Every year Innocence Canada is grateful for the teams of students who assist in our important work. Our students create materials for and deliver public legal education, conduct research and assist with case work. Dedicated students greatly increase our capacity as an organization. It is a significant but worthwhile undertaking to supervise students. Innocence Canada has many programs and partnerships with colleges, universities and organizations throughout Canada. If your program is not listed below and you are interested in volunteering with Innocence Canada, please complete our volunteer application form.
- Summer Fellowships
- University of Toronto, Faculty of Law Externship
- Pro Bono Students Canada
- Humber College, Law Clerk Internship
Innocence Canada is able to hire one articling student per year through the support of the Law Foundation of Ontario’s Public Interest Articling Fellowship Program. Note that Innocence Canada follows the Toronto articling recruit timeline and guidelines as set out by the Law Society of Ontario.
Innocence Canada articling students assist in reviewing claims of wrongful conviction and, where applicable, in preparing for the litigation of those claims. This work includes managing case files, preparing legal research, and working collaboratively with Innocence Canada staff and pro-bono lawyers in the development of strategies for pursuing claims of wrongful conviction.
The application period for 2021-2022 articling position is now open. Application information is available on viLawPortal or you may view our posting here. Should you have questions related to articling recruitment, please email Stéphanie Nowak.
Our 2019-2020 articling student is Rebecca Dillon
Rebecca recently completed her law degree at the University of Ottawa in the Common Law program. Prior to entering law school she completed a bachelor's degree in Anthropology at Western University with a specialization in Archaeology. She then went on to complete a master's degree in Bioarchaeology at Western University. She spent two years working as an archaeologist before deciding to pursue a career in law. Her research in archaeology and anthropology was focused primarily on how certain hierarchies are created and maintained in society - leading to some members of society being privileged and others subjugated. It was this focus on inequality that led her to want to pursue a career in law oriented towards social justice.
During her time at the University of Ottawa, Rebecca volunteered for a variety of social justice initiatives including LEAF's "Only Yes Means Yes" program which teaches high school students about the law of consent. She also worked for Pro Bono Students Canada (PBSC) as a volunteer for a research project with the Sexual Assault Network and later as a member of the Student Advisory Board of PBSC at the University of Ottawa. In the last year of her studies she worked as a caseworker at the University's Legal Aid Clinic, assisting clients with applications to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board.
It was during her summer experience at Innocence Canada, during which time she worked on legal education initiatives and client cases that she knew she wanted to pursue a career in criminal law. Rebecca is thrilled to be continuing her legal career and social justice work with Innocence Canada by helping those who the criminal justice system has failed.
What our articling students have to say
I feel very privileged to have completed my articling at Innocence Canada. During this time, I worked alongside colleagues who were friendly, highly intelligent, and passionate about wrongful conviction work. I greatly appreciated their encouragement and support throughout my articling period.
Innocence Canada provided me with opportunities to work alongside senior members of the Bar on complex criminal law cases. I also had the chance to meet and develop relationships with both the wrongly convicted and those who are still fighting to clear their names. As I begin my journey as a criminal defence lawyer, it is these people and their stories that I will always remember. Their resilience and perseverance have inspired me to be the best possible criminal defence lawyer that I can be.
– Christopher Nagel (Articling Student 2018-2019, University of Ottawa)
Articling at Innocence Canada has brought me into contact with amazing people including our exonerees and current clients who inspire us all to keep trying, and our dedicated and talented team who passionately advocate for those who are wrongly convicted. Part of my work at Innocence Canada has involved educational outreach programs and has provided me with the opportunity to interact with students and others in the community. One young student beautifully defined exoneration as being able “to live free from accusation.” As I leave Innocence Canada to pursue new challenges, I remain committed to supporting wrongly convicted persons as they pursue this freedom from accusation and am grateful for the opportunity that I had to be a part of the important work done at Innocence Canada.
