MONCTON – The New Brunswick Multicultural Council and law firm McInnes Cooper have signed an agreement to provide pro bono legal services to immigrants in the province.
This agreement aims to help alleviate barriers immigrants and refugees may face in accessing legal support due to limited finances and social complications. The aid provided by McInnes Cooper will focus mainly on issues surrounding setting up a business in Canada.
“This arrangement will help immigrants who are setting up businesses, as well as others, to make sure they are set for success here in New Brunswick,” said New Brunswick Multicultural Council president Mike Timani said in a release. “By retaining newcomers and supporting them to be successful, we will make New Brunswick successful.”
The partnership is in line with both the McInnes Cooper mission statement and the Canadian Bar Association recommended percentage of billable time contributed on a pro bono basis.
“This partnership will assist in the transition for new immigrants to Canada, specifically New Brunswick, by making legal services more accessible,” Jeff Hoyt, McInnes Cooper’s Regional Lead Partner in New Brunswick, said in a release.
McInnes Cooper’s Collective Social Responsibility Coordinator Andrea Hewitt explained that lawyers have an obligation to use their skills and knowledge to make a difference in the community.
“We want to make sure we do it responsibly and that’s why we have focused on areas of law that we actually do practice,” she said. “Our expertise is around corporate law so we’re helping mostly set up businesses or address issues within their businesses by providing pro bono legal advice.”
This is not the first partnership of its kind for McInnes Cooper. The firm has existing relationships with the Immigration Services Association of Nova Scotia and the PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada.
“This is something we’ve been doing for a while and will continue to do. With the number of refugees who are arriving in Canada and in New Brunswick in the coming months and year, we are particularly interested in helping them integrate and settle,” Hewitt said. “There is both a social and economical benefit to doing this and we’re just really excited and look forward to partnering with NBMC and the local agencies.”