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. Application info for the 2022-2023 1L Representative position is coming soon!

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. Application info for the 2022-2023 Communications Coordinator position is coming soon!


2022-2023 Projects:

Kinna-aweya Legal Clinic
Type of Project: Client Assistance
Who Can Apply: 1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls
Link to Organization:
Project Description:
This returning project provides students with the opportunity to help people access
identification documents and provide legal information. KALC is passionate about addressing
systemic barriers that many clients face when accessing identification. Many clients that access
support at KALC live in poverty and require proper identification to access basic needs like food
banks, Ontario Works, Ontario Disability Support Program, housing, health care, etc. This
project helps clients obtain proper identification while providing an opportunity to identify and
address other unmet legal needs and resources.
Kinna-aweya does not provide ID clinics as a regular service but provides this as they get
student support from PBSC and elsewhere. There is a substantive need for this service in the
community; therefore, the clinic advertises that this service is offered as resources are available.
Student volunteers and clinic staff will coordinate times that work for both parties to let the
community know when this service is offered (from October to March).
Students will be expected to be available to assist with clients’ services. This role will
include helping people obtain identification and offering legal information and referrals. Students
may also be asked to connect clients with staff lawyers. Part of providing support to the ID clinic
will also have students following up with clients and a range of other tasks that arise when
providing services in poverty law.
Northwestern Ontario Women’s Centre
Type of Project: Client Assistance and Public Legal Education
Who Can Apply: 1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls (students with specific interest in social justice are encouraged to
Link to Organization:
Project Description:
This project is a returning partnership with the NWOWC that will help support the Gender-
Based Violence Navigator with client assistance and public legal education. The focus of the
project will be on providing client assistance with opportunities to work collaboratively with
organization staff on existing PLE projects where time permits.
Client Assistance: The student will be responsible for helping support and orient clients
concerning their legal issues, which include the GBV High Risk Protocol. Involvement for
providing client assistance for the PBSC student will include researching gender-based issues in
the law to provide clients with legal information. The student will also assist the GBV navigator
with court documents for clients. In addition, the student will observe court events on Zoom and
provide insight to the organization on how to best inform clients.
It is important to note that students will not be providing legal advice or assistance but will be
exposed to the court system and non-legal courthouse advocacy. This work will always be done
under proper supervision and support.
Public Legal Education: The PLE work will centre on informing and supporting women navigate
legal issues. The NWOWC already does a lot of PLE work within the community. Therefore, the
student will assist with these projects where needed. The PLE topics that may be worked on
include information about domestic violence, how to flee situations of violence, knowing your
rights in family law proceedings or navigating sexual assault proceedings in criminal law. Any
PLE project that NWOWC commits to focuses on informing women of their rights as they move
through the justice system with particular focus on criminal and family law.
Thunder Bay and District Injured Workers Support Group
Type of Project: Legal Research and Writing
Who Can Apply: 2Ls, 3Ls (specific interest in students with a background or interest in labour
and employment law)
Project Description:
This project is a returning research partnership concerning the Dryden Project. The
Dryden Project involves gathering information from workers who were exposed to noxious
smoke. The project is supported by a committee that collects, analyzes and organizes stories to
make those in positions of power aware of the experiences of workers and their families with a
goal to help them access justice for the harm they have endured. In addition, the project includes
the maintenance and building of the Dryden Project website to continue to raise awareness and
support injured workers.
Students will be expected to use resources available to them to complete research and
prepare findings in an accessible manner. The student volunteers will also be expected to
continue gathering surveys from the Dryden workers to continue this advocacy. This research
will be conducted through virtual interviews with the workers. TBDIWSG has already created a
list of questions and has acquired contact information. The responses collected will help shape
the project’s website and future advocacy.
Environment North
Type of Project: 2 Legal Research and Writing Projects
Who Can Apply: 1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls
Link to Organization:
Project Description:
The first project will continue the current work on nuclear waste facilities. This research
project works to understand current nuclear waste storage, policies affecting nuclear waste and
how northern Ontario is specifically impacted by nuclear waste disposal. There is an immense
lack of understanding of the geography and population of northern Ontario. Therefore, often
policies will assume this region is sufficient for nuclear waste disposal without proper
knowledge of the area. Therefore, this research works to answer the ultimate question of what
policies allow nuclear waste disposal in northern Ontario and what are the impacts of this
