Environmental Justice and Sustainability Clinical Program

The Environmental Justice and Sustainability (EJS) Clinic works to advance environmental justice and sustainability in Canada by carrying out a variety of legal work on a pro bono basis.  “Environmental justice” mobilizes environmental, civil rights, anti-racist, anti-poverty, Indigenous rights and feminist agendas to challenge the unequal distribution of environmental burdens and benefits in society. “Sustainability” involves the simultaneous pursuit of ecological integrity, social equity, and economic prosperity within the biophysical constraints of local and planetary ecosystems. This mandate encompasses a broad range of subject-matter, including biodiversity, energy, water, food, climate change, pollution, resource extraction, land use planning, Indigenous rights, human rights, green-technology, social enterprise, corporate social responsibility, toxic torts, and regulatory compliance.

What You Will Do

The EJS Clinic undertakes a range of legal work for a variety of clients, in cooperation with external organizations. Students are not placed physically with external organizations, although they may participate in some in-person activties; they conduct most of their clinical work at Osgoode. Files are selected by the Clinic for their likely lasting positive impact on environmental justice and sustainability. Clients may include individuals, community groups, public interest non-governmental organizations, Indigenous organizations, First Nations, municipalities, cooperatives, and social enterprises.  As a student in the program, you have the opportunity to participate in legal work supervised by experts in the field. The types of legal work are varied, and you may be assigned a file involving litigation, law reform, legislative drafting, or community legal education and outreach. In addition to your clinical work, you will participate in the program seminar that meets biweekly throughout the academic year.

Examples of Past Placements

  • Canadian Environmental Law Association
  • West Coast Environmental Law Association
  • Ecojustice
  • Greenpeace Canada

What You Will Learn

  • to think critically and constructively about environmental justice and sustainability
  • models and methods of public interest lawyering
  • to evaluate law’s potential to remedy past and present environmental injustices and to promote the transition to a more sustainable Canadian society and economy
  • theories of environmental justice and sustainability
  • legal research, writing, campaigning and drafting skills

Program Directors

Professor Dayna Nadine Scott

Professor Estair Van Wagner