Pro Bono Students Canada

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Who We Are

PBSC is a national pro bono organization with chapters at 22 law schools across the country. Each year about 1,500 law students provide approximately 120,000 hours of free legal information and services to nearly 400 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.


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!


2023-2024 Projects:

Lakehead University Community Legal Clinic
Type of Project: Client Assistance (1-2 positions)
In-Person Placements
Who Can Apply: 1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls
Link to Organization:

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. This project requires students to help reach out to clients to finish the application process to successfully obtain the birth certificate and provide 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.

Thunder Bay and District Injured Workers Support Group
Type of Project: Legal Research and Writing (2 positions) and Public Legal Education (1 position)
Hybrid/Remote Placement
Who Can Apply: 1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls (specific interest in students with a background or interest in labour and employment law)
Link to Organization:

Project #1: Legal Research and Writing
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 to help them access justice for the harm they have endured. In addition, the project includes maintaining and building the Dryden Project website to continue raising awareness and supporting injured workers. Students will be expected to use available resources to complete research and prepare findings in an accessible manner. The student volunteers will also 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.

Project #2: Public Legal Education
This new project will aid the TBIDWSG in creating educational content regarding the Dryden Project. The student in this role will work with both the research students and the organization to develop Public Legal Educational documents that can be presented by the student and used by the organization in the future. This can include but is not limited to brochures, posters, webinars, and in-person and virtual presentations. This student will use the information collected over the last two years and the information collected during this school year to create PLE resources in consultation with the organization. The student may also aid the organization in circulating or presenting these PLE materials.

Northwestern Ontario Womens Centre
Type of Project: Client Assistance and Public Legal Education (1 position)
In-Person Placement
Who Can Apply: 1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls
Link to Organization:

This project is a returning partnership with the NOWC 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 in 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 gain exposure to both legal processes 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 NOWC 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, focusing on criminal and family law.

Kinna-aweya Legal Clinic
Type of Project: Client Assitance and Legal Research (1 position)
Who Can Apply: 1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls
In-Person Placement
Link to Organization:

This returning project will allow students to perform client assistance and intake-based tasks as the clinic requires. Kinna-aweya Legal Clinic provides Tenant Duty Counsel services daily and regularly provides intake and case representation to community members in various areas of poverty law. Students will support the casework of lawyers and paralegals in the office. Students may have the opportunity to meet directly with clients, draft correspondence, collect and prepare evidence, research legal issues, and assist with file management. Students may participate in various clinic projects, including ID services, volunteer income tax clinics, public legal education, and other community initiatives. There will also be opportunities for students to observe hearings at the Landlord and Tenant Board.

Legal Advocates for Natures Defence (LAND)
Type of Project: Legal Research and Client Assistance (2-4 positions)
Remote Placement
Who Can Apply: 2Ls and 3Ls
Link to Organization:

Legal Advocates for Nature's Defence (LAND) is an organization dedicated to advancing access to Justice. We advocate for the rights of nature while honouring Indigenous sovereignty in law and policy and provide education about environmental laws and legal processes.

Project #1
Working with the Friends of the Attawapiskat River, an Indigenous grassroots organization based in Treaty 9 working to protect the Attawapiskat River and its watersheds from the proposed Ring of Fire mineral development, the student will support the research, drafting, submission and potential presentation of legal submissions to federal and provincial governments. The students will be asked to synthesize outcomes and recommendations made by the Friends on the more than five active provincial and federal environmental/impact assessments for the proposed development. The student will also research Canada-based precedents for Indigenous-led impact assessments.

