Much of Innocence Canada’s core work is carried out by a very large team of dedicated volunteers. Volunteers who are either currently assisting us or who have assisted us in the past are:
- Lawyers (primarily criminal lawyers)
- Legal professionals (e.g., paralegals)
- Law students
- Graduate students
- Undergraduate students
Innocence Canada currently has numerous volunteers working in the following capacities:
- Case reviewers
- Office volunteers
- Fundraising activities
Innocence Canada case reviewers are practicing or retired lawyers who are assigned one or more Innocence Canada cases to review. They work within the Innocence Canada case review structure and provide reports at each stage of the case review process to allow decisions to be made about the next steps in the case.
Innocence Canada office volunteers are assigned to various ongoing projects according to their skills and interests.
If you are a lawyer in Canada and are interested in assisting Innocence Canada with the review of client cases, please send a detailed letter outlining your relevant experience, any reported cases and publications which you worked on, as well as two references to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are a law student who would like to volunteer with Innocence Canada, please send your resume with a cover letter to email@example.com.
If you are not a legal professional or a law student but would like to get involved with Innocence Canada, please contact Client Services Director, Win Wahrer at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 416‑504‑7500, ext. 227.
We typically have a large number of volunteer applications and cannot always immediately find a placement for everyone. For this reason, we will be unable to respond to each volunteer request individually. We will keep your application on file and when appropriate volunteer opportunities arise, we will contact you.
We encourage all applicants to continue their interest in innocence work and the exoneration of the wrongfully convicted – please keep in touch with Innocence Canada through our website.
I won a Donner Fellowship to spend a summer at the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted (AIDWYC) [now Innocence Canada]. It was one of the best experiences of my life, the work was incredibly important and I gained so many transferable skills. I was responsible for AIDWYC adopting a new case because of my research and advocacy. I was able to meet exonerated clients and current clients’ families. The opportunity to pursue this kind of public interest work was an amazing opportunity whether or not you want to do public interest work in the long term. Moreover, my work at AIDWYC has given me incredible legal skills. I have researched and authored memoranda, investigation plans and a comparative review of innocence work in common law jurisdictions. I also gained practical skills; I briefed private investigators, attended a fresh evidence appeal at the Supreme Court and had a two week secondment at a criminal defence firm. I don’t think any other summer work could have given the range and depth of experience that I gained through my summer at AIDWYC.
– Kirsty Niglas-Collins (Law Student, University of Toronto)
The fallibility of our justice system is central to work as a criminal appeal lawyer, and I’ve volunteered for AIDWYC [now Innocence Canada] for many years. My experiences reviewing cases and working with the wrongly convicted through AIDWYC have been incredibly rewarding. AIDWYC’s lawyers and staff are inspiring examples and they’re always welcoming and helpful to new volunteers. I’d encourage any lawyer or law student to get involved in AIDWYC’s vital work.
– Michael Dineen (Innocence Canada Case Reviewer and member of the Canadian Case Assessment Group)
Why do I volunteer for AIDWYC [now Innocence Canada]? Whenever anyone claims to have been wrongly convicted, it is important for that person to know that they are not alone and hope is not lost. I became a case reviewer for AIDWYC to offer that hope. It is extremely stimulating, rewarding, and gratifying work.
– Bob Upsdell (Innocence Canada Case Reviewer)