FACL Ontario is endorsing the following candidates for the Bencher elections:
"As a racialized lawyer, woman, working mother, and spouse of another busy legal professional, I understand the challenges faced by many. The Law Society should continue to foster equity, diversity, and inclusion so that the legal profession thrives, and access to justice including Pro Bono Ontario is sustained."
“Denying the existence of systemic racism would be akin to denying climate change.”
“I do support the Statement of Principles requirement in its current form. They form part of 13 interconnected recommendations and I believe we should go even further to expand our work to eliminate systemic discrimination in the legal professions.”
“We must be dedicated to equality, diversity and inclusion in practice. The human rights of our colleagues and the legal needs of our diverse society demands that we do so. We must be dedicated to the work of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and work to address past injustices.”
“I do not believe [the Statement of Principles] is telling lawyers what to think. It simply requires lawyers to confirm that they will abide by human rights law and has the salutary effect of requiring us all to think about that once a year. It is a step toward an important goal, but more remains to be done if we are to have our bar look like our province.”
“It is time […] to stop just studying the problems and do something about it. The [Statement of Principles] is a start. I have always realized the privileges I have. The older I get (and I am not getting any younger) the more I realize these privileges and the more it motivates me to do something for those who don’t.”
“I wholeheartedly support the SOP requirement…The reaction and resistance of certain segments of the professions demonstrate the absolute need for the requirement.”
“Access to justice is clearly within the mandate of the LSO.”
“Diversity is a significant and important commitment of the Law Society and the lawyers of Ontario in service to the public.”
“I am in full support of the SOP and advancing both gender and race equity issues through the LSO.”
"Diversity, inclusion, and fair treatment of equity-seeking groups are critical for public confidence. As the legal profession, we should be at the forefront of these human rights issues."
"[I will] ensure that the recommendations of the Racialized Licensees Working Group are fully implemented. [I will] defend and oppose any attempt in Convocation or otherwise to water down or in any way render those recommendations less effective."
"This is a critical election, coming as it does following the divisive debate about the SOP. Many racialized lawyers have been deeply hurt, and rightly so, by the tenor of that debate. In my view, what is needed now is not just benchers who are on the right side of the issue, but benchers who can be very effective in moving the EDI agenda forward (and who will also show good judgment on a myriad of other issues)."
"Immediately, I can help with any efforts that pertain to learning about diverse perspectives and how these views impact legal and procedure reform, our own governance methods and what the LSO expects of of lawyers within society as a whole. With particular focus on Indigenous perspectives, I see these efforts as a way to reminds us about how the public interest is best served when we are perceived to be aware of the qualities and pressures society actually has."
"[The Law Society] must champion the need for a robust legal aid system to both levels of government and to share the profession’s insights to ensure that the profession’s concerns are known. It must support the need for a strong and independent certificate bar to represent the less fortunate, particularly against the interest of the state. It must also continue to support the “unique and effective“ work that our clinic legal aid system does to support the economically disadvantaged of this province – truly a matter of great pride for the province."
"I am committed to continuing my role as an agent of change at the Law Society. Access to justice,
diversity and service to the profession are all priorities that inform my work as a Bencher and inspire my private practice."
“We must find ways, and promptly, to embrace and grow our diversity in order to benefit from the abundance of ideas and perspectives it invariably brings.”
"Complex issues can only be properly addressed when those considering them bring to the table a diversity of views, perspectives, and backgrounds."
Janis Criger, Central South
"There is systemic racism in Ontario, including in the legal profession. It is up to lawyers to lead the way in eliminating systemic racism in Ontario and in Canada. That starts with eliminating it in the legal profession, so we set an example for others."
"We need to ensure that the Legal Aid Report recommendations are implemented; that we are connecting the public to legal services; that our rules are not creating barriers to access to justice; that we are collaborating with stakeholders to ensure access to justice...and that we are encouraging systemic change."
"I believe that requiring licensees to affirm their respect of difference, to welcome diversity, and to foster equity in their practices is entirely consistent – if not central – to our commitment to the cause of justice itself. This is particularly so in light of the legal profession’s history of excluding some groups in our society and the continuing challenges our justice institutions face as they strive to account for historic wrongs."
"It is my position that we need to go further: that every licensee should have a copy of the Statement of Principles posted in their reception area, so that it is not only that other members of the profession feel comfortable and safe, but also clients and the public who we are to serve."