Frequently Asked Questions about the CPD Equality and Inclusion Requirement

The Law Society has prepared the following FAQs to assist licensees with understanding their Continuing Professional Development ("CPD") obligations related to equality and inclusion.

1. Who is required to complete the CPD Equality and Inclusion Requirement?  

While all lawyers and paralegals are encouraged to engage in equality and inclusion training, only lawyers and paralegals subject to the CPD Requirement are required to complete the CPD Equality and Inclusion Requirement. See the Continuing Professional Development Requirement webpage to determine if you are required to fulfill the CPD Requirement.  

2. What is the CPD Equality and Inclusion Requirement?  

Between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2020, lawyers and paralegals subject to the CPD Requirement are required to complete a total of 3 accredited Professionalism Hours that focus on advancing equality and inclusion in the legal professions. Each year thereafter, lawyers and paralegals must complete 1 Professionalism Hour that addresses issues of equality and inclusion. These hours count towards their CPD Professionalism Hours requirement.

3. What is the purpose of the CPD Equality and Inclusion Requirement?  

The purpose of the mandatory CPD training on equality and inclusion is to create awareness of the challenges faced by racialized licensees and assist in enhancing diversity and inclusion within all legal workplaces in Ontario. See the Final Report of the Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Working Group and its recommendations for more information.

4. Do licensees have to complete accredited programs and activities to fulfill the CPD Equality and Inclusion Requirement?  

Yes, Professionalism Hours, including Equality and Inclusion Professionalism Hours, must be accredited by the Law Society.

5. What are the accreditation criteria for Equality and Inclusion Professionalism Hours?  

The criteria for Equality and Inclusion Professionalism Hours can be found in the Accreditation Criteria for Professionalism Hours , listed under Professionalism Topics.

6. What are some examples of topics that would qualify for Equality and Inclusion Professionalism Hours?  

Programs or alternate activities on the following foundational topics may qualify for Equality and Inclusion Professionalism Hours: 

  • Concepts, themes and terminology related to equality and inclusion
  • Historical and demographic context to the challenges to addressing barriers faced by equity-seeking groups
  • The 94 Calls to Action and themes related to reconciliation arising from the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, including topics that enhance Indigenous cultural competency
  • Theoretical and practical approaches to the advancement of inclusion and to learning best practices from different sectors and disciplines

Programs and alternate activities addressing equality, diversity and inclusion in the legal workplace are eligible for Equality and Inclusion Professionalism Hours. Sub-topics may include:

  • How to develop model policies to address the challenges faced by equity-seeking groups
  • Prevention of discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment and violence in the workplace
  • Barriers to and best practices for achieving effective communication or collaborative problem solving
  • Investigation and best practices in response to complaints of discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment and violence in a legal workplace
  • The role of the Law Society’s Discrimination and Harassment Counsel
  • The business case for diversity and inclusion
  • How to develop, implement and measure the success of a diversity and inclusion strategy
  • Recruitment, hiring, retention and advancement of licensees from equity-seeking groups (e.g., competency-based hiring, bias-free interview procedures, clear career paths)
  • Creating support systems within and outside the legal workplace (e.g., mentoring, advising, networking, coaching, sponsorship, and opportunities for open discussions about the challenges in addressing barriers faced by equity-seeking groups)
  • Strategies to support the professional development and advancement of equity-seeking groups, including  leadership skills, coaching, mentorship, sponsorship, business development, career opportunities or set-backs

Programs or alternate activities about inclusive leadership are eligible for Equality and Inclusion Professionalism Hours. Inclusive leadership may include the following sub-topics:

  • Identifying, understanding and resolving one’s own unconscious biases
  • Recognizing power dynamics
  • Developing strategies and skills for effective communication, decision making, team building and conflict resolution
  • Understanding the difference between coaching, advising, mentorship, sponsorship and champions and the impact that these supports have at each stage of professional development
  • Best practices for coaching, advising, mentoring, sponsoring and championing members of equity-seeking groups

The examples provided above are not exhaustive. Please contact the Law Society’s CPD Accreditation department at cpdacc@lsuc.on.ca if you have questions about whether a particular program or alternate activity may qualify for Equality and Inclusion Professionalism Hours.

