How Osler supports diversity in our communities

Osler actively sponsors and participates in community programs, often in collaboration with our clients, to support diversity initiatives. Recent events include:

Representing diverse communities

Osler has a long and proud history of providing pro bono advocacy on behalf of diverse communities, including these recent cases:

In 2015, Éric Préfontaine, Jean-François Forget and Julien Hynes-Gagné successfully obtained an ex parte Norwich Order on behalf of a Chicago-area gay man, the victim of an “imposter profile” created without his permission on a Montreal-based online dating site. The profile published explicit photographs with the victim’s name and other identifying details. As a result of Osler’s win, the victim was able to confirm the identity of the profile creators.

In 2014, as part of an international team of counsel, Catherine Gleason-Mercier represented professional female soccer players in their petition against using artificial turf at the upcoming Women’s World Cup. Challenging the unprecedented decision of FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association to hold a major tournament on an inferior playing surface, these professional female soccer players brought a human rights application before the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal. Preliminary procedures were won, with the Tribunal ruling that FIFA must attorn to its jurisdiction in the dispute between FIFA, CSA and the players.

In 2011, Mary Paterson provided pro bono assistance to a UN employee whose same-sex partner, also a UN employee, was killed while working overseas. Although the UN agencies recognized the relationship as a marriage, the UN Pension Fund, which is independent from the UN, did not, and refused to pay a widower's benefit. Paterson successfully challenged the Pension Fund, setting a precedent that will help all same-sex couples working for the UN internationally.

“Osler has been an invaluable contributor to Start Proud by actively furthering our mission, which is to advance the opportunities afforded to LGBTQ+ students and young professionals as they move through their careers. Specifically, lawyers from the firm have taken on significant roles in the Out On Bay Street Conference, in addition to their participation at our many events. Osler is a great example of how businesses can collaborate with communities in building a future we can all be proud of.”
Nina Rakic,
President of Start Proud