The second research project will work to answer the question: what are the legal avenues
and/or precedents to require an existing industrial mining project not to contribute to climate
change? This project is inspired by the community’s situation on Lake Superior. Lake Superior is
the least polluted Great Lake. However, the improvements made in recent decades could be
undermined if new or potential industrial and/or mining development pollutes land and water in
the Lake Superior watershed. Canada, the European Union and the United States have committed
to reducing carbon-related emissions in Canada by 45% by 2030; this research project will have
students engaged in how this might be actualized.
Both projects will provide students with potential opportunities to present this work to the
board and community members interested in environmental law.
Newcomer Legal Clinic
Type of Project: Client Assistance, Public Legal Education, Legal Research and Writing
Who Can Apply: 1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls
Link to Organization:
Project Description:
The law student volunteer will be supporting the supervising lawyer at the Newcomer
Legal Clinic by conducting tasks related to an evaluation of and report on the Clinic's work. For
example, tasks may include interviewing former clinic clients and local service providers,
compiling and summarizing evaluation data, researching access to justice for immigrants and
refugees in northern and rural areas, drafting sections of an evaluation report, and creating
information about the Clinic's work to share on social media and/or our website. This research
will help the clinic and the student draft a final report together.
If there is enough time left in the year, the student may be asked to help create general
orientation information about the clinic. This would include brochures and pamphlets concerning
services offered by the clinic and how to access them.
Thunder Bay and Area Victim Services
Type of Project: 1 Legal Research and Writing Project, 1 Public Legal Education Project
Who Can Apply: 1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls
Link to Organization:
Project Description:
Legal Research and Writing Project
This legal research and writing project will examine a non-profit’s ability to gift and
provide incentives—for example, health care to people accessing their services. The project will
centre around answering critical questions like what is legally allowed for compensation for
volunteers (for example, can you pay volunteers an honorarium)? What is the legal definition of
a volunteer in a non-profit? What are volunteer rights? Additionally, the research will explore the
Disconnect Policy and its applicability to non-profit organizations. The project will be structured
as a legal memo that is designed to inform TBAVS of their rights and responsibilities.
It is important to note that this research is not the creation of policies for TBAVS but an
opportunity to learn more about volunteer rights and navigating legalities within non-profit
organizations. In other words, this research is not providing legal advice on how TBAVS should
respond to creating their policies but instead provides the organization with general, objective
legal information on relevant legislation.
Public Legal Education Project
TBAVS is interested in continuing to provide the best information concerning volunteer
responsibilities when responding to situations of crisis. The project will work to understand
volunteer legislation and rights to better inform volunteers on how they can act when entering
situations of tragedy. The goal is to provide volunteers with an understanding of their rights,
relevant legislation, and when actions might cross the boundary of how they can support. The
project will be formatted as a PowerPoint presentation that can be given to future and current
volunteers. The ultimate goal of the PLE is to equip volunteers with an understanding of their
rights when responding to situations of crisis.
Important to note that this project is not asking students to provide legal advice to
TBAVS volunteers but to provide volunteers with legal information concerning their rights and
responsibilities. Students will not be presenting or facilitating workshops. The volunteers will be
responsible for creating the presentation for use by and distribution of the organization.
Citizens with Disabilities Ontario
*Joint-Project with the University of Toronto*
Type of Project: Legal Research and Writing, Public Legal Education
Who Can Apply: 1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls
 Link to Organization:
Project Description:
Students will undertake research, prepare memoranda of law, prepare versions of findings
in plain language for use on blogs, newsletters, or information for the general 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 findings to municipal and provincial committees undertaking consultations
on accessibility for and integration of persons with disabilities.
Students will be able to choose their research topic from a variety of issues which the
Board of CWDO would like to investigate. Research may build on previous work or explore new
topics. Students’ research may provide a foundation for CWDO to take further action regarding a
particular issue.
Ontario Native Women’s Association
Type of Project: 1 Legal Research and Writing, 1 Client Assistance
Who Can Apply: Legal Research and Writing (1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls), Client Assistance (2Ls, 3Ls)
Link to Organization:
Project Descriptions:
Legal Research and Writing
This legal research and writing project will help ONWA support both survivors and those
facing charges of sexual violence navigate the court system. This project aims to provide people
with legal information pertaining to their rights in criminal law. The research will be presented
through accessible brochures/pamphlets for client use with specific care towards the needs of
Indigenous people.
These resources will help people understand their rights and build knowledge of what to
