PBSC is a national, multiple award-winning organization with chapters in 22 of Canada’s 23 law schools. The first pro bono organization in the country, PBSC has been working with law schools and the bar to deliver high-quality legal services for over 20 years. We have extensive program expertise and experience designing access to justice placements that are recognized as having a significant impact on access to justice. Supreme Court Justice Rosalie Abella has described PBSC as “one of the most visionary undertakings I have seen in my 40 years at the bar.”
PBSC’s mandate is threefold:
1. To train future lawyers by providing practical, supervised learning experiences for students;
2. To increase access to justice for low-income individuals and non-profit organizations; and
3. To promote a culture of pro bono in the profession.
Pro Bono Students Canada was established in the fall of 1996 at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. At the time, it was the first and only pro bono organization in Canada. The visionary support of two key players—founding Dean Ronald Daniels and the Law Foundation of Ontario — was instrumental in launching the organization. Through the creation of PBSC, Dean Daniels aimed to combine education and public interest volunteer work, with the goal of ensuring that each new generation of lawyers would enter the profession already committed to pro bono philosophy and practice.
The initiative was a resounding success, and the University of Toronto set out to expand this innovative program across Ontario and throughout the country. Today, there are 22 PBSC chapters — one at almost every law school in Canada. In 2018-2019, our 1,607 law student volunteers — a quarter of all law students in the country — will provide free legal services to public interest groups, community organizations, courts and tribunals across the country. PBSC is firmly integrated into the fabric of legal education in Canada, providing thousands of future lawyers with their first taste of legal work through an exciting and diverse range of co-curricular opportunities.