Supporting communities

Socially conscious, community-minded

Osler is dedicated to improving the quality of life for the communities where we live and work. Fostering a firm-wide culture of “giving back” and equal opportunity, we sponsor and participate in numerous initiatives and programs to empower the diverse members of our communities. Our commitment is reflected in our substantial contributions each and every year across our offices in Canada and New York.

Our lawyers and staff also volunteer their time and talents to support a variety of communities in need. And we pair our lawyers and staff with community agencies looking for volunteers or board members through our intranet Community Volunteer Involvement page.

As part of our Programs of Excellence, Osler makes annual contributions to law schools across the country, funding Visiting Professors and Chairs, student bursaries and scholarships, seminars and conferences, and innovative research.

Firm-wide initiatives

  • U of T student financial awards and a research chair in honour of the late Geoff Taber: Established at the University of Toronto in memory of our friend and former colleague Geoff Taber, The Geoff Taber Memorial Award at the Faculty of Law, the Geoff Taber Memorial Scholarship at the Rotman School of Management and the Geoff Taber Chair in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Rotman honour Geoff’s many contributions to the business and legal communities and his passion for technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. Find out more information. 
  • United Way – Osler is proud to have been named United Way Centraide Canada's 2018 "Thanks a Million" recipient for raising more than $1 million in support of the organization's work in local communities. Osler’s Canadian offices have raised more than $15 million to support the United Way/Centraide and its network of agencies in delivering vital social services over the past 11 years. In 2019, we marked our 20th year as United Way Toronto’s top fundraising campaign within the legal sector. 

Osler volunteers support our 2018 United Way Bake Sale. 

  • Give a Day to World AIDS – Since 2006, under the leadership of Technology partner Michael Fekete, Osler lawyers and staff have donated one day’s income in support of the fight against HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2019, our firm raised over $125,000 — with the funds being directed to The Stephen Lewis Foundation for distribution to grassroots programs in Africa. Give a Day to World AIDS was founded by family physician Dr. Jane Philpott in 2004, when she challenged her colleagues at Markham Stouffville Hospital to donate a day’s pay to fight HIV. Since then, Give a Day has grown in the medical and legal communities and has raised over $4.8 million. More than $1.47 million of this has been donated through the generosity of Osler partners, associates and legal staff. Find out more about our connection to Give a Day to World AIDS.

  • Terry Fox Run – Since 1987, Osler’s offices across Canada and in New York have participated in the Terry Fox Run to raise over half a million dollars for cancer research. In 2019 alone, Osler raised approximately $35,000 across all of our offices.

  • Holiday donations – In December 2019, Osler donated to Toronto’s Yonge Street Mission, Banques Alimentaires in Montréal, The Calgary Drop-in Centre, the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, the Ottawa Food Bank and New York’s St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to help make the holidays brighter for everybody.

Toronto initiatives

  • Daily Bread Food Bank – Each December, our Toronto office participates in the annual law firm challenge, raising money and donating food for families in need.
  • Denim Days – Throughout the year, Toronto staff and legal professionals donate to a selection of charities on Denim Days (in return for the benefit of being able to dress casually on designated workdays). In 2019, we raised over $20,000 for such charities as as Kurl for Kids, Red Door Shelter, Meagan’s Walk, Nate Black Foundation, Ride to Conquer Cancer, Toronto Humane Society, Second Kicks, Light the Night, Canadian Liver Foundation, The 519, David Suzuki Foundation, Not Far From the Tree, ALAS Dufferin, Tour for Kids, Unison Benevolent Fund, the Terry Fox Run, JDRF, Project Work, United Way, Concerned Kids, Give A Day, and we supported organizations such as the Black Law Students’ Association of Canada and the Women’s Legal Education & Action Fund.

  • WoodGreen Homeward Bound – Since 2009, Osler has been involved with the four-year program helping single mothers in poverty through affordable housing, on-site daycare, education and training. Osler sponsors a career day to support and hire program participants pursuing law clerk careers.

  • TRIEC Mentoring Partnership – In 2018, Osler joined TRIEC Mentoring Partnership, a program that connects recent immigrants with mentors in their professional field. Newcomers bring talent, innovation and international expertise to the Greater Toronto Area, but they need information and networks to succeed. Mentors help bridge that gap. By volunteering as mentors, participating Osler staff and legal professionals are connecting with our communities, sharing knowledge and insight about the Canadian job market, and helping others succeed.

