Description for Social Justice Articling Positions Funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario

Name and Location of Organization:
Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC)
1204-ONE Nicholas Street, Ottawa, ON, K1N 7B7
For Articling Year: 2017-2018
Deadline for Application: May 24, 2016
Interviews the weeks of: May 30 and June 6, 2016
Offers will be made: June 20, 2016
Description of Organization and Areas of Law:
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) was federally incorporated in 1976 as a non-profit corporation in 1976 and has charitable status for tax purposes. The organization’s purpose is to provide representation, research and advocacy on behalf of those elements of the public interest that would otherwise be unable to be adequately heard before courts, tribunals, and decision-makers. PIAC has tried to focus its mandate on issues arising from the delivery of important public services including telecommunications, broadcasting, competition law, energy, financial services, and transportation. PIAC seeks to represent and advocate on behalf of ordinary consumers, in particular vulnerable consumers, concerning the rates, policies, rules and regulations associated with the delivery of these services with a view to ensuring principles of access and affordability and fair treatment for the constituencies it tries to serve.
PIAC’s work takes a variety of forms. First, the lawyers of PIAC represent organizations whose membership serves our target constituencies before boards and tribunals where the industries delivering such services are regulated, These organizations include the Canada Without Poverty (formerly NAPO), the Vulnerable Energy Consumers Coalition, the Consumers Association of Canada, the Ontario Council of Senior Citizens Organizations, National Pensioners and Senior Citizens Federation, Option consommateurs, Union de Consommateurs, and Rural Dignity of Canada among others. PIAC’s most significant commitments for such representation occur before the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission and the Ontario Energy Board where PIAC lawyers will be full participants in administrative proceedings including the presentation of evidence, cross-examination of witnesses and the making of
Because the delivery of the public services touches upon consideration of other important legal and policy matters, PIAC has also developed expertise and is frequently involved in funded and unfunded work (approximately 20% of PIAC’s work is unfunded) representing its constituencies in competition law and practice, Foundation of Ontario electronic commerce, privacy, multilateral agreements, and general issues of consumer protection.
PIAC carries out its work outside the hearing room in numerous ways. Its extensive studies and reports associated with the above are published and distributed to policy makers and the general public through its web site. PIAC staff participate in discussions with government officials, other industry stakeholders, other public interest communities, as well as groups representing its own constituencies to attempt to secure rights, rules, policies or consensus that will advance the interests of the communities that PIAC serves. PIAC frequently attends before parliamentary and legislative committees to pursue these same goals in legislation. Finally, PIAC’s staff are active in attempting to present in the media, a coherent defense of those communities’ position when the delivery of important public services are in issue.
Description of Responsibilities:
(a) Research and writing on legal and policy issues to support studies and reports of the Centre;
(b) Research and writing to support regulatory interventions in tribunals;
(c) Assistance and attendance with PIAC counsel for tribunal work, meetings with
government officials and presentation before parliamentary committees;
(d) Participation in discussions of advocacy strategy and position with Counsel and Centre clients
Salary/benefits: $51,000 for the articling term, Medical and Dental plus paid vacation
Application includes:

  • Resume
  • Cover letter
  • Undergrad transcripts
  • Law transcripts
  • Letters of reference

Applications should be addressed to:
John Lawford
Executive Director and General Counsel
Public Interest Advocacy Centre
Ottawa, ON, K1N 7B7
Fax No. 613 562-0007
Email to:
Students will be interviewed between the week of May 30-June 3 and the week of June 6-10, 2016 with a view to extending an offer on June 20, 2016.
Please note: A copy of your application will reside with the Organization providing the articling position, and another will stay with the Law Foundation for the purposes of statistical analysis and feedback on the program. This position has been made available through The Law Foundation of Ontario Public Interest Articling Fellowships program.