STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES
Human rights legislation lies at the foundation of the international legal system via the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is of fundamental importance to the peoples of the Earth. It is afforded quasi-Constitutional status by the Supreme Court of Canada.
It is of such importance that by my Rules of Professional Conduct as a lawyer I have a particular and prevailing duty to respect human rights in my dealings with other people. I share this duty with all people of all walks of life, wherever human feet may tread. It is particularly central to our lives as lawyers.
This respect of human rights brings concomitant duties on me as a lawyer, and as a person. Valuing and promoting equality, diversity and inclusion of all peoples in my work, in my management, in my business, and in how I conduct my public life, is how I can maintain public trust and confidence in me and, by extension, in my profession.
I offer, therefore, this Statement of Commitments.*
Non-discrimination and harassment – I commit to work to help everyone work and live free from discrimination and harassment in employment. I commit to use all efforts to ensure that all employees in my workplace can work and live free from discrimination and harassment, without reprisal.
Diversity and inclusion – I commit to the equality of all, and to return all power to the people. I commit to work to promote inclusion and diversity in my workplace. I commit to continue making this a reality by hiring people from oppressed communities. I commit to using my voice and my efforts, and to work with others, to promote diversity and inclusion in my profession and in structures of power in my community, and everywhere. I commit to continue to assist marginalized peoples.
Services to my clients and to the public – I commit to providing services without discrimination or harassment, that are fair, courteous and equitable to those who seek my counsel and those I work with in my duties as a lawyer. I commit to dealing with other licensees, or any other person, in strict compliance with appropriate human rights legislation.
Human rights – I commit to promote and foster human rights.
The land on which I live, practice law and run my business is the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples. I acknowledge their continuing sovereignty within these lands.
* I, like all Ontario lawyers, had been asked by the Law Society of Ontario to make a Statement of Principles, and you will note that this page is titled as such. I do not believe statements of principles are useful, because I do not believe that principles are adequate by themselves to regulate our behaviour with each other. Instead of talking about what I believe, I propose what to do. I do believe these things. These commitments, I must point out, do not have the force of law. (Note: this paragraph was edited on 2019-09-11 to correspond to the repeal of the Statement of Principles requirement. My declaration remains active.)
UPDATE 2018-02-09, NOTE TO THE PUBLIC: if you have experienced or witnessed discrimination or harassment at the hands any lawyer, paralegal or Law Society of Ontario student you can avail yourself of the free and confidential assistance of the LSO’s Discrimination and Harassment Counsel.