2020-2021 Articling Position    

Name and Location of Organization: Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA), Toronto, ON

For Articling Year: 2020-2021

Deadline for Application: Friday, July 5, 2019 at 5:00 pm EST

Description of Organization and Areas of Law:

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association fights for the civil liberties, human rights, and democratic freedoms of all people across Canada. Founded in 1964, we are an independent, national, nongovernmental organization, working in the courts, before legislative committees, in the classrooms, and in the streets, protecting the rights and freedoms cherished by Canadians and entrenched in our Constitution.

CCLA’s major objectives include the promotion and legal protection of individual freedom and dignity against unreasonable invasion by public authority and the protection of procedural fairness.  Areas of law include constitutional, criminal, administrative, privacy, and human rights law.  Our thematic areas of focus include equality rights, fundamental freedoms (expression, religion, association, assembly), state accountability (including police accountability; and state accountability in counter-terrorism including national security agency review and oversight, and privacy and surveillance), criminal law reform, and due process rights.

Description of Responsibilities:

The articling student will be responsible for conducting legal and academic research on various civil liberties issues.  Research will be legal, but will also focus on current events, government, and the social sciences.  The articling student will also research legislation and government action for potential law reform, research cases for potential litigation, draft memos on the above, assist in developing policy and strategy for the organization, assist in drafting policy positions for cases and interventions, and assist in drafting position papers and briefs for parliamentary committees and other government bodies, all under the direction and supervision of the organization’s legal and program staff. CCLA generally engages outside counsel for litigation purposes, so the articling student may have the opportunity to observe hearings, but will not generally have opportunities to appear in court on the CCLA’s behalf. The student will also be actively involved in CCLA’s education program by conducting civil liberties workshops for high school students.


Applicants should be reliable, well-organized and self-motivated, with a demonstrated interest in civil liberties, human rights, and public policy.  Strong research and writing skills are essential.  Personal or professional experience working with non-governmental organizations is highly desirable.  Bilingualism and the ability to write professionally in French is beneficial.  CCLA is an equal opportunity organization and is committed to diversity and inclusiveness in its practices.

**Please note that our summer volunteer and articling recruitment processes are distinct. Summer volunteers who may be interested in articling at the CCLA will have to apply through our normal articling recruitment process, as described below.

Salary and Benefits:

$51,000 salary + benefits + Bar Admission fees

Application must include:

  • Resume
  • Cover letter
  • Undergrad transcripts (photocopy of official)
  • Law transcripts (photocopy of official)
  • Reference letter (submit minimum 1 reference letter, maximum 2)

Applicants selected for an interview may be asked to bring in a writing sample, but these will not be reviewed if submitted with your application.

Please send your completed applications to:

Cara Zwibel
Articling Applications
Canadian Civil Liberties Association
90 Eglinton Ave. E., Suite 900
Toronto, ON M4P 2Y3

E-mail: articling@ccla.org (subject line: Articling Application 2020-2021)

Fax: 416-861-1291

Applications will be accepted by fax, mail or e-mail (e-mail preferred). If submitting your application materials by email, please include all materials as a single document attachment (PDF or Word format).

While we thank all applicants, due to the volume of applications received, only those individuals selected for an interview will be contacted. If you have questions about the application process please contact Cara Zwibel at czwibel@ccla.org.

Calls to schedule interviews will begin on Friday, July 19, 2019 (8:00 am EST). Students will be interviewed beginning the week of August 12, 2019.

Offers will not be made prior to Wednesday, August 14, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. EST.

Please note that applications may be shared with Pro Bono Students Canada, which administers these Fellowships for the LFO, for statistical analysis and feedback on the program, and applicants may be contacted for the purposes of understanding the reach of the program and areas we might strengthen going forward.

This position has been made available through the Law Foundation of Ontario Public Interest Articling Fellowships program.

Canadians’ right to privacy in cell phone data confirmed…

Telecom companies have the obligation to protect the privacy of their subscriber’s personal information, and police must make sure that requests for this information are minimally intrusive. These are key elements of a decision released January 14, 2016 by the Ontario Superior Court in a Charter Challenge brought by Rogers and Telus.

