As part of The Law Society of Upper Canada's mandate to ensure access to justice, the Law Society builds equity and diversity values and principles into its policies, programs and procedures. The Law Society seeks to ensure that both law and the practice of law are reflective of all the peoples of Ontario, including Aboriginal Peoples, Francophones and equity-seeking communities. The Law Society also works to ensure that its workplace and the legal profession are free of harassment and discrimination.
Equity and Diversity in the Ontario Legal Profession.
With membership of the legal profession growing at a rate of approximately 1,000 annually, the increasing diversity of the profession is evident. More women, racialized persons, Aboriginal Peoples, gays, lesbians, bisexual persons, transgendered persons, persons with disabilities, and Francophones are entering the profession and bringing with them a diverse range of knowledge, skills and experience that enables the profession to better understand and address Ontario's rapidly changing communities.
In order to ensure that equity needs are identified and met, the Law Society:
The Law Society's Equity Initiatives Department plays a leadership role in coordinating all of these activities. The department was created in 1997 following the adoption of the Bicentennial Report on Equity Issues in the Legal Profession by the Law Society's governing body. The report summarizes the work of the Law Society to promote equity and diversity in the legal profession and the challenges of pursuing this direction in the future. The report also contains recommendations to ensure the promotion of equity and diversity in Ontario's legal profession, addressing such areas as ongoing policy development, legal education and governance.
For further information, contact the Equity Initiatives Department through the Resource Centre at (416) 947-3315 or 1-800-668-7380 ext. 3315 or by e-mail.