TORONTO, ON SEPTEMBER 26, 2023 –
Pro Bono Students Canada (PBSC) is pleased to announce that RBC Royal Trust has provided meaningful funding to support the expansion of programming, with a goal of increasing access to estate planning and legal services, particularly Wills and Powers of Attorney.
RBC Royal Trust’s generous commitment of $50,000 will help remove barriers to justice Canadians experience by facilitating the development of resources to boost the capacity of PBSC’s 22 Chapters in delivering impactful programming to low-income individuals across the country. This funding will empower PBSC’s National Office to provide its student-led Chapters with individualized support, precedents, and toolkits, to launch and/or enhance the delivery of crucial legal services focused on Wills and Powers of Attorney for the benefit of those who may otherwise be unable to afford them.
"PBSC is thrilled to be partnering with RBC Royal Trust to strengthen and expand our Will and Power of Attorney programming,” said Dana Rotenberg, National Director of PBSC. “Their meaningful contribution enables us to provide elevated services to more individuals in need of Wills and Powers of Attorney, removing obstacles that hinder access to crucial legal services”.
Each year, PBSC Chapters develop and oversee numerous projects that seek to empower low-income individuals to make informed decisions about their personal and financial matters as a means of safeguarding their rights and well-being. Wills Clinics are currently operated by six PBSC Chapters, including the University of Calgary, University of Saskatchewan, University of Windsor, Osgoode Hall Law School, University of Toronto, and the University of New Brunswick. PBSC Wills Clinics serve a diverse clientele including seniors, Indigenous communities, people living with disabilities, and low-income individuals. At these Clinics, law student volunteers receive training and lawyer supervision to draft Wills and Powers of Attorney for clients free of charge. Additionally, several other PBSC Chapters run projects that provide valuable workshops and legal information to individuals about topics related to end-of-life planning including Wills, Powers of Attorney, elder law, guardianship, and access to healthcare.
“This generous funding will enhance PBSC's innovative programming pertaining to Wills and Powers of Attorney, enabling them to extend critical services to more Canadians in need while providing valuable experiential learning opportunities for law students across the country”, said Professor Mary Condon, outgoing member of PBSC’s Advisory Board and former Dean of Osgoode Hall Law School.
"RBC Royal Trust has a long history of advocating the importance of a comprehensive estate plan, and we strive to ensure all Canadians can access, plan, and draft their Wills and Powers of Attorney,” said Leanne Kaufman, President and CEO of RBC Royal Trust. “Our recent report in collaboration with the National Institute on Ageing found that more than 50% of Canadians still don’t have a Will and more alarming, 65% don’t have a Power of Attorney – underscoring the need for access when it comes to the development of these essential plans.”
About Pro Bono Students Canada
PBSC was established in 1996 at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. PBSC’s mission is to provide free legal support to people and communities facing barriers to justice. Each year, the organization recruits approximately 1,500 student volunteers who work with community partners and under the supervision of pro bono lawyers and notaries to serve over 13,000 people across Canada. The organization’s student volunteers alone provide approximately 130,000 hours of free legal support annually, helping to close the justice gap while providing students with opportunities to develop valuable skills and experiences.
About RBC Royal Trust
As part of RBC Wealth Management Canada, RBC Royal Trust has a strong history and has been proudly serving clients in Canada since 1899. RBC Royal Trust provides individuals, families and businesses with valuable estate, trust and incapacity services, tailored to their specific needs. Located across Canada, RBC Royal Trust professionals work with clients to address what’s important to them and their family. For more information, please visit www.rbcwealthmanagement.com/en-ca/royal-trust/.
Donor and Media Inquiries
Dana Rotenberg, National Director
Lawyer/Notary/Law Student Volunteer Inquiries
Carolina Cuevas, Program Manager