Project #2
Small modular reactors (SMRs) are a new form of nuclear technology being proposed throughout Canada for on-grid and off-grid power supply. Many communities, including First Nations, who will be among the first to "host" an SMR, oppose the development and construction on their territory. This project will involve:
(1) Researching and compiling resolutions and public statements (i.e. from the Assembly of FirstNations and individual First Nations) regarding the use of SMRs on their lands;
(2) Creating a spreadsheet tracking the timelines of SMRs proposed in Ontario, potentially Canada. As background, for many years, SMR vendors and the Ontario Government have been making announcements about when SMR projects will be "online." Statements from the vendors, governments and the World Nuclear Industry Status Report will help track prior statements and commitments regarding timelines;

Environment North
Type of Project: 2 Legal Research and Writing Projects (2 positions)
Remote Placement
Who Can Apply: 1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls
Link to Organization:

Project #1
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 impacted explicitly by nuclear waste disposal. There is an immense lack of understanding of the geography and population of northern Ontario. Therefore, policies often 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 disposal.

Project #2
This research aims to gather information regarding Avalon Advanced Materials' proposal to mine lithium from the site at Separation Rapids in the Kenora District, to transport it and process it in a refining plant located on the shore of Lake Superior in Thunder Bay. Specifically, Environment North is interested in the potential impact on the environment of the mining and refinery projects and in ensuring that environmentally sustainable processes are used to mitigate the impact. The research will also identify the governing legislation and regulations applicable to granting permits and approvals, whether the projects are subject to a Provincial Environmental Assessment or Federal Impact Assessment and any opportunities for public input into the regulations and assessments.

Mino-Waabandan Inaakonigewinan Indigenous Law and Justice Institute
(Bora Laskin Faculty of Law)
Type of Project: Public Legal Education and Client Assistance (1-2 positions)
Hybrid Placement
Who Can Apply: 2Ls and 3Ls

The Mino-Waabandan Inaakonigewinan Indigenous Law and Justice Institute is an academic research unit based out of the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law. The Institute supports access to justice for Indigenous people and works to renew Indigenous laws. The Institute conducts research, develops and delivers public legal education, and develops curriculum. With instruction and guidance from the Institute leadership, the student volunteer will develop public legal education materials related to (1) the Institute's activities, (2) Indigenous law (as opposed to Aboriginal law), and (3) renewing Anishinaabe Inaakonigewin. The student volunteer will also engage in outreach to arrange and deliver public legal education presentations both in-person and on Zoom.

Kind Space Virtual Trans-ID Clinic
*Joint Project with the University of Ottawa Common Law Program*
Type of Project: Client Assistance (1 Position)
Remote Placement
Who Can Apply: 2Ls and 3Ls
Link to Organization:

Kind Space gives people personal and peer support to understand and inhabit their particular identities with confidence and courage, whatever kind of identity it is. They often do so when these people experience emotional crises and are most vulnerable physically and mentally. This project has two components — client assistance and public legal education. The first component of this project involves the operation of a Trans ID Clinic. The Clinic will operate virtually. The Clinic will be open to assist with updating personal identification. The students and Lawyer Supervisor will provide support and information on requesting a name change. Student volunteers will attend the clinic for 2 hours 2x/month. Students will also ask their mentor (Lawyer Supervisor) questions to assist clients better and work on their public legal education research during downtime/when the drop-ins are not as busy.
The second part of the project involves public legal education-produced content. If there is downtime during the drop-ins, students are encouraged to ask questions and receive mentorship from their Lawyer Supervisor. Students will also work on their public legal education research during downtime. The public legal education component will be determined in consultation with the lawyer supervisor and the organization on what information clients often request. Students will receive streamlined notes and training from Kind Space about clinic operations.

Citizens with Disabilities Ontario
*Joint Project with the University of Toronto*
Type of Project: Legal Research and Writing, Public Legal Education (2 Positions)
Remote Placement
Who Can Apply: 1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls
Link to Organization:

Students will be conducting research into the protected rights of Ontarians with disabilities. This year's topics may include medical assistance with dying, as well as 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, and prepare versions of findings in plain language for use in 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.

Application Process

Applications for this year’s PBSC student volunteers will open on August 29th, 2023, at 10:00 am and close on September 19th, 2023, at 5:00 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!

Facebook: Pro Bono Students Canada Lakehead Chapter

Instagram: pbsclakehead

Twitter: @PBSCLakehead



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