public Legal Education and Client Assistance
Area of Law: Criminal Law, Family Law, and Social Assistance
How many Students: 1
Prerequisites/Assets: Family law knowledge is preferred, but not necessary. Past work with
survivors of violence or analysis of gender and colonial violence would be an asset. Previous
clinical experience, knowledge of family law and some knowledge of violence against women is
preferred. Capacity for empathy and a non-judgemental attitude are a must. Ability or
willingness to work with and understand the impacts of colonization.
Who Can Apply: 2Ls, 3Ls
Link to Organization: https://nwowomenscentre.org/
 
Thunder Bay and District Injured Workers Support Group
Thunder Bay and District Injured Workers Support Group (TBDIWSG) is looking for 2-3
student volunteers to assist with client intake and case management, and to become familiar with
labour law and employment law issues. Opportunities to assist with clients would be under the
supervision of the members of TBDIWSG. Intake is pre-arranged and will take place by phone
or zoom, depending on client preference.
There is also an opportunity for students to continue work on the Dryden project, which involves
gathering information from workers who were exposed to noxious smoke there as well as
building the website for the Dryden project.
 
Type of Project: Client Assistance / Legal Research and Writing
Area of Law: Employment and Labour Law, Human Rights Law
How many Students: 2-3
Prerequisites/Assets: TBDIWSG is looking for students who have an interest in labour law,
employment law, human rights, and social justice and are interested in addressing systemic
barriers in these areas.
Who Can Apply: 2Ls, 3Ls
 
Environment North
Environment North is looking for 2-3 student volunteers who will conduct legal research on
environmental issues in Northwestern Ontario, such as climate change, nuclear waste facilities,
monitoring wind turbines, industrial developments, class-action litigation taking place in Ontario
and the Trout Lake gravel pit. With this research, students will be asked to create plain language
resources that will be used for produced content and public legal education presentations to
advocate for environmental rights to be presented in the spring.
 
Type of Project: Legal Research and Writing
Area of Law: Environmental Law, Human Rights Law, Indigenous and Aboriginal Law.
How many Students: 2-3
Prerequisites/Assets: An interest in environmental law.
Who Can Apply: 1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls
Link to Organization: http://www.environmentnorth.ca/
 
Newcomer Legal Clinic
The Newcomer Legal Clinic will take on two student volunteers in two placements:
 
Project 1: Access to Justice for Immigrants and Refugees in Northern Ontario Research
The student will conduct research and draft a plain language research publication on access to
justice for immigrants and refugees in Northern Ontario. Topics covered range from temporary
workers permits, rights of refugees, steps to apply for renewal. Topics are subject to change
depending on the needs of the community; however, the research will remain centred on
immigration and refugee law. In addition to this research project, the student will review and
monitor project evaluations to make recommendations for data collection questions that will
support the research publication. The student will have the opportunity to contribute to the
Newcomer Legal Clinic’s online presence.
 
Type of Project: Legal Research and Writing
Area of Law: Administrative Law, Immigration and Refugee Law
How many Students: 1
Prerequisites/Assets: Having taken, is taking, or shows interest in immigration and refugee law.
Competency with excel is necessary.
Who Can Apply: 1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls
Link to Organization: Website is coming soon – visit the Newcomer Legal Clinic at
@newcomerlaw_nwo on Twitter, Newcomer Legal Clinic on Facebook and Instagram.
 
Project 2: Research and Communications
The student will participate in ongoing research and drafting plain language resources for
immigrants and refugees in Northern Ontario. This research will range from immigration
applications to refugee requirements. In addition, the student will develop legal education
workshops on immigration and refugee law that can be replicated by the Newcomer Legal Clinic
staff, volunteers, or other law students in the future. Students will reach out to community
organizations and potential clients to assess the particular needs for public legal education and, in
the winter semester, put a session together based on data collected about community needs.
 
