Building a truly diverse and inclusive workplace is a key priority and business imperative for Osler’s leadership team. We are taking real concrete steps aimed at fostering a work culture that ensures that all individuals who work at Osler feel respected and included, can bring their full selves to work and do not face obstacles to success because of their background or experiences.
Firmwide initiatives to further the advancement of underrepresented groups include biennial internal demographic surveys, unconscious bias training and specific programs dedicated to advancing the representation and inclusion of members of our firm from diverse backgrounds. We are focused on developing programs to support the professional advancement of underrepresented groups in our diverse community and are taking steps to better understand the experiences of others.
“Throughout my career at Osler, the firm has shown an impressive commitment to promoting diversity and inclusiveness. That commitment has been, and is continually, demonstrated through its support both internally and externally of countless initiatives and programs. Equally as meaningful as those formal demonstrations, has been the culture that the firm has fostered and that I have experienced over the years; one where differences are understood and respected but not used to define a person. Osler is a place where individuals, irrespective of their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or anything else, can and do succeed at every level.”
In 2020, along with other leading Canadian law firms, Osler signed the BlackNorth Initiative Law Firm Pledge, an important step in furthering our commitment to addressing anti-Black and other forms of structural racism in the legal profession. The pledge asks firms to commit to specific actions and targets designed to end anti-Black systemic racism and create opportunities for those in underrepresented BIPOC communities. Osler signed the BlackNorth Pledge because of our individual and collective commitment to achieve the goals set out in the Pledge and to deliver on these concrete, measurable actions that will effect meaningful change.
Black Future Lawyers
In partnership with other Canadian law firms, Osler committed $1.75 million over 10 years to the groundbreaking Black Future Lawyers (BFL) beginning in 2021. BFL is a collaboration between the University of Toronto’s (UofT) Faculty of Law, its Black Law Students Association, members of UofT’s Black alumni community, and the broader legal profession that provides engagement and mentorship opportunities to Black undergraduate students who want to become lawyers. This partnership will provide operational funding to BFL, providing the stability and security needed to allow BFL to establish chapters across universities throughout Canada, while investing in the future of the next generation of Black lawyers.
Law Firm Diversity and Inclusion Network
Osler is an original signatory to the Law Firm Diversity and Inclusion Network’s (LFDIN) Statement of Principles. LFDIN is a group of Canadian law firms that have pledged to work together to promote diversity and encourage a culture of diversity in our firms and in the broader legal profession. Our involvement in LFDIN is aligned with our commitment to diversity and inclusion – promoting diversity inside the firm; fostering greater acceptance of diversity within the communities in which work and participate; and partnering directly with clients to support their diversity initiatives.
Supporting BIPOC students
In our student community, we are supporters of the Black Law Students’ Association of Canada and the Osgoode Black Law Students’ Association. In 2018, we established the Osler Diversity Scholarship Program for second-year law students to ensure that law students are recognized and celebrated for their diversity and inclusion efforts.
Osler’s Calgary office has participated in the Indigenous Law Student Summer Employment Program for a number of years. The program enables law firms and the legal profession to gain greater insight into Indigenous culture and issues. It also provides an opportunity for Indigenous law students to obtain work experience in a legal setting and to foster ongoing relationships between Indigenous students and practising lawyers.