Update: Law Society of Ontario Compelled Speech
The Canadian Constitution Foundation is challenging this in court: http://www.noforcedspeech.ca/
On October 10, Professor Bruce Pardy, Lawyer Jared Brown and I uploaded the video A Call to Rebellion for Ontario Legal Professionals: (http://bit.ly/2yo4Jpe) in the wake of the Law Society’s new requirement for a mandatory “statement of principles” that appears primarily political in nature. We believe that this sets an ominous precedent, and that such demands, if accepted unchallenged by Canadian lawyers, will quickly spread to the other professional colleges and organizations in Canada and beyond.
This video discussion is an update on what has happened since. Many articles have been written about these demands:
Why I’m ignoring the Law Society’s Orwellian dictate: http://bit.ly/2zegpu7
Here is a summary of the relevant issues:
Recently, the Law Society of Upper Canada (Ontario) has made major revisions to their requirements for the annual submission for legal practitioners in that province. As part of a five-part strategic program known as “Accelerating Culture Shift,” all lawyers are now required to write, submit and abide by a “Statement of Principles.” The details can be viewed here https://www.lsuc.on.ca/EDI/ — a site which indicates what lawyers now need to “KNOW AND DO” (caps in the original) for 2017.
The content of the now-mandatory “Statement of Principles” has been dictated and will be reviewed for compliance by the Law Society itself: Acknowledgement of the “obligation to promote equality, diversity and inclusion generally, and in… behavior towards colleagues, employees, clients and the public.” This is part of a broader claim by the same society of systemic racism endemic in the legal profession in Ontario – a claim for which very little credible evidence has been collected and distributed.
Furthermore, the Society now requires every legal workplace of 10 or more licensees to “develop, implement and maintain a human rights/diversity policy” and to undergo an “equality, diversity and inclusion self-assessment for their legal workplace, to be provided to the Law Society” (which will also “encourage legal workplaces to conduct inclusion surveys by providing them with sample templates.”)
Failure to do comply brings with it the threat of serious penalties, including reputational damage and, more seriously, loss of the right to practice.
By implementing such requirements the Law Society has shifted from an organization ensuring competent practice to one dedicated to policing political and philosophical attitude and behavior. This is a clear and egregious example of compelled speech, and should be rejected as unacceptable by those at whom it is aimed.
To indicate your objections, once again (lawyers only, please, for this purpose): http://bit.ly/2xuZKOj
Confidentiality is ensured.
Jared Brown’s website and email:
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