– Marie Teeple (Articling Student 2017-2018, Western University)
Innocence Canada has had summer law fellowship students working alongside lawyers and legal professionals for many years. While Innocence Canada does not have the resources to employ summer students, many law schools in Canada have fellowship programs that give students funding or academic credit for their work at Innocence Canada.
Summer students engage in both aspects of Innocence Canada’s mandate: reviewing claims of wrongful conviction and public legal education and advocacy. Students work with Innocence Canada’s staff lawyers to provide legal services for the purposes of establishing that a wrongful conviction has occurred and exonerating that wrongly convicted person. They also work with Innocence Canada’s Director of Education to research and develop educational programming with the goal of preventing future wrongful convictions.
The application period for 2020 law student summer fellowship positions with Innocence Canada is now closed. If you have questions about Innocence Canada's summer fellowship program, please contact Stéphanie Nowak.
Meet our 2020 Summer Fellowship students!
- Sara Edwards, 1L Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University
- William Raymond, 2L University of Windsor
- Seema Sidhu, 1L University of Toronto
- Laura Sumner, 1L Queen's University
- Sophie Zhao, 1L University of Toronto
What our summer students have to say
During the summer of 2018, I worked as a volunteer fellow for Innocence Canada. I spent much of the summer working on creating public education modules on topics such as false confessions, criminal profiling, bad character evidence, and others. I also worked on a case file, analyzing court documents and pursuing more legal documents so as to move the case forward. To put it succinctly, my position at Innocence Canada allowed me to study and contribute to the areas of criminal law I am deeply passionate about for four months.
I cannot overstate how friendly, welcoming, and collaborative the work environment of Innocence Canada is. Despite the stressful nature of innocence work, there was never an air of frustration. The supervisors placed enormous trust and independence in myself and my fellow summer colleagues, and I always felt as though I could come to them with any issue or question. It was a remarkable experience in loving coming to work each day, and meaningfully contributing to a noble cause.
– Ethan Radomski (Summer Fellow 2018, Osgoode Hall, York University)
A pilot project was launched in January 2019 with the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law, for two law students to work on claims of wrongful convictions for credit. Innocence Canada will host up to six students for the 2019-2020 academic year.
The Innocence Canada externships allow students to experience directly the legal work of a non-profit organization working to overturn the criminal convictions of innocent people. Students will be exposed to a variety of legal work in the area of criminal law carried out by Innocence Canada such as drafting s. 696.1 applications, reviewing police investigatory files, trial transcripts and appeals motions, and assisting with bail applications.
Students participating in the Innocence Canada externship will have an opportunity to develop their legal skills in a highly specialized criminal law setting. Students will develop an understanding of wrongful convictions and criminal law more broadly, by working directly with experienced lawyers on active case files.
Innocence Canada has been partnering with Pro Bono Students Canada (PBSC) for many years on a variety of projects delivered on a rotating basis at law schools across the country. Past projects have included delivering PLEs at high schools and developing educational presentations for law students.
PBSC UBC students have a unique opportunity to work on cases of wrongful conviction under the supervision of Tamara Duncan, a member of our Board of Directors and Case Review Committee.
The Innocence Canada National Project will be run at four law schools in 2019-2020. This project will have students presenting information on Innocence Canada, the legal process involved in submitting a s.696.1 application to the Minister of Justice, and the contributing factors to wrongful convictions. To learn more about Innocence Canada’s PBSC projects, speak with your local Program Coordinator.
Innocence Canada takes on law clerk interns to assist our case management team. The law clerk internship student can expect to work on a range of tasks including:
- Indexing files
- Correspondence (disclosure, preservation, etc.)
- Archiving files
- Legal research
- Other administrative tasks
Students will gain experience in a legal non-profit organization that specializes in a unique area of criminal law and will work with a small group of passionate lawyers, educators and experts on wrongful convictions. To learn more about this program, please contact your placement advisor.