Osler is proud to take a leading role in supporting and promoting diversity within our firm, in the legal industry and in our communities. We respect that each individual is unique, and we recognize, welcome and celebrate these individual differences. We aim to ensure that all of us can “bring our full selves” to work and achieve our full potential. And we strive to provide an inclusive, collaborative and supportive professional environment that nurtures and values a collective force of unique talents and viewpoints.
By embracing difference, not only do we offer a better work environment, but we deliver better solutions to our clients. The solutions that emerge from diverse teams and perspectives have proven to be the most creative and open pathways to success. 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.
Led by our Diversity Committee, our diversity initiatives start from within, and extend beyond our firm through our community and pro bono involvement. Along with its primary focus on internal firm objectives, our Diversity Committee’s aim is to promote diversity in support of our clients and in the institutions from which we recruit our talent.
How we support diversity
We actively participate in a wide range of diversity initiatives to create real and lasting change, either through internal firm programs or in collaboration with our clients. This includes sponsoring community programs, getting involved in volunteer and pro bono activities, and hosting events, such as our annual Pride celebration, which we co-host with the Bank of Montreal.
Recent activities include the following:
- Along with other leading Canadian law firms, we 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.
- We recently conducted our fourth demographic survey on the diversity of our firm. The survey data helps us to develop initiatives that best respond to the needs of our firm and our increasingly diverse client base. We started this biennial survey in 2012 and believe we were one of the first law firms in Canada to do so.
- We created a unique first-in-Canada reporting tool called the General Counsel Dashboard, which enables us to report on diversity and inclusion at Osler at the matter level and support our clients’ diversity objectives both strategically and in a measurable manner.
- To support industry’s and clients’ diversity efforts, we worked with the Institute of Corporate Directors to develop the Board Diversity Policy template. This complimentary tool can be used as a starting point to assist boards in meeting their gender diversity disclosure requirements. It offers companies simple and standardized diversity policy language that users can tailor to reflect each company’s unique circumstances.
- For the past five years, Osler’s Corporate Governance Practice Group has published a report on the diversity disclosure practices of TSX-listed companies to help shine some light on the TSX’s “comply or explain” diversity guidelines.
“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.”
Recent diversity recognition
- Dale Ponder, the National Co-Chair of Osler, and the firm were recognized by the Euromoney Legal Media Group Americas Women in Business Law Awards 2018. Dale received a “Lifetime achievement” award and Osler won “Best gender diversity initiative by a national firm (North America)” for its Legal Professional Resource Group the Osler Women Lawyers Network (OWLN).
- In recognition of our diversity and inclusion efforts, Osler was named one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers (2017) for the second straight year.
- Retired partner and Osler’s former longstanding Diversity Committee Chair, Douglas Rienzo, was recognized by Lexpert’s Zenith Awards 2016 for his leadership in diversity and inclusion.
- In 2016, we were named the recipient of the Corporate Diversity and Leadership Award by the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers.
Learn more about the many ways we foster diversity through community involvement, pro bono initiatives and our internal employee benefits and programs, such as our Legal Professional Resource Groups.