More than 1000 volunteers are being sought to address the rising need for legal assistance among low income Ontarians at Pro Bono Ontario. (PBO)
In 2021, Pro Bono Ontario’s hotline was contacted by more than 50,000 Ontarians seeking civil representation for their civil issues. The organization says it responded to 26,455 of these calls but it’s not enough to keep up with demand.
The pandemic hasn’t been easy on Ontarians, especially those who are in vulnerable segments of society that can’t come up with the money to retain a lawyer. This is why the organization is calling for new volunteers.
Lawyers who do make the choice to volunteer are offered the ability to do 4 hour shifts either at home or at the office, without the need for follow-ups afterward. Lawyers can focus on areas that they already specialize in, such as civil procedures, corporate law, employment, housing, and other areas.
During the pandemic, we saw first-hand how the inequities in everything from jobs to housing to
education have risen to a boiling point,” says Executive Director, Lynn Burns. “All Ontarians deserve meaningful access to justice and together we can meet this challenge.”
According to PBO’s own statistics, the vast majority of callers to their hotline report that it’s the first place they could speak to a lawyer about their legal problems.
Among the lawyers who volunteer, PBO says that 92 per cent of volunteers say the experience helped them build skills in their area of expertise while also doing a good service for society.
First created in 2001, PBO is an organization devoted to gathering volunteer lawyers to address unmet justice needs in the province. PBO gets its money from the Law Foundation of Ontario.
Those who are interested in applying as a volunteer may visit this page.