As we all know, in 2016, the Law Society of Ontario (LSO) adopted the Report of the Challenges Facing Racialized Licensees Working Group. Our organization has been involved with this process from the inception of the LSO working group in 2012, through the consultation process in 2015, and the final report in 2016.
One of the recommendations of this final report was to require every licensee (i.e. all lawyers and paralegals) to adopt a personal and confidential “Statement of Principles” (SoP) to advance greater equality, diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.
The LSO elected a new Board on April 30, 2019. A number of the newly-elected members do not support the required SoP.
On June 27, 2019, Convocation (i.e. the business meeting of the LSO’s Board of Directors) considered two motions regarding the SoP. The main issue was whether the SoP should be repealed or made voluntary. After eight long hours of debate, the day ended in impasse and the SoP remained the status quo.
A special meeting of Convocation is scheduled for Wednesday, September 11, 2019 at the LSO in order to continue the consideration of this matter.
CHBA continues to believe in the value of the SoP and, facing the prospect of completely abandoning the progress made thus far, endorses the motion proposed by benchers, Joseph Groia and Teresa Donnelly, to make the SoP voluntary. We understand that other members of the RoundTable of Diversity Association (RODA) and Demand Inclusion also support the voluntary pledge, and we stand united with them.
For more information about Convocation on September 11th, please visit the LSO’s website. If you wish to attend and stand in solidarity with our partner organizations, you can wear purple to show your support. Please see Demand Inclusion’s websitefor more information.