Who We Are

The Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) is a non-profit, public interest organization established in 1970 to use existing laws to protect the environment and to advocate environmental law reforms. Funded by Legal Aid Ontario, CELA is one of 76 community legal clinics located across Ontario, 18 of which offer services in specialized areas of the law (for contact information, see Getting Legal Help: A Directory Community Legal Clinics in Ontario). CELA also undertakes additional educational and law reform projects funded by government and private foundations. To find out more see our most recent Annual Report.

Clinic Mandate

The Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) is a specialty community legal clinic providing services to low income individuals and disadvantaged communities across Ontario in environmental law matters. CELA was established in 1970, funded as an Ontario specialty legal aid clinic since 1978, and incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation without share capital pursuant to the laws of Canada in 1982, providing legal aid services to the community without fees for service. CELA services include environmental law legal services, including representation before a variety of courts and tribunals as well as assistance to individuals representing themselves, summary advice, law reform and public legal education.

CELA's objectives are:

  • To provide equitable access to justice to those otherwise unable to afford representation for their environmental problems;
  • To advocate for comprehensive laws, standards and policies that will protect and enhance public health and environmental quality in Ontario and throughout Canada;
  • To increase public participation in environmental decision-making;
  • To work with the public and public interest groups to foster long-term sustainable solutions to environmental concerns and resource use;
  • To prevent harm to human and ecosystem health through application of precautionary measures.

In accomplishing all of these objectives, primary recognition is given to CELA’s mandate to assist low-income people and disadvantaged communities.