7. What are some examples of topics that would not qualify for Equality and Inclusion Professionalism Hours?  

The following are not eligible for professionalism accreditation under the Equality and Inclusion professionalism criteria:

  • Complying with obligations arising from the Final Report of the Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Working Group (e.g., drafting a Statement of Principles, completing the LAR/PAR or engaging in a self-assessment or data collection).
  • Running the business of a legal workplace (e.g., the development, implementation and evaluation of the effectiveness of diversity and inclusion strategies)
  • Substantive law relating to human rights or equality generally (i.e., legislation or case law that does not relate to a lawyer or paralegal’s obligations to members of the public; clients; lawyers, paralegals, support staff in the workplace; or to third party vendors in relation to the practice of law or provision of legal services)
 

8. Does the Equality and Inclusion professionalism criteria cover content related to all equity-seeking groups?  

Yes.  While continuing to ensure that the needs of racialized licensees are fully acknowledged and addressed, the recommendations for racialized licensees set out in the Final Report of the Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Working Group extend as appropriate to all equity-seeking groups.   

9. Does the Equality and Inclusion professionalism criteria cover content related to the Indigenous experience?  

Yes.  The Law Society is currently implementing an Indigenous Framework, with guidance from the Indigenous Advisory Group to the Law Society, to address unique issues that affect Indigenous licensees, communities and individuals in Ontario and to promote action in relation to the Calls to Action from the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. The Equality and Inclusion professionalism criteria will be reviewed and updated as the Indigenous Framework is implemented.

10. Do programs on “cultural competence” or “cultural awareness” qualify for Equality and Inclusion Professionalism Hours?  

Cultural competence training will meet the Equality and Inclusion professionalism criteria where it supports the Law Society’s ongoing commitment to ensure that both the law and the practice of law are reflective of all peoples in Ontario and that the professions are free of discrimination and harassment.

11. Do accredited Equality and Inclusion programs and alternate activities count towards my professionalism CPD requirements for the year?  

Yes. Licensees who participate in programs or alternate activities that have been accredited for Equality and Inclusion Professionalism Hours can count these hours towards their CPD Professionalism Hours requirement for the year in which the hours are taken.

12. When am I permitted to begin completing the Equality and Inclusion Requirement?  

On January 1, 2018, licensees may begin to meet the Equality and Inclusion Requirement.  Programs and alternate activities related to equality and inclusion that were completed on or before December 31, 2017 do not count towards the completion of the Equality and Inclusion Requirement.

13. Am I required to complete the 3-hour Equality and Inclusion Requirement all at once?  

No. Licensees can complete the required 3 Equality and Inclusion Professionalism Hours all at once or the 3 Equality and Inclusion Professionalism Hours can be spread out over the 3-year period.

14. Can I complete the first 3 hours of the Equality and Inclusion Requirement in the final year?  

Yes. Licensees have from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2020 to complete 3 hours of an accredited program focused on equality and inclusion. These hours can be completed and reported at any time within the 3-year period.   

15. How will I know whether a program is accredited for Equality and Inclusion Professionalism Hours?  

Accredited programs containing Equality and Inclusion Professionalism Hours can be identified by the below logo, which will appear on program marketing materials and agendas. For information on the use of the logo, please reference the Communication Guidelines for Providers:

Accreditation EDI Logo  

16. Do Accredited Providers of Professionalism Content need to apply for accreditation of Equality and Inclusion professionalism content where it is included in their programming?  

No. Accredited Providers can deliver CPD programs containing Equality and Inclusion professionalism content without applying for accreditation of such content. However, Accredited Providers must ensure, as with all other professionalism content, that the Equality and Inclusion content included in the program is aligned with the Accreditation Criteria for Professionalism Hours .

Accredited Providers should contact the Law Society’s CPD Accreditation department at cpdacc@lsuc.on.ca with any questions about whether a particular program qualifies for Equality and Inclusion Professionalism Hours.

17. Can Accredited Providers of Professionalism Content accredit programs that were delivered prior to the introduction of the new CPD Equality and Inclusion Requirement and that fall within the accreditation criteria for Equality and Inclusion?  

Yes. Accredited Providers who previously delivered a CPD professionalism program containing Equality and Inclusion content identified under the Accreditation Criteria for Professionalism Hours and who wish to continue to deliver it in 2018 and onwards (e.g., in an on-demand format), may indicate (in accordance with the Communication Guidelines for Providers) that the program contains Equality and Inclusion Professionalism Hours.