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News & Press: Practice

Statement of Principles: A Guide to the Application of Recommendation 3(1)

November 21, 2017  
The CCLA would like to advise the legal community that the Law Society has just released its Guide to the Application of Recommendation 3(1) regarding the Statement of Principles contained in the Working Together for Change: Strategies to Address Issues of Systemic Racism in the Legal Professions report approved by convocation.

The information below has been provided to licensees by the Law Society on November 21, 2017:

The Recommendation is one of 13 approved by the Law Society to promote equality, diversity and inclusion in the legal professions following our findings of systemic racism in the professions. The Statement is one aspect of raising awareness by asking all licensees’ to reflect on their existing obligations and special responsibilities to respect human rights laws.

In light of the questions raised, the Law Society believes that additional clarification would be helpful. To that end, a Guide to the Application of Recommendation 3(1) has been developed.

The Guide, which can be accessed here, provides clarification on the intent of the Recommendation and addresses the concerns that some have raised that the Recommendation is “compelled speech,” or requires adherence to specific beliefs.

The Guide states that the requirement does not carry any obligation to profess a particular belief, or seek to persuade anyone to believe in a certain point-of-view. Rather, it references existing legal and professional obligations regarding human rights and the prevention of systemic racism and discrimination, and makes clear that the Statement relates to a licensee’s professional conduct.

There is an urgent need to take meaningful action to address systemic racism and discrimination against all equality-seeking groups in the legal professions. We thank you for your engagement on this issue and your contribution in helping the professions work towards ensuring a modern, responsive, and inclusive environment for all licensees.

If you have any questions, please contact us by emailing: lawsociety@lsuc.on.ca.