Osgoode’s Investor Protection Clinic and Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada partner to support vulnerable investors

Two people shaking hands in a board room

The Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada (MFDA) has made a two-year financial commitment to help the Investor Protection Clinic (IPC) at Osgoode Hall Law School meet the growing need for free legal services for wronged investors.

“Osgoode’s IPC is a great organization and a worthwhile cause. Since its inception, the IPC has provided an important public interest function through its focus on protecting investors and, after several years of operation, the MFDA is pleased to help the clinic to expand its capacity,” says Mark Gordon, MFDA’s president and CEO.

The first of its kind in Canada, the Osgoode Investor Protection Clinic was launched in 2016 to provide pro bono legal advice to people who believe their investments were mishandled and who cannot afford a lawyer. The clinic pairs 13 second- and third-year Osgoode JD students with supervising lawyers from leading business law firms in Ontario.

“The MFDA has been supportive of our clinic since the beginning and this latest commitment further strengthens our relationship at a critical time,” says IPC academic director Poonam Puri. Demand for the clinic’s services more than tripled between May 1, 2020 and April 30, 2021 and remains disproportionately high. Puri attributes the growth to the perfect storm of market volatility and pandemic isolation that has left investors vulnerable to unsuitable and high-risk investment products.

“The funds from the MFDA will allow us to create added value through client support and investor education, while also helping advance our research to inform public policy and practice in investor protection,” she says. “We couldn’t do this without the support of the legal community.”

The MFDA is the self-regulatory organization (SRO) for Canada’s mutual fund dealers and their approximately 80,000 advisers. As an SRO, the MFDA is responsible for regulating the operations, standards of practice and business conduct of its members and their representatives with a view to enhancing investor protection and strengthening public confidence in the Canadian mutual fund industry.