In April 2014, Peel Regional Police, as part of an investigation into a series of jewelry store robberies, obtained a production order for a “tower dump”—it asked Rogers and Telus to turn over customer information from all cellphones that accessed every cell tower near to 21 different municipal addresses. The two companies estimated that this would include the personal information of at least 9000 Telus subscribers, and 34,000 Rogers’ subscribers, including information about call recipients and subscriber billing information. The orders also did not specify how this customer information about thousands of innocent people would be safeguarded.

The two companies felt this was excessive, amounting to a violation of section 8 of the Charter protecting against unreasonable search and seizure. In deciding to hear the case, Justice John Sproat of the Ontario Superior Court noted that individual subscribers lack the means to raise this issue, and that “The privacy rights of the tens of thousands of cell phone users are of obvious importance.”

Today’s decision is significant for a number of reasons:

  1. The decision confirms that telecommunications companies have a contractual obligation to keep subscriber information confidential.  They must protect their customers’ information from undue intrusion.
  2. The decision explicitly declares that “Canadians have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their cell phone records.”
  3. Overly broad production orders for cell phone subscriber information are declared, clearly and pointedly, to be unconstitutional.

Justice Sproat includes a series of guidelines for police detailing the information that should be included in the information to obtain a production order. This includes demonstrating that the principles of incrementalism and minimal intrusion have been duly considered in making the request; explaining why all information requested—locations, towers, dates, times, and types of records– is relevant to the investigation; providing details that might permit the search to be narrowed; limiting requests when feasible to ask for a report on the specified data rather than all of the underlying data, or, if this is insufficient, justifying any need for underlying data; and confirming that the data can be meaningfully reviewed.

The Justice declined to provide guidance on appropriate safeguards for retention, storage and deletion of data obtained from these production orders, suggesting that this would require legislation and that it should be left to parliament to enhance existing privacy laws. He further declined to limit police use of tower dumps, again noting a need for legislation before limiting investigative practice, and citing the example of s. 186(1)(b) of the Criminal Code as an example of where legislation explicitly limits the ability to intercept private communications by imposing a high standard of investigative necessity for the practice.

This decision is an important counter to the increasingly popular belief that more information is always better in investigative contexts, be they law enforcement, national security, or even in relation to the private sector’s collection and use of personal information. CCLA has always maintained that information collection should be proportionate to the purpose, and undertaken in a way to minimally impair privacy. This judgement comes down soundly in favour of these important privacy principles.


Related links:

The full text of the decision, R. v. Rogers Communications, 2016 ONSC 70.

Our Executive Director and General Counsel, Sukanya Pillay, comments on the decision for the CBC.

Legal Volunteer Opportunities

2020 Summer Legal Volunteer Opportunities for Law Students and Law Graduates

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association invites applications for the following summer opportunities. Law students and law graduates are welcome to apply.

**Please note that our summer volunteer and articling recruitment processes are distinct. Summer legal volunteers who may be interested in articling at the CCLA will have to apply through our normal articling recruitment process – and this is subject to CCLA’s receipt of funding for an articling fellow.**

Applicants should be aware that these positions are strictly volunteer opportunities for which the CCLA does not offer compensation of any kind. However, in some cases volunteers have been able to secure sponsorship of their work for CCLA through law school fellowships, or other externally funded sources, or have been able to obtain course credit through law school internships (if you are interested in doing so, please also see the special instructions below).

CCLA provides support to selected students seeking external opportunities, as relevant. Please note that volunteer spaces are limited and highly competitive, and the organization gives priority to those volunteers who have secured external funding, credit, or other opportunities.  If you are interested in doing so, please see general guidelines here as well as the Special Instructions below.

