The Professional Development and Competence Committee of the Law Society of Ontario commissioned a survey to research the experiences of articling students as part of its licensing process review. The survey was aimed at lawyers who had completed their articles between 2014 and 2017. A summary of the results was recently released.
The Law Society reported that while the survey was undertaken as part of the review of the licensing process, one section of the survey related to sexual harassment and racial and gender discrimination. The Law Society decided to make the report public to “add to the current conversations around harassment and discrimination, and to help facilitate a wider discussion and champion a necessary culture shift”.
One of the questions asked was: “At any time in your articling process, do you feel that you faced any comments or conduct related to your age, ancestry, colour, race, citizenship, ethnic origin, place of origin, creed, disability, family status, marital status, gender identity, gender expression, sex and/or sexual orientation that was unwelcome?”
21% of the 1471 respondents of the survey answered “Yes”.
When asked: “At any time in your articling process, do you feel that you faced any unequal or differential treatment related to your age, ancestry, colour, race, citizenship, ethnic origin, place of origin, creed, disability, family status, marital status, gender identity, gender expression, sex and/or sexual orientation?”
17% of the respondents answered “Yes”.
These numbers are not insignificant.
Other information in the survey revealed that while most of the respondents were paid above $40,000.00 (36% were paid between $40-60K and 32% were paid more than $60k) there are still articling students who are paid nothing (4%) or who are paid less than $20k (8%) for their articles. With 64% of the respondents indicating that they articled in costly Toronto or the GTA, it is hard to imagine how they can survive financially on no income or less than $20k.
A summary of the survey results can be found here.
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