Supporting our clients’ diversity goals

We know diversity is important to our clients because you’ve told us so. We believe that we share a common mission with our clients to build a talented and diverse workforce, and our diversity initiatives are often a reflection of your objectives.

By embracing differences, we not only offer a better work environment, but we also deliver better solutions. Diversity drives innovation, which enables us to find new solutions to complex problems and provide the highest quality legal services through a broad range of perspectives.

Our latest analysis reaffirms the strong business case for both gender diversity and ethnic and cultural diversity in corporate leadership — and shows that this business case continues to strengthen. The most diverse companies are now more likely than ever to outperform less diverse peers on profitability.

McKinsey & Company, Diversity Wins: How inclusion matters (May 2020)

Osler has implemented both internal programs and external initiatives that aim to create real and lasting change on the diversity front. We realize that fostering diversity and inclusion is a continuous and collective effort and we strive to keep you updated on our progress – and support you in achieving your own diversity objectives.

Client-facing initiatives

General Counsel Dashboard

The Osler General Counsel Dashboard is a unique reporting tool that enables us to report on diversity and inclusion at Osler at the matter level to help support our clients’ diversity objectives both strategically and in a measurable manner.

Diversity Disclosure Practices

Osler’s 2020 Diversity Disclosure Practices Report is Osler’s sixth annual comprehensive publication offering an updated snapshot on the representation of women in leadership roles in corporate Canada. This year, new disclosure requirements under the Canada Business Corporations Act (CBCA) broadened the range of corporations required to provide disclosure regarding women in leadership positions and added new requirements for disclosure regarding visible minorities, Aboriginal peoples and persons with disabilities. As in previous years, the report provides detailed disclosure on TSX-listed companies to show year-over-year comparisons.

Board Diversity Policy

To support industry’s and clients’ diversity efforts, we offer a complimentary Board Diversity Policy Template. Developed in conjunction with the Institute of Corporate Directors, this template helps organizations address gender diversity by adopting a written policy respecting the representation of women on the board. In addition, the policy can be customized to address the CBCA disclosure requirements with respect to the representation on the board of Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities, as well as other diversity characteristics.

Internal firm programs

5th Biennial Diversity Survey completed in 2020

In 2012, we conducted our first internal demographic survey to take a snapshot of our workforce – broken down by gender, sexual orientation, racialized status and other characteristics – to establish a baseline that could be measured going forward. Osler was one of the first law firms in Canada to undertake such a survey. We have since repeated the survey in 2014, 2016, 2018 and again in 2020. The information gathered helps us develop initiatives that best respond to the needs of our firm and our diverse client base.

Advancement of Women Lawyers

Osler’s Advancement of Women Lawyers initiative focuses on implementing targeted and tailored strategies to enable the firm to retain women lawyers, promote women associates to partner and to advance women partners into leadership positions within the firm.

BlackNorth Initiative

In 2020, Osler, along with other leading Canadian law firms, signed the BlackNorth Initiative Law Firm Pledge, as an important step in furthering our commitment to addressing anti-Black and other forms of structural racism in the legal profession.

Osler Black Lawyers’ Network

We have created the Osler Black Lawyers Network, a Legal Professional Resource Group (LPRG) for Black Lawyers to bring together legal professionals with shared experiences and backgrounds.

Gender Work Allocation Report

Osler’s Gender Work Allocation Report provides partners with an individualized summary showing the number of hours associates spent on their various files over the past year, broken down by gender. The report also shows the gender breakdown of the associates in the partner’s department and across the firm, so that the partners can see, for example, the percentage of hours spent on their files by women associates, and compare that to the percentage of women associates in their department and in the firm as a whole. 

Unconscious Bias Training

All members of Osler have received unconscious bias training. In 2020, the program was rolled out in a virtual format. Six interactive sessions were facilitated by Tanya (Toni) De Mello, Assistant Dean, Student Programming, Development and Equity at Ryerson Faculty of Law. Participants have provided very positive feedback on the insights gained about how we consciously or unconsciously include/exclude others.