The Canadian Bar Association publishes a report on pay equity in the legal profession

  • March 08, 2022

Ottawa, March 8, 2022 – To mark International Women’s Day today, the Canadian Bar Association is releasing Pay Equity in the Legal Profession, a report outlining the results of a roundtable held by the CBA Women Lawyers Forum in 2021. The goal of the roundtable was to gather qualitative data on Canadian lawyers’ experiences, perceptions, and opinions about gender and pay equity in the legal profession.

Pay inequity is a longstanding issue for Canadian working women in general. While there are no quantitative studies in Canada, studies in other countries and qualitative information in Canada show that a pay gap exists for women in the legal profession. The information and views expressed by roundtable participants revealed common experiences, supporting other evidence that pay inequity and a gender pay gap exists in the legal profession in Canada.

The CBA has a long-standing commitment to equality, diversity, and inclusion in the legal workplace and will continue to advocate for that in the profession. Understanding lawyers’ perceptions on pay equity is another step towards improving equality and equity in the legal profession, for women and other equity-seeking groups.

The qualitative data gathered in the report will be discussed further in a webinar that will be held in Spring 2022 as part of the CBA EDI Series. The webinar Achieving Pay Equity in the Legal Profession and Beyond: Practical Steps Forward will give an overview of the report and will share practical solutions for how to address this issue.

Quick facts

  • The report outlines the results of the Roundtable on Pay Equity in the Legal Profession held by the CBA Women Lawyers Forum in Spring 2021. It follows the Partner Compensation Survey Report that was published in October 2020.
  • With the roundtable, WLF’s goal was to gather qualitative data about Canadian lawyers’ experiences, perceptions, opinions and potential solutions to pay equity challenges, and to open a conversation about gender and pay equity in the legal profession through coordinated online engagement.
  • Roundtable participants shared common experiences and identified several factors that contribute to the pay gap for lawyers. Employers’ lack of transparency, women lawyers feeling “penalized” for their biological capability to bear children, issues with equitable allocation of files, and non-billable contributions were among the factors identified.
  • Not all the experiences of the Roundtable participants were negative, and there was evidence of some improvement in pay equity challenges in the legal profession.


“As pay inequity continues to be a major issue for Canadian working women, we think that understanding lawyers’ perceptions and views on pay inequity is crucial to assist legal workplaces to address any gender pay gap that exists. The data gathered will help us inform our future advocacy and, we hope, support others in their pursuit of pay equity in the legal profession.”

  • CBA WLF Chair Carly Romanow

“The Canadian Bar Association has made a commitment to cultivating an equitable, diverse and inclusive professional community. As we strive to achieve pay equity, I want to praise the work done by the Women Lawyers Forum to help accelerate the change. They and many other groups