expect as they move through the court system. These resources must be created through a
trauma-informed lens that speaks to the unique needs of Indigenous individuals. These resources
will provide general legal information and prepare individuals for potential re-victimization that
can happen in court, given the nature of cases of sexual violence. To support individuals through
this process, brochures must also include meaningful self-care for people seeking legal help for
sexual assault.
Client Assistance
This client assistance project will allow a student volunteer to help write bail letters as a
part of ONWA's heavy involvement in Gladue programs. Gladue reports are culturally grounded
and individually focused and highlight each individual's resiliency. These reports are critical for
criminal justice to increase Indigenous peoples' access to justice and address the prevalent issue
of over-incarceration of Indigenous people, in this case, Indigenous women, in Canada.
Student volunteers will not be providing legal advice in these letters. The goal of the
letters is to create an opportunity for the voices of Indigenous women to be heard in criminal
court. These letters are a necessary form of advocacy for Indigenous women as they ensure the
experiences of Indigenous women are cared for during criminal court proceedings like
sentencing. The writing process will be guided by the supervising lawyer and two other lawyers
involved in the program, where lawyer supervisors will always give final approval.
Law Student Society of Ontario
*Joint-Partnership between many Ontario Universities.
Type of Project: Legal Research and Writing
Who Can Apply: 1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls
Link to Organization:
Project Description:
The Law Students’ Society of Ontario is an advocacy body representing undergraduate
(JD) law students at Ontario law schools. Their goal is to articulate student needs and concerns to
the organizations that govern the legal profession, the universities that administer legal
education, and government bodies that regulate post-secondary education and financial aid. 
This year, the focus of the research project housed at Bora Laskin Faculty of Law will
engage with issues concerning the LGBTQ2S+ community. Interested students will have the
opportunity to create a meaningful project that centres on the unique experiences of this
community in the legal field. For example, the research may engage with issues relating to
access to justice or student mental health. This project will better help the LSSO support the
LGBTQ2S+ student community.
Nishnawbe-Aski Legal Services
Type of Project: Client Assistance
Who Can Apply: 1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls
Link to Organization:
Project Description:
Students will be working on a client assistance project with aspects of public legal
education where time allows.  
The primary focus of student volunteers will be client assistance by providing support to
staff lawyers. This project will include researching case law and policies relevant to family and
criminal law regarding their clients' needs. The bulk of the client assistance will be conducted
through close research to help staff lawyers support their work with their clients. Most of the
research focus will be housed in criminal and family law. Students will not be providing legal
advice but will provide legal information through their research findings to support the work of
the staff lawyers.  
Students will be involvement in public legal education projects if time permits. While the
client assistance work will be prioritized, students may be able to support PLE work concerning
NAN Legal's Anti-Racism and Anti-Hate and Gladue projects.  
All work will remain under the direct supervision of staff lawyers.
Lakehead University Community Legal Clinic
Type of Project: Legal Research and Writing
Who Can Apply: 1Ls, 2lS, 3lS
Link to Organization:
Project Description #1: 
This legal research and writing project will have a student look into locations where the
clinic could host public legal education sessions and ID clinics in the region. Currently, the clinic
supports Thunder Bay and the surrounding area; however, there is a need to understand how the
clinic can best provide support to communities outside of Thunder Bay, where the clinic is
housed. The research project will have students answering questions such as where in the district
can the clinic offer ID clinics, would these clinics need to be overnight, and what kind of
equipment/technology these locations have.

This research project aims to provide the clinic with information on how it can increase
its presence and services within the region.
Type of Project: Client Assistance
Who Can Apply: 1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls

Project Description #2:
This project will have the student volunteer reviewing birth certificate registrations from
ID clinics hosted by the clinic during the summer months. The clinic receives many applications
during each free ID clinic and requires a student to help reach out to clients to finish the
application process with the goal of successfully obtaining the birth certificate and providing it to
the client. During the summer, applications were sent to various provincial governments for
approval and follow up will be required on an ongoing basis starting in the fall. The student will
review the status of these applications and contact clients for the next steps. The student will also
be able to assist new clients with completing birth certificate applications.
Application Process

Applications for this year’s PBSC student volunteers will open on September 1st, 2022, at 9:00 am and close on September 19th, 2022, at 5 pm. The link to the application will be posted on our Facebook and Instagram pages and circulated through the bulletin and student emails.

Please email if you have questions about the application or application process.


Get In Touch!

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Twitter: @PBSCLakehead



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