    CCLA will have several volunteer legal positions. Volunteers have the opportunity to engage in substantive legal work relating to CCLA’s ongoing advocacy efforts in civil liberties and human rights.  They work closely with the organization’s lawyers on a variety of projects. The work involves legal and policy-based research and analysis, as well as monitoring human rights and civil liberties issues. Other activities may include developing materials for the public on ongoing advocacy campaigns and current issues, organizing events, assisting in the preparation and running of CCLA’s (2-week) summer camp, and assisting in the development of advocacy letters, legislative briefs and litigation materials.

The CCLA has found that the organization and our volunteers benefit from a certain amount of stability, predictability and consistency in scheduling. Many volunteers choose a 4 or 5 day a week schedule. We are also happy to work with successful candidates to design a flexible schedule that will suit them and will accommodate other obligations, such as paid employment – however we do ask that volunteers commit to at least 16 hours per week, and a minimum of 8 weeks during the summer.

    The above opportunities are open to law students and law graduates. Applicants should be reliable, well-organized and self-motivated, with a demonstrated interest in civil liberties, human rights, and public policy. Strong writing skills are essential. Personal or professional experience working with non-governmental organizations is highly desirable. Bilingualism and the ability to read and write professionally in French is a strong plus.  CCLA is an equal opportunity organization, and is committed to diversity and inclusiveness in its practices. As such, if you are a member of a marginalized group, we invite you to self-identify.
  2. TO APPLY:
    Please include the following in your CCLA Legal Volunteer Application package:
  • Cover letter
  • Resume
  • Law school transcripts
  • NOTE: Reference letters are not required, but will be accepted.

The application deadline is 10 AM on Monday, February 10, 2020 – however if you are applying for a fellowship, internship, or other external opportunity, there are additional requirements and there may be a separate (earlier) deadline – please see below.

Please send your application package to: volunteer[at]ccla.org with the subject line: “Summer Legal Volunteer 2020”

Special instructions for students seeking fellowships, internships, and other external opportunities:
Many students who volunteer with CCLA are able to obtain funding, fellowships, course credit, internships, or other external opportunities through their law schools or other outside sources. Many of these external opportunities have their own application requirements, including the support of CCLA for your application, and sometimes a project proposal or statement of interest. Please note that for fellowships that require the support of CCLA for your application, CCLA may choose to support more than one applicant for a particular fellowship.

If you are seeking or have obtained such an external opportunity, please send us a complete CCLA Legal Volunteer Application (containing the items noted above) with the following changes/additions.

  • Details for Project Proposal or Statement of Interest: If the external opportunity you seek requires that you include a project proposal or statement of interest, please contact Noa Mendelsohn Aviv (mendelsohnaviv[at]ccla.org) in advance for a list of possible projects and instructions.
  • Additional Materials: With your CCLA Legal Volunteer Application, please include:
  1.  A document entitled “External Opportunity” with the following information:
  • That you are seeking or have obtained an external opportunity
    • Basic information about the external opportunity (name of the fellowship, internship, etc; what kind of time commitment it involves in terms of work at CCLA; what will be required of CCLA as a supervising organisation over the summer)
    • The application deadline for the external opportunity
    • What you require from CCLA for the purpose of your application (e.g. a letter of support, sign off on a project proposal, etc.)
  1. A one page draft of your project proposal or statement of interest (note: this applies only if a project proposal or statement of interest is required as part of your external opportunity application).
  • Deadline:
    • If your fellowship or other external opportunity deadline is on or before February 21, 2020, please ensure that we receive your completed application to CCLA by 12 PM on Wednesday, January 29, 2020
    • The deadline for all other applications to CCLA is 10 AM on Monday, February 10, 2020
  • Subject line: Please send your application package to: volunteer[at]ccla.org with the subject line: “Summer Legal Volunteer 2019 & External Opportunity”.

If you are a law student or lawyer seeking to volunteer outside of our summer recruitment process or with an urgent question, please contact Noa Mendelsohn Aviv at mendelsohnaviv[at]ccla.org.

For other volunteer opportunities please click here.

Please note:volunteer[at]ccla.org is not monitored outside of our summer recruitment period (January – March).