  • Dress for Success (the Bay Street Suit Challenge) – Our Toronto office participates in an annual clothing drive as part of Dress for Success’ Bay Street Suit Challenge. Staff and legal professionals donate new/nearly new professional clothing. Donations help dress men & women in need in the community and support their entry or re-entry to the workforce.

Montréal initiatives

  • Osler’s Community Day – Our Montréal lawyers and staff volunteer their time and talents to many diverse social and environmental organizations throughout the year. On May 29, 2019, for the seventh consecutive year, Osler organized a day where more than 80 lawyers and staff members helped out at three Montréal institutions: Peter Hall SchoolLa Maison Marguerite and Montréal SCPA. Osler is proud to continue a tradition of commitment to causes that are close to our heart.
  • Pedal for Kids – Since 2002, the Montréal office has been participating in the Mighty Bike Ride, a week-long fundraising event for the Montréal Children’s Hospital Foundation. In 2019, Osler was one of the largest donors, having raised over $23,000.

A team of Osler volunteers participates in the 2019 Mighty Bike Ride in support of the Montréal Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Calgary initiatives

  • Wings of Hope Breast Cancer Foundation – Osler Calgary has been a sponsor of Wings of Hope for many years. In 2018, Osler became title sponsor of the annual Wings of Hope Luncheon. Wings of Hope has been creating high-impact fundraising since 1995 with a focus on supporting thousands of people living with breast cancer every day in Calgary.
  • Calgary Economic Development (CED) – Since 2017, Osler has supported CED as an Action Calgary Partner, collaborating and supporting CED initiatives that position Calgary as the location of choice for the purpose of attracting business investment, fostering trade and growing Calgary's workforce.

Ottawa initiatives

  • Street Smart – Osler actively supports Street Smart, an outreach program for people living on the street. We held a "hot potato" event, which involved collecting warm socks and mittens, making baked potatoes, wrapping them in foil, packaging them in take-out containers and delivering them directly to people living on the street. The event was a great success and we are continuing to collect toiletries and seasonal clothing on an ongoing basis for distribution by Street Smart volunteers. 
  • Toy Mountain – Ottawa legal professionals and staff participate in this annual holiday drive organized through the Salvation Army and local media to collect toys for the children of families in need within the community.
  • Ten Oaks Project – As part of Osler’s commitment to diversity, the Ottawa office raises money during Pride Week through Jeans Day, pizza lunch and bingo to support this special organization. Ten Oaks Project engages and connects children and youth from LGBTQ  communities through programs and activities rooted in play.
  • Refugee Sponsorship Support Program  (Refugee SSP) – Osler legal professionals in Ottawa  are providing pro bono legal support to assist groups seeking to privately sponsor refugees.  
  • Youth Service Bureau of Ottawa – A team from the Ottawa office participates in an annual Law Day Fun Run & Walk organized by the County of Carleton Law Association, with all proceeds raised  going to the Youth Service Bureau of Ottawa.  

Vancouver initiatives

  • Dress for Success Vancouver The  Vancouver office participates in this annual event by gathering gently used clothing donations for Dress for Success Vancouver, which helps promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and career development tools.
  • The Shoebox Project Vancouver – In 2019, members of the Vancouver office worked together to gather the supplies, donations and labour needed to thoughtfully create and decorate shoeboxes that were filled with treats and everyday essentials.  These shoeboxes were distributed during the holiday season to women impacted by homelessness in Vancouver.
  • Power to Play – For the past several years, Osler's Vancouver office has supported Power to Play, a Vancouver and Victoria, B.C.-based non-profit organization that empowers people to explore their limitless abilities through inclusive adventures rooted in nature. The organization believes finances shouldn't prevent anyone from accessing nature, and works to remove cognitive, physical and social barriers to the outdoors, encouraging participants to explore who they are and what they are capable of with the support of staff, volunteers and each other. 

New York initiatives

  • Terry Fox Run – For the past several years, Osler New York has been participating in the Terry Fox Run for Cancer Research. 

 

“If you impact one person, you cause a ripple effect.”

Wendy Rickey, Senior Manager, Partner Administration and United Way Campaign Chair

“Supporting United Way is one of the most unifying things we do as a firm. United Way benefits and we as a team benefit - getting behind the organization is incredibly important to us.”

John Macfarlane, Partner, Corporate and United Way Leadership Chair

“Osler raised more than any of our competitors, something that we can all celebrate.”

Michael Fekete, Partner, Technology Group, and Give a Day Campaign Co-Chair

“Not only is Osler renewing its commitment to the community, it’s also bringing the dream of home to hundreds of individuals and families in need.”
Kim O’Brien, Executive Director of Horizon Housing.