Osgoode Clinic Provides Free Legal Assistance To Aggrieved Investors

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TORONTO, November 2, 2017 – The Investor Protection Clinic at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School wants to hear from investors who believe that their funds have been mishandled and who cannot afford a lawyer to help them sort out the problem.

The newly launched Clinic – the first of its kind in Canada – is staffed by Osgoode students who are paired with supervising lawyers from leading business law firms in Ontario. The student-lawyer teams provide free legal advice to qualifying investors on a range of issues. The Investor Protection Clinic was founded by FAIR Canada and Osgoode Hall Law School with funding from the Law Foundation of Ontario Access to Justice Fund.

“We’d like to hear from investors who believe they have suffered an investment loss as a result of someone else’s wrongdoing,” said Professor Poonam Puri, Director of the Investor Protection Clinic.

Common issues that the Clinic may be able to help with include cases of an advisor, teller or customer service representative at a bank, insurance company or investment firm misrepresenting the risk of a client’s investments; funds being used in ways that a client was unaware of; an advisor making too many trades, resulting in high commissions or trading fees; a firm charging fees that were not explained to a client; and an advisor signing forms on a client’s behalf without their permission. However, the Clinic is unable to help clients with losses that occurred as a result of market forces and risks inherent in investing.

Puri said the Clinic’s student-lawyer teams might assist an investor by, for example, writing a complaint letter on their behalf to the company or the regulator; giving a client options on how to proceed with their issues; or even representing the client at a hearing.

“Institutional investors can take care of themselves for the most part,” Puri said. “But most people are not going to have the funds to hire a lawyer when things go wrong with their investments, and a regulator like the Ontario Securities Commission can’t help everybody.”

Puri added that the Clinic will decide on a case-by-case basis whether or not to accept a client and will consider factors such as income, assets, net worth and the nature of the concerns.

According to lawyer Marian Passmore, Director of Policy and COO at FAIR Canada, the Clinic “will help Ontarians navigate a very complicated area involving securities, banking and insurance products and the firms who sell them. Average investors who have experienced some sort of loss of their investments in some way often don’t know where to start when that happens to them.”

For more information about the Investor Protection Clinic, call 416-736-5538 or e-mail ipc@osgoode.yorku.ca

View a short video interview with Professor Poonam Puri.


Osgoode Hall Law School of York University has a proud history of 128 years of leadership and innovation in legal education and legal scholarship. A total of about 900 students are enrolled in Osgoode’s three-year Juris Doctor (JD) Program as well as joint and combined programs. The school’s Graduate Program in Law is also the largest in the country and one of the most highly regarded in North America. In addition, Osgoode Professional Development, which operates out of Osgoode’s facility in downtown Toronto, offers both degree and non-degree programming for Canadian and international lawyers, non-law professionals, firms and organizations. Osgoode has an internationally renowned faculty of 60 full-time professors, and more than 100 adjunct professors. Our respected community of more than 18,000 alumni are leaders in the legal profession and in many other fields in Canada and across the globe.

York University is known for championing new ways of thinking that drive teaching and research excellence. Our students receive the education they need to create big ideas that make an impact on the world. Meaningful and sometimes unexpected careers result from cross-discipline programming, innovative course design and diverse experiential learning opportunities. York students and graduates push limits, achieve goals and find solutions to the world’s most pressing social challenges, empowered by a strong community that opens minds. York U is an internationally recognized research university – our 11 faculties and 26 research centres have partnerships with 200+ leading universities worldwide. Located in Toronto, York is the third largest university in Canada, with a strong community of 53,000 students, 7,000 faculty and administrative staff, and more than 295,000 alumni. York U’s fully bilingual Glendon campus is home to Southern Ontario’s Centre of Excellence for French Language and Bilingual Postsecondary Education.

FAIR Canada, also known as the Canadian Foundation for Advancement of Investor Rights, is an independent, national, charitable organization dedicated to the advancement of investor rights. As a voice for Canadian investors, FAIR Canada provides information and education to the public, governments and regulators about investors’ rights and protections in Canada’s capital markets. For more information about FAIR Canada go to www.faircanada.ca.

Media Contacts:

Virginia Corner, Communications Manager, Osgoode Hall Law School of York University, 416-736-5820, vcorner@osgoode.yorku.ca

Sandra McLean, York University Media Relations, 416-736-2100 ext. 22097, sandramc@yorku.ca