Much of Innocence Canada’s core work is carried out by a very large team of dedicated volunteers. We currently have volunteers who are:
- Lawyers (primarily criminal lawyers)
- Legal professionals (e.g., paralegals)
- Law students
- Graduate students
- Undergraduate students
Innocence Canada currently has over 80 volunteers working in the following capacities:
- Case reviewers
- Office volunteers
- Case digitization
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 under a team of experienced criminal lawyers that comprise the Canadian Review Committee.
Innocence Canada office volunteers are assigned to various ongoing projects according to their skills and interests. We typically have a large number of volunteer applications and cannot always immediately find a placement for everyone. However, we appreciate all applications. If you are interested in becoming an Innocence Canada volunteer, please send your resume with a cover letter to email@example.com and you will be contacted shortly thereafter by one of our staff members.
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)