Type of Project: Public Legal Education / Legal Research and Writing
Area of Law: Administrative Law, Immigration and Refugee Law
How many Students: 1
Prerequisites/Assets: Having taken, is taking, or shows interest in immigration and refugee law.
Or experience with or interest in immigration or refugee issues (this could be demonstrated by
family experience as immigrants or refugees motivating interest in the clinic, previous
immigration or refugee work experience such as settlement work or immigration and refugee law
research, undergrad or master’s research in immigration or refugee law issues).
Who Can Apply: 1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls
Link to Organization: Website is coming soon – visit the Newcomer Legal Clinic at
@newcomerlaw_nwo on Twitter, Newcomer Legal Clinic on Facebook and Instagram
 
Thunder Bay and Area Victim Services
Thunder Bay and Area Victim Services (TBAVS) is running two projects.
 
Project 1: Legal Research
For project 1, TBAVS is looking for one student to conduct legal research focusing on victims of
human trafficking, domestic violence, and serious assaults, by regularly monitoring court
websites, legal databases, legislative sites, and media reports for the above topics. With this
research, students will draft a plain language resource guide of the processes to navigate support
for the victims. This resource will be shared on the TBAVS website for victims and their
families to access. There is an opportunity for student volunteers to attend committee sessions
including the Human Trafficking Coalition, Justice Committee, and Victim Witness Assistance
Program at the discretion of the organization supervisor.
 
Type of Project: Legal Research and Writing
Area of Law: Criminal law
How many Students: 1
Prerequisites/Assets: Strong research and writing skills are an asset
Who Can Apply: 2Ls, 3Ls
Link to Organization: http://www.tbayvictimservices.ca/
 
Project 2: Public Legal Education
TBAVS is looking for two students to conduct legal research concerning the new legislation on
human trafficking (Bill C-75) and victims’ rights. Questions for research may include what
human trafficking is, what is the law vs what is happening in practice, where people can seek
help, and what peoples’ rights are. This research will culminate in a public legal education
workshop (in the form of a PowerPoint) to volunteers and stakeholders to make them aware of
and educate them on human trafficking. The workshop will take place virtually at the end of the
students’ volunteer term. The students will also produce a brochure from the research they used
to produce the PowerPoint. There is an opportunity for student volunteers to attend committee
sessions including the Human Trafficking Coalition, Justice Committee, and Victim Witness
Assistance Program at the discretion of the organization supervisor.
 
Type of Project: Public Legal Education
Area of Law: Criminal Law
How many Students: 2
Prerequisites/Assets: Strong research and presentation skills are an asset
Who Can Apply: 1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls
Link to Organization: http://www.tbayvictimservices.ca/
 
Committee to End Woman Abuse
The Committee to End Woman Abuse (the Committee) has created a Violence Against Women
(VAW) Task Force that consists of many different players including Crown Attorneys, and
Justices of the Peace who have collectively identified gaps that exist in the domestic violence
process including, for example, the bail process. The student will conduct legal research into the
domestic violence court process guided by the research prompt: what is mandated by the
government and how is the process currently working in Thunder Bay? With this research, the
student will produce an internal memo that will be used for content on the Committee website.
The work will be done in collaboration with Faye Peterson House and the VAW Task Force.
Students will have the opportunity to contribute their research and findings to the Committee’s
website presence.
 
Type of Project: Legal Research and Writing / Public Legal Education
Area of Law: Criminal Law, Poverty Law, Child Protection and Family Law
How many Students: 1
Prerequisites/Assets: Background in Indigenous issues, women’s issues, child protection laws,
criminal law and/or social justice activism is helpful. Having taken, is taking, or has interest in
family law and refugee law is an asset.
Who Can Apply: 2Ls, 3Ls
Link to Organization: http://www.endwomanabuse.com/
 
Citizens with Disabilities Ontario
Citizens with Disabilities – Ontario (CWDO) is looking for 1-2 students to conduct research into
the protected rights on Ontarians with disabilities starting with the United Nations Convention on
the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and how it is implemented at the provincial and municipal
levels. Students will undertake research, prepare memoranda of law, prepare versions of findings
in plain language for use on b logs, newsletters, or information for the public. Students may have
the opportunity to present their findings in webinars for the public aiming to educate individuals
about their rights and avenues for remedies. They will also have the opportunity to present
summaries of their findings to municipal and provincial committees undertaking consultations on
accessibility for and integration of persons with disabilities.
 
