In September 2017 the Law Society of Ontario introduced changes to the continuing professional development requirements for lawyers (and paralegals), based on recommendations in the Final Report on the Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Working Group.
The LSO now requires the completion, between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2020, of at least 3 Professionalism Hours that focus on advancing equality and inclusion in the legal profession. For each following year only 1 equality and inclusion hour must be completed. These hours also count toward the general CPD hours requirement.
This new requirement was implemented as part of the LSO’s ongoing “commitment to advance equality, diversity and inclusion in the legal profession and address barriers faced by racialized licensees”.
The LSO has adopted a “flexible and iterative approach” to the equality and inclusion professionalism hours and have outlined three objectives 1) inclusive legal workplaces in Ontario; 2) reduction of barriers created by racism, unconscious bias and discrimination; and 3) better representation of racialized licensees, in proportion to the representation in the Ontario population, in the professions, in all legal workplaces and at all levels of seniority. Programs that advance equality and inclusion or support these objectives will qualify for equality and inclusion professionalism hours.
How will lawyers know if a program is accredited for these new professionalism hours? You will see the new logo on the program marketing materials and agendas.
For more information on this new CPD requirement, please see Frequently Asked Questions about the CPD Equality and Inclusion Requirement.
3 hours over the next 3 years, does not seem like an onerous commitment at all and hopefully all lawyers and paralegals can quickly and happily fulfill this requirement. We look forward to some educational and interesting programs!