In the background materials posted on the Law Society website for Convocation in December of 2017, a brief of supportive letters was included. None of the many letters written by lawyers and legal associations which expressed concern about the Statement of Principles, or the EDI initiative generally, were included.
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Mar22FriMarch 22, 2019Just Say ‘No’
This year, again, the LSO annual return inquired whether I would “abide by a Statement of Principles that acknowledges my obligation to promote equality, diversity and inclusion”, in order to address “the barriers faced by racialized licensees”.Again, I said ‘No’.Here’s why:
Sep24MonSeptember 24, 2018Constitutional Law instructor, Leonid Sirota, has shared his Annual Report submission on the Statement of Principles:
Sep24MonSeptember 24, 2018
Annual Report Q.13
The Law Society of Upper Canada (the "LSUC") has asked me to prepare and abide by a Statement of Principle that "acknowledges my obligation to promote equality, diversity and inclusion generally, in my behaviour towards colleagues, employees, clients and the public” (the "Purported EDI Obligation").
Sep24MonSeptember 24, 2018
Dear Sirs Mesdames
This is an open letter to the benchers of the Law Society of Upper Canada (the “ LSUC ”) with respect to the new Guide to the Application of Recommendation 3(1) (the “ Guide ”) which purports to provide clarity on the new requirement that members prepare a “ statement of principle ” as...
Jul9MonJuly 9, 2018 Stephen R. Morrison LL.B., C. Arb, C. Med, FCIArbBased on the feedback that I have received from other licensees, this measure is being received as an outrage or, even worse, as a bad joke. I have yet to speak directly with another licensee who supports it. While many will probably check the right box on their annual return, merely to avoid the potential repercussions of not doing so, this coerced compliance should not be confused with assent. Respect for our governing body is being eroded, and I anticipate that this will be manifested at the next election of Benchers. Moreover, there will undoubtedly be legal challenges to the provision, and we gain little by litigation which pits our membership against its leaders. And, most significantly, I fear that the negative reaction to this measure will undermine support for the remainder of the important equality, diversity, and inclusion initiatives. I urge Convocation to reconsider.
Mar30FriMarch 30, 2018 Alec S. Bildy, LL.B., LL.M. (Cambridge)The requirement is (i) quite clearly contrary to my rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, (ii) in my opinion, ultra vires the powers of the Law Society, (iii) contrary to, and indeed ignorant of, the role and function of a lawyer in a liberal democracy, (iv) the result of political ideology, rather than any evidence-based process, and (v) deeply offensive to me personally in terms of its clear implication that I and my profession and society are racist.
Mar23FriOriginally dated November 8, 2017 March 23, 2018 Michael A. MenearOf all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its members may be the most oppressive. To be cured against one’s will and cured of ‘states’ [biases, prejudices] which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason, or those who never will.
C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock: Essays on Theology (abridged)
I do not agree with, nor can I support, the EDI (Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion) Initiative of the Law Society of Ontario (LSO). Let me explain my reasons.
Mar22ThuMarch 22, 2018 Chris DobsonInvoluntary statements are immoral. As they are lacking in moral authority, even when the intention is to force a perceived good, one cannot be required by law to make them. I object to the inclusion of the SOP in the Annual Report and will not acknowledge them even under threat of sanction. I do not acknowledge the claims of the Final Report as valid. Convocation lacks the authority to sanction licencees who have committed no offence other than to refuse to comply with a totalitarian requirement by forcing a declaration that they may not agree with or to falsely declare something which the licencee does not believe to be true. It offends my freedom of conscience, expression and religion.
Mar21WedMarch 21, 2018I comply with all applicable human rights legislation, but I have no legal obligation to "promote" any particular policy, practice or philosophy. I believe it is beyond the Law Society's legal mandate to require me to sign such a statement. I also believe that such forced expression is unconstitutional, as a violation of my right to freedom of expression.
Mar5MonMarch 5, 2018 Joseph StarkmanThe Law Society has no right or authority to require the adoption of a prescribed set of principles. Principles are, by definition, beliefs. Beliefs cannot be compelled upon a person's conscience, either morally, legally or practically. Historically, only totalitarians have pretended otherwise. Requiring this declaration and the preparation of a statement of principles it contemplates violates my freedom of conscience, belief, thought, opinion and religion. In addition, it violates my freedom of expression insofar as it requires me to affirmatively state my allegiance to the favoured causes. Furthermore, requiring a "correct" opinion or belief can never be justified in a free society; on the contrary, it is anathema to it. I object to this requirement as, among other things, unconstitutional and otherwise beyond the power of the Law Society to prescribe, as well as being vague and ill-defined.
As Justice Robert Jackson stated in striking down, in time of an existential war, a compelled declaration far more defensible under the circumstances than this one:
"[N]o official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein."