Initiative to support evacuations from Afghanistan
As news of the Taliban’s advance across Afghanistan filled the international news, many Canadians were alarmed by the stories of fear and desperation. Firm members asked how they could help. Read more.
Veteran’s Review Appeal Board Representation
For the past 5 years, we have provided pro bono legal services to veterans who have been denied benefits under the Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-Establishment and Compensation Act.
In 2017, Erin Durant and Andrew Paterson represented a veteran in the Federal Court on a successful judicial review application in a case which allowed a veteran ill with cancer to have their benefits reinstated (Northrup v. Canada (Attorney General), 2017 FC 521). This case contributed to systemic change in how the Veterans Review and Appeals Board of Canada treat claims related to Agent Orange exposure.
In May 2019, Odessa O’Dell argued a successful Judicial Review at the Federal Court. She obtained benefits and costs for a 75-year-old Canadian Armed Forces veteran with hearing loss and tinnitus who had been wrongfully denied disability benefits.
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association
Ewa Krajewska and Pierre Gemson represented the CCLA as intervener at the Supreme Court of Canada in the appeal Ministry of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness v. Chinna, (File No. 37770) which was heard in November 2018; decision released May 2019. The appeal involved access to review of immigration detention by way of habeas corpus.
Chris Bredt and Pierre Gemson, with Jamie Cameron of Osgoode Hall Law School, represented the CCLA in the appeal of Denis v. Cote, (File No. 38114), heard in May 2019. The appeal involves the first case in Canada applying the new Journalistic Sources Protection to an application for compelled disclosure of journalistic source information from a journalist.
Refugee Sponsorship and Support Program
Since 2015, sponsorship experts, pro-bono lawyers, law students, and community organizations have collaborated to offer direct support to Canadians seeking to sponsor refugees. BLG assists Canadian sponsor groups with applications to sponsor one or more refugees to come to Canada. Assistance involves guidance to sponsors on how to fill out sponsorship forms and conducting research on the group and/or the refugee’s eligibility for sponsorship.
Homeless ID Project (Vancouver)
We worked alongside students from the Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia, Pro Bono Students Canada, and the Lookout Society to help impoverished individuals obtain government identification such as driver’s licenses, status cards, and birth certificates.
The ID Project (Ottawa)
Starting in 2017, lawyers at BLG collaborated with Pro Bono Students Canada and the Ottawa Mission (a homeless shelter in Ottawa) to administer the ID Project. This project helps Ottawa’s most vulnerable populations replace lost or stolen identification.
Canadian Gay and Lesbian Archives (CLGA)
Pierre Permingeat assisted CLGA with updating the names of their directors and officers on the public record; filing supplementary letters patent to amend their legal name to “The ArQuives”; and registering “The ArQuives” as a trade name in the interim.
Centre de Pédiatrie Sociale Centre-Sud (Montréal)
In 2018, we handled the union accreditation for the members of the “Centre de Pédiatrie Sociale Centre-Sud”, a paediatrics centre that seeks to identify and reduce factors that influence the development and well-being of children from difficult upbringings.
Children’s Legal & Educational Resource Centre (CLERC) (Calgary)
CLERC is the only organization in Western Canada that provides free legal support to vulnerable children and youth. Through our pro bono work with CLERC, BLG aims to increase knowledge about legal issues and rights facing young people through a range of programs. CLERC strives to reduce family conflict and future developmental harm in circumstances where children require legal intervention.
Civil Claims Duty Counsel (CCDC) Pro Bono Project (Calgary)
The CCDC Project provides individuals with Provincial Court assistance in small claims related matters, including landlord-tenant disputes, insurance or personal injury claims, and employment matters. We provide legal advice, information on court procedure, and assistance with motions or other appearances.
Parents of victim of fatal shooting (Montréal)
We are providing pro bono assistance to a choir whose members may be forced to transfer to another school after the “Commission scolaire de Montréal” decided to terminate an agreement signed more than half a century ago, which ensured that the choir members would study at the College Notre-Dame.
Les Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal (Montréal)
We are assisting the parents of Noam Cohen, a man fatally shot by the Montreal police after a car pursuit in 2017. We are providing pro bono legal advice and guidance to Mr. Cohen’s family in their pursuit for justice.
Pro Bono Ontario
Over 30 BLG lawyers volunteer annually at the PBO Legal Advice Hotline and in person at Superior Court, Small Claims Court and providing individuals with assistance in civil claims, landlord-tenant disputes, employment matters, estates and other disputes. We provide legal information on court procedure, legal drafting, and trials and motions in Small Claims Court.
Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Society, North Shore Zen Society, BC Lupus Society
We oversaw the transition of several organizations to comply with the new BC Societies Act and Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation. Our lawyers provided guidance on a variety of topics, including the acquisition of a gaming license, employment-related advice for executives, revenue generation, and landlord-tenant negotiations.
BLG Business Venture Clinic (Calgary)
The BLG Business Venture Clinic is a student-run, pro bono legal clinic at the University of Calgary, Faculty of Law that provides free legal information to Calgary’s entrepreneurs and start-ups. Students are supervised by BLG lawyers to provide legal services to local entrepreneurs.