To practise law in Ontario, Canada requires promoting and adhering to a statement of principles on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.
According to the Law Society of Ontario:
All lawyers and paralegals play a vital role in Accelerating Culture Shift, one of 5 strategies adopted by the Law Society to address the barriers faced by racialized licensees.
As part of this strategy you are required to create and abide by an individual Statement of Principles that acknowledges your obligation to promote equality, diversity and inclusion generally, and in your behaviour towards colleagues, employees, clients and the public.
An election for council positions (called Benchers in Canada) has just concluded. A group of 22 candidates (for 40 lawyer and five paralegal positions) declared publicly that the Statement of Principles is an overreach of the Law Society’s function of regulating lawyers (see http://stopsop.ca).
All 22 candidates opposing the Statement of Principles (SOP) were elected.
In Australia, making statements found to be against such principles can result in one’s professional Rugby career coming to a halt.
It has been pointed out that if you want to play professional Rugby that you have signed up to a contract about these issues and if you breach your contract then you are out of the game.
Many of the objecting Ontario lawyers have stated that they agree with the principles but disagree with them being a compulsory requirement to be able to practise law.
Ontario lawyers were probably one of the first lawyer organisations to implement these compulsory provisions and may also become one of the first to reverse them.