Type of Project: Legal Research and Writing / Public Legal Education
Area of Law: Constitutional (federalism or the Charter), Human Rights, Other (accessibility law
pertaining to people with disabilities in Ontario).
How many Students: 1-2
Prerequisites/Assets: No prerequisites. Students will become very familiar with the human rights
legal framework pertaining to disability rights law.
Who Can Apply: 1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls
Link to Organization: http://cwdo.org/

 

Past Projects: 2020-2021

Kinna-aweya Legal Clinic

Two students will assist with the Awenen Niin Identification program, which assists vulnerable population of Thunder Bay to obtain and keep their identification. These vulnerable populations require this identification to receive access to ample resources. Students’ who participate in this project will assist at the identification clinic, complete applications, gather the required information, provide referrals, meet and follow up with clients, and advocate on behalf of clients to governmental and community agencies on the issues around access to identification. 

Elizabeth Fry Society of Northwestern Ontario

One student will continue the ongoing research and plain language drafting of literature surrounding incarcerated women concerning their rights as inmates, both on remand and while serving sentences. In addition to conducting research, the student will develop and deliver public legal education workshop on prison rights that will be replicated by Elizabeth Fry staff, volunteers, or other law students in the future. The student will also be invited to participate in monthly advocacy committee meetings to build their capacity for board and committee work.

Northwest Ontario Women’s Centre 

One student will assist the centre’s advocacy workers in supporting and orienting clients to their legal issues. The student will work alongside workers during intakes, risk assessments, and safety planning and will have the opportunity to assist clients through court processes, referrals, and community supports. The student will be exposed to the court system and non-legal courthouse advocacy. Additionally, the student will create and update materials that are used at Public legal education seminars on the various issues of navigating the family law system. 

Thunder Bay and District Injured Workers Support Group

Two students will conduct research on the legislation surrounding workers compensation for injured workers. Students will be analyzing the processes that take place in the different provinces across Canada to contribute to a submission to the United Nations. Students will also use the research to create plain language resources and presentations for other stakeholders and service providers within the community, such as the Chamber of Commerce.

Environment North / Canadian Environmental Law Association

Two students will work closely with Environment North and the Canadian Environmental Law Association to conduct research on select environmental topics that are important to Northern Ontario, such as water rights, community sustainability, and nuclear waste disposal sites. Students will have the opportunity to work with other local organizations, including Fort William First Nation. The students will use this research to create public legal education presentations or resource packages for stakeholders within the community.

Canadian Civil Liberties Association

One student will monitor courts in assigned areas in order to analyze legislative or court developments related to civil liberties in Canada and write accessible information for the public. The student will write one blog post per week and will publish their post on the CCLA’s RightsWatch website. Students will also participate in three to four civil liberties “intensives” over the course of the academic year, in conjunction with CCLA Talk Rights students.

Social Media and Events Coordinator

One student will work directly with the Program Coordinator to maintain and update all forms of social media. This is a low-commitment role for a student who is interested in participating in the Pro Bono Students Canada community, without the commitment of working on a project with an organization. The student will monitor and document other student’s projects and progress to showcase it online. The student will also help with event planning.

 

Application Process

2021-2022 Executive Committee applications are due August 27 at 5:00pm. Apply through this
google form. Please email Miranda at probono.law@lakeheadu.ca if you have any questions or
concerns.

Project placement applications open August 30 and will close September 20 at 11:59pm. The
application form will appear here when applications open.

 

Get In Touch!

Facebook: Pro Bono Students Canada Lakehead Chapter

Instagram: pbsclakehead

Twitter: @PBSCLakehead

Email: probono.law@lakeheadu.ca

 

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