There is no pro bono organization in Manitoba. The Manitoba Bar Association has a Pro Bono Project in partnership with the Public Interest Law Centre. Members can sign up to participate in one of three ways:
they can take a regular Legal Aid certificate, and arrange for their fees to be directed to the Public Interest Law Centre
they can make a donation by cash or cheque
they can join our pro bono panel of lawyers who are willing to work on a public interest case pro bono. They might take on a case on their own, they might work with us as co-counsel, or they might simply be available to consult or give advice as needed. By the way, cases accepted by this office are public interest cases, which are likely to change the law, or to affect a large number of people.
Recently a group of volunteers organized and launched the Legal Help Centre. Using donations, a very small staff, and a group of volunteer students (from law and social work) and volunteer lawyers, the Help Centre has drop in hours where people can show up, and meet with a student. The student will interview the client, and for those with legal issues that may have some merit, they can arrange an appointment with a volunteer lawyer, who can give some preliminary advice or referrals. They do not usually provide representation, as far as I am aware. I will send you the link to the Help Centre's website.
This isn't a pro bono service, but the Law Society of Manitoba has launched a Family Law Access program, whereby low income clients who do not qualify for legal aid can receive legal assistance with family law matters at a reduced cost. Lawyers sign up to take clients at a reduced fee. The Law Society pays the lawyers directly, and is responsible for collecting from the client, usually through a payment plan. I understand that uptake has been high, and there is often a waiting list. I'll send you the link for this program as well.
Finally, the Community Legal Education Association offers a free legal information call-in line, as well as a lawyer referral line, answered by 2 staff lawyers. Both lines are very busy, and it is difficult to get through.
I suspect that the issues in Manitoba are similar to other provinces.
There are a number of places where people can go to get some initial advice or referrals. The trouble is that there are very few options for getting pro bono representation (other than for public interest cases).