CHBA Opposition to the Fagan/Brown Motions Involving EIAC & EAG (Feb. 27/20 Convocation)

DELIVERED BY E-MAIL

Convocation

Law Society of Ontario

Osgoode Hall – 130 Queen Street West Toronto

Ontario M5H 2N6

Dear Treasurer and Members of Convocation:

RE: CHBA Opposition to the Fagan/Brown Motions Involving EIAC & EAG (Feb. 27/20 Convocation)

The Canadian Hispanic Bar Association (“CHBA”), an organizational member of the Law Society of Ontario’s Equity Advisory Group (“EAG”), would like to express its opposition to the motions brought by John Fagan and seconded by Jared Brown (the “Motions”).

As you know, the EAG’s mandate is to assist the Equity and Indigenous Affairs Committee/Comité sur l’équité et les affaires autochtones (“EAIC”), in the development of policy options for the promotion of equity and diversity in the legal profession by: i) identifying and advising the EAIC on issues affecting equity communities, both within the legal profession and relevant to those seeking access to the profession; ii) providing input to the EAIC on the planning and development of policies and practices related to equity, both within the Law Society and the profession; and iii) commenting to the EAIC on Law Society of Ontario reports and studies relating to equity issues within the profession.

The need for such an advisory group was identified in the 1997 Bicentennial Report on Equity Issues in the Legal Profession. Since then, the EAG has been working collaboratively with the Law Society to address issues that affect all of us in the legal profession. Some of the reports that the EAG has participated in and which have led to positive changes in the profession include: the Career Choices Survey and Articling Reports, the Mental Health Report, Indigenous Initiatives, the Professor Fiona Kay Reports, the Retention of Women in Private Practice Consultation reports, etc.

Specifically, the CHBA is concerned that, rather than contributing to the goals of inclusion and diversity in the profession and recognizing the important role of the EAG in the EAIC, the Motions attempt to address a perceived problem in the internal workings of the EAIC –which is outside the control of the EAG– as justification to censure the EAG and challenge its existence altogether. As such, the CHBA respectfully submits that any issues concerning the internal workings of the EAIC do not reasonably justify the elimination of the EAG, which has been contributing to the betterment of the profession for the last 23 years. We continue to believe that it is important for licensees and the public to see that the legal profession is making efforts to better reflect the increasing diversity of Ontario’s population. To that end, we ask that Convocation once again stand on the side of continuing to work collaboratively with our equity partners and communities towards the promotion of diversity and inclusion in our profession.

Yours very truly,

The Canadian Hispanic Bar Association

Cc. Equity Advisory Group, eag@lso.ca, CHBA Membership