The Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) benchers turned down a motion that would have given conscientious objectors an exemption from adopting and abiding by a statement of principles acknowledging their obligation to promote equality, diversity and inclusion.
The Statement of Principles is one of 13 recommendations designed to assist the legal profession in combatting systemic racism and discrimination.
The recommendations are detailed in the report by the Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Working Group and are drawn from four years of research and consultations.
Bencher Joe Groia introduced the motion after backlash from legal scholars and lawyers who argued the requirement was unconstitutional and compelled speech.
WeirFoulds Partner and LSUC Bencher Raj Anand said the requirement is simply an acknowledgement of obligations lawyers already have.
“Diversity and inclusion is not a zero-sum game,” said Anand, who was the co-chairman of the LSUC’s Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Working Group.
“The human rights of some are the human rights of all. Inclusion benefits all of us.”
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