Supporting diversity in our communities

While fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion within the firm is fundamental to our ongoing success, supporting diversity and inclusion in the communities that are building our future leaders is essential for our collective survival.

Supporting our future lawyers

We need to support diversity efforts in our legal communities, especially among groups of law students who will become the profession’s future leaders. By being more connected to diverse communities, we strive to make Osler a welcoming place for all lawyers.

Osler Diversity Scholarship

In 2018, we established the Osler Diversity Scholarship Program for eligible second-year law students. This annual program provides up to two $2,500 scholarships each year to law students who, like us, seek to promote diversity and inclusion. A big congratulations goes out to our most recent Osler Diversity Scholarship recipients: Levi Gordian and Caitlin Salvino.

Osler and OUTLaw 2SLGBTQI+ Diversity Scholarship

In 2022, we established an annual scholarship in partnership with OUTLaw, University of Calgary chapter. This program provides $2,000 to a first-year law student at the University of Calgary with demonstrated involvement in and meaningful contributions to the 2SLGBTQI+ community.

Indigenous Law Student Summer Employment Program

Facilitated by the Law Society of Alberta, this employment program helps the legal profession gain deeper insight into Indigenous culture and issues while providing law firm work experience to Indigenous law students.

Three paid volunteer days for diversity and inclusion

In the summer of 2020, our summer students were provided with three paid volunteer days to give back to an organization in their community that supports Osler’s diversity and inclusion objectives. 

Summer Public Interest Advocacy Program (SPIAP) 

Students participating in this program spend the first part of the summer at the firm in Toronto, and the latter part of the summer paid by Osler, but working for a firm-sponsored public interest group or other entity that is involved in diversity issues or is otherwise working on issues affecting women, racialized groups, the LGBTQ+ community or other diverse groups.

Avenue Internship Program

Osler participates in the Avenue: Black Undergraduate Law Internship Program, a professional development program focused on investing in the next generation of Black lawyers and leaders. The program provides a pathway for Black undergraduate students to learn about a career in law, receive paid summer internships and support their application to law school. We are so pleased to have welcomed three interns into our offices in 2022 through this program and look forward to welcoming new interns when the 2023 program commences.

DEI Open House

Students are invited to attend a national DEI Open House event at Osler. It’s an opportunity to learn more about the summer student experience at a top full-service national law firm, as well as see how we support and encourage the Osler team to bring their full selves to work and how we value and celebrate diverse viewpoints and backgrounds. Students learn about our student programs, our five Legal Professional Resource Groups for women, Black, LGBTQ2S+, Asian Pacific and South Asian lawyers and the work of our Diversity Committees.

Within the legal community and beyond

Osler contributions to organizations that combat anti-Black racism

In June 2020, the Osler community raised over $200,000 for organizations that combat anti-Black racism and support the Black community, including Black Health Alliance, Black Legal Action Clinic and Harriett Tubman Community Organization. A matching contribution of $50,000 was recently provided by the firm to these organizations. We have also started a dialogue with them to learn more about their important missions within the Black community and have offered our support, including through the Osler Community Law pro bono program, with one project already underway. Osler has also offered pro bono assistance to the Ontario Black Business Law Clinic.

BlackNorth initiative law firm pledge

Osler joined other leading law firms in signing the BlackNorth Initiative Law Firm Pledge which is a commitment to ending anti-Black and other forms of structural racism in the legal profession. Osler is also participating in other legal industry initiatives, including through Law Leaders for Diversity and the Law Firm Diversity and Inclusion Network.

TRIEC Mentoring Partnership

Osler participates in the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council’s (TRIEC) Mentoring Partnership, which connects recent immigrants with mentors in their professional fields. By volunteering as mentors, participating Osler staff and legal professionals connect with their communities and share their knowledge and insight about the Canadian job market to help others succeed. We are pleased to report we’ve had more than 50 mentor-mentee pairings to date.

Closed Doors Day in Montréal

In early 2020, Osler National Co-Chair Shahir Guindi and Mayor Valérie Plante helped launch a major campaign to raise awareness in the Montréal business community about the importance of the successful professional integration of newcomers to Canada. Shahir acted as co-spokesperson during the four-week “Closed Doors Day” campaign.

Day of Pink

In support of the International Day of Pink against bullying, discrimination, homophobia, transphobia and transmisogyny, Osler lawyers and staff wore pink and shared their pink shirts, skirts and ties with each other online.

Start Proud

Osler sponsored Start Proud’s Start Out 2020 Digital Conference, which was held in September 2020. The first of its kind, Start Out is a digital conference where LGBTQ+ talent meet some of Canada’s largest and most inclusive employers. Attendees can attend workshops, build their networks and learn about LGBTQ+ support in the workplace from employers who lead the charge.