Pro Bono Services
Cassels is providing pro bono legal services to help our colleagues in Afghanistan, and other vulnerable Afghans, resettle in Canada. Lawyers, judges, and other individuals who provided vital support to Canada and its allies for years in Afghanistan continue to face the very real threat of retaliation by the Taliban. Many remain in hiding while others languish in precarious and untenable circumstances abroad with no clear pathway to secure resettlement.
Cassels and other members of the legal community have joined community and professional organizations in advocating for those vulnerable Afghans. Meetings were held with various government ofﬁcials and public interest groups. An intense letter writing and phone call campaign to Members of Parliament urged Government ofﬁcials to honour Canada’s public pledge to accept vulnerable Afghans into Canada under the Special Immigration Measures (SIM) Program. The campaign also urged the Canadian government to ensure that the individuals who had provided direct assistance to the Canadian government and who had met the admission criteria of the SIM Program would have their applications processed.
Realizing that, collectively, the legal community in Canada could do more together than one ﬁrm could accomplish on its own, 21 Canadian law ﬁrms were signatories to an Open Letter to the Government of Canada in February 2022. That letter called on the Government to effectively, efﬁciently, and promptly fulﬁll its promise to admit 40,000 Afghan nationals under the SIM Program so that Afghans who had been threatened could re-start their lives in peace and security.
While signiﬁcant progress on the resettlement effort has not yet been made, we are buoyed by the way the legal community has rallied together to assist these vulnerable Afghans and remain hopeful that our combined advocacy will play a critical role in helping them escape the life-threatening situation in Afghanistan.
The Beltline Neighbourhoods Association (BNA) is a vibrant, grassroots community organization dedicated to the enhancement of the Beltline district in urban Calgary.
BNA’s ﬂagship summer mural festival, The Beltline Urban Murals Project (BUMP), is an annual, community-driven initiative that has been transforming the centre of Calgary into an expansive, open-air urban art gallery featuring artists, murals, music, and cinema. BUMP features local, national and international artists, including many racialized and Indigenous artists.
Cassels lawyers Jeremy Barretto and Marco Ciarlariello have been providing pro bono legal services to BNA for BUMP since 2019. That support includes the contractual review of agreements with the building owners who host the murals and with the participating artists. Marco also provides an intellectual property workshop for participating artists.
Founded in 2013, RARE Theatre is a non-proﬁt charitable community arts organization that provides a voice to disenfranchised communities through theatre. Since its inception, RARE has produced original works of theatre starring and informed by the lived experience of actors with Down’s Syndrome, actors who use wheelchairs, blind and deaf performers, 2SLGBTQ+ actors, and children living through the pandemic.
Cassels has been providing RARE Theatre pro bono services from day one, including support in corporate administration and employment, intellectual property, and entertainment law. Cassels has also assisted RARE Theatre in obtaining charitable status and various grants. This year, Cassels lawyers Chris Horkins, Stephen Henderson, Thea Gaertner, and Stefanie Di Francesco provided pro bono legal advice and assistance in support of RARE Theatre’s production of Children Speak, a radio play chronicling the lives of 14 GTA-based children representing diverse and unique backgrounds during the global pandemic.
Cassels lawyers provide pro bono legal services to many other organizations and events in our communities.