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The Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (FACL Ontario) Strongly Endorses the Good Governance Coalition in the 2023 Bencher Elections for the Law Society of Ontario (LSO)

The Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (FACL Ontario) offers its full support for the Good Governance Coalition and their bencher candidates in the upcoming 2023 Bencher elections for the Law Society of Ontario (LSO).

FACL Ontario is committed to promoting equity, justice, and opportunity for Asian Canadian legal professionals and the broader community. We believe these goals can be more fully achieved with strong allies and supporters who similarly recognize the challenge of systemic discrimination in society, and who will work with us in advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion in the legal profession and beyond. As members of the legal profession, we also expect the highest standards of responsible self-governance, competence, and professionalism from our elected representatives in support of these goals.

The members of the Good Governance Coalition have individually and collectively made meaningful commitments to these key priorities. Their candidates are experienced leaders of our profession and include past presidents of FACL Ontario, Gerald Chan and Julia Shin Doi, the latter also being one of FACL’s founders. FACL Ontario’s board of directors has resolved to support the Good Governance Coalition because we believe this group collectively represents a step forward for FACL Ontario’s members and the legal profession in their service of the public interest.

We have witnessed the damage caused to our profession when the LSO is used as a vehicle for campaigns opposed to a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive profession. The members of the FullSTOP slate have made it clear that their aim is to strip the LSO of any involvement in promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion, despite the Supreme Court of Canada’s determination in Trinity Western University v. Law Society of Upper Canada, 2018 SCC 33, that the promotion of a diverse bar is squarely within its statutory mandate to act in the public interest.

The LSO is a serious body for self-regulation. It should be focused on removing barriers to practice for its members through good governance and by acknowledging and supporting those who experience systemic discrimination in the profession.

To those who support responsible self-governance, equity, diversity, and inclusion, we urge you to vote for the members of the Good Governance Coalition in this upcoming LSO bencher election. All StopSOP slate candidates were successful in 2019, but they failed to run a sufficient number of candidates to establish a majority at convocation. If the rebranded FullSTOP slate is successful in next month’s elections, many of the advances achieved since FACL’s inception in 2007 may be eroded. We urge you to participate in this year’s election and to vote for the entire Good Governance Coalition slate to ensure this does not happen.

The 2023 Bencher Election will take place from April 19-28, 2023. FACL encourages all our members to review the Good Governance Coalition candidates and policy positions to better understand why your vote is critical to ensuring a better LSO and good governance for all.