Having access to legal services is crucial to all Canadians, but out of reach for many. Fortunately, Canada has very strong provincial pro bono programs that bridge the gap between the less fortunate with unmet legal needs, and lawyers who wish to volunteer their services to increase access to justice. These pro bono programs are often the place of last resort for thousands of Canadians who are involved in the legal system and are not eligible for legal aid.
Pro Bono Canada (PBC) was created to encourage and support provincial pro bono organizations’ activities. PBC is dedicated to increasing awareness of pro bono activities and encouraging the expansion of pro bono legal services across the country. PBC is not a direct provider of pro bono services, but all of its activities are geared toward increasing services to Canadians who need them. Funds received by PBC will be distributed to support the provincial pro bono organization’s work, in accordance with an agreed-upon protocol, capping
administrative costs of 5% or less.
One source of potential funding is through cy pres awards in class actions, in the context of a settlement or pursuant to a final judgment on the merits. The attached tool kit provides information to assist those involved in class action litigation to make the decision to support (or suggest supporting) PBC through a cy pres award.
Access to justice is at the core of Canada’s class proceedings regimes and is a responsibility for all involved in the legal system. We ask that you consider pro bono activities as a worthy recipient of cy pres awards.
Dennis O’Connor, Chair