The Investor Protection Clinic (IPC) at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School – the first clinic of its kind in Canada – has entered into a partnership with the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) in a joint effort to meet a critical need in the community for free legal services for vulnerable, harmed retail investors.
IIROC is the pan-Canadian self-regulatory organization that oversees all investment dealers and their trading activity in Canada’s debt and equity markets. IIROC will provide the IPC with major funding annually for the next five years to allow the clinic to continue to create value through file work and investor education.
“Support from generous partners such as IIROC is absolutely critical to the Osgoode Investor Protection Clinic’s success,” said Professor Poonam Puri, founding director of the clinic, which provides free legal advice to people who believe their investments were mishandled and who cannot afford a lawyer. “Our partners help to ensure that the clinic is able to provide professional and effective services to harmed investors. Without IIROC and our other partners, we would not be able to provide much-needed legal services to vulnerable retail investors.”
“IIROC has referred investors to the clinic since it was first established, so we are pleased to take the important next step of sponsorship,” said Doug Harris, IIROC’s vice-president and general counsel. “This strengthens our commitment to help the clinic provide critical, free access to legal services for investors.”
The IPC is a game changer in the retail investment landscape. Since launching in 2016 with seed funding from the Law Foundation of Ontario, the clinic has recorded numerous wins for clients. Clinic cases have ranged from seniors who have lost their entire retirement savings, to people who have been swindled by trusted members of their community and people who have had their investments mishandled by advisors.
The clinic is staffed with Osgoode students who are paired with supervising lawyers from law firms in Ontario.
“Vulnerable retail investors need help in navigating a complicated legal system,” Puri said. “Our students, under the supervision of some of the finest lawyers in Canada, are able to provide legal assistance while, at the same time, learning core legal skills and connecting real people with theoretical concepts. We are so grateful for our collaboration with these supervising law firms and lawyers.”