Working Together for Change: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

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On December 2, 2016, Convocation adopted strategies for the Law Society recommended by the Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Working Group Report to address issues of systemic racism in the legal professions. The strategies, based on extensive research and province-wide consultations, recognize that racialized lawyers and paralegals face longstanding and significant challenges at all stages of their legal careers.

The five areas of strategic focus are:

1. Accelerating a culture shift
2. Measuring progress
3. Educating for change
4. Implementing supports
5. Leading by example.

What does this mean for licensees of the Law Society?

These strategies include regulatory obligations that lawyers and paralegals are to fulfil in 2017 and beyond, and on which they will be required to report annually.

It is vital that all licensees are aware of their obligations, as implementation of the strategies proceeds. 

Lawyers and paralegals are encouraged to review the Final Report of the Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Working Group and its recommendations for more information.

Resources are being developed to assist lawyers and paralegals.  These and additional information will available in the coming months. 

Related Documents

     Final report: Working Together for Change: Strategies to Address Issues of Systemic Racism in the Legal Professions – November 2016

    The Working Group and its Research

    As part of its ongoing efforts to promote equity, diversity and inclusiveness in Ontario's legal profession, The Law Society of Upper Canada created the Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Working Group in 2012 to identify the challenges faced by racialized lawyers and paralegals and consider strategies for enhanced inclusion at all career stages.

    After gathering extensive information about the challenges faced by racialized licensees and best practices to address these challenges, the Working Group prepared the consultation paper, Developing Strategies for Change: Addressing Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees. The paper was presented to Convocation on October 30, 2014, and included a series of questions for the professions and public to consider and provide feedback on. Consultation meetings were held in key cities during the winter of 2015. The Working Group also received a number of written submissions. (see below)

    In September 2016, the Working Group, presented a report with 13 proposed recommendations and invited submissions from the public and the professions. The Working Group received positive comments with many individuals and organizations commending the Law Society on addressing this issue.

    Twenty-three submissions were received from individuals and 23 from organizations. The Working Group determined that only submissions from organizations are to be public.  Many of the individual submissions speak to personal experiences and the Working Group believes that should those individuals wish to make their views public, they should have the option to do so on their own.  The Working Group’s final report and 13 recommendations were approved at Dec. 2, 2016 Convocation.

    Relevant reports

    Consultation Document: Working Together for Change: Strategies to Address Issues of Systemic Racism in the Legal Professions - September 2016 

    2014 Statistical Snapshot of Lawyers

    2014 Statistical Snapshot of Paralegals

    Developing Strategies for Change: Addressing Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees - October 2014

    Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Working Group – October 2012

    Consultation Fact Sheet

    Results from Consultant Engagement Process - Stratcom Final Report

    Equity Advisory Committee Submission in Response to Stratcom Report

    Results from Community Engagement Process:

             Results from Informal Engagements

             Community Liaison Report

    Law Society Studies and Scan of Best Practices

    Written submissions*

    The following written submissions were received in response to the Working Group’s initial consultation paper, which was presented to Convocation on October 30, 2014.  The authors have consented to the public release of their submissions.

    Arab Canadian Lawyers Association

    Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Ontario - French submissions

    Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Ontario - English translation

    Association of Law Officers of the Crown

    Canadian Association of Black Lawyers

    Canadian Association of Labour Lawyers

    Canadian Association of Muslim Women Lawyers in Law

    Canadian Association of Somali Lawyers

    Canadian Hispanic Bar Association

    Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association

    Dhaliwal, Manpreet; Kassam, Abbas; de Mello, Toni; Dabo, Anne-Karine

    Dosanjh, Balraj

    Equity Advisory Group of the Law Society of Upper Canada

    Family Lawyers Association

    Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers

    Girvan, Robert

    Human Rights Legal Support Centre

    Indigenous Bar Association

    Law Firm

    LawPRO

    Law Students Society of Ontario

    Luu, Molly

    Ontario Bar Association

    Ontario Paralegal Association

    Professor John Packer

    Scorey, Andrew

    Dean Lorne Sossin

    South Asian Bar Association

    St. Patrick Baxter, Michael

    The Advocates' Society

    University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law Students

    University of Windsor, Faculty of Law, Equity and Diversity Committee

    Jun Cai Wang

    Women Paralegal Association of Ontario

    * If you face difficulties in accessing the submissions, please contact Ekua Quansah at the contact information listed above.