Innocence Canada was founded in 1993 to work on behalf of individuals who were convicted of a crime they did not commit. The organization also focuses on education and reform to improve Canada’s legal system by preventing wrongful convictions in current and future criminal cases.
To date, Innocence Canada has successfully exonerated 23 people who were convicted of crimes they did not commit. Collectively, these individuals spent over 200 years serving prison sentences, despite having committed no crime.
How Does Innocence Canada Do Its Work?
Currently, lawyers with Innocence Canada are reviewing approximately 90 cases in which a convicted individual asserts their actual innocence. These lawyers work on these cases pro bono.
In addition, the Innocence Canada Foundation provides legal services to low-income Canadians seeking exoneration, supports public awareness and educational initiatives to draw attention to and correct the problem of wrongful convictions, and provides financial assistance to low-income clients whose exoneration requires them to restart their lives with few resources.
None of this work would be possible without the help of volunteers, including lawyers, legal support professionals, and concerned citizens.
Who Does Innocence Canada Help?
To date, Innocence Canada has helped 23 people fight their wrongful convictions. The organization has also reviewed hundreds of cases from across the Canadian provinces.
Currently, about 40 percent of Innocence Canada’s open caseload comes from Ontario, while another 20 percent are located in British Columbia. However, every province has need for lawyers and legal support professionals who can help.
In addition, the Innocence Canada Foundation focuses on a number of legal issues and plans related to wrongful conviction. For example, the organization recently spoke out against a plan to restructure how judges are appointed in Ontario, on the grounds that the plan could increase the number of wrongful convictions that occur in Canada each year. Innocence Canada supports a federal plan that would create an independent commission tasked with identifying and addressing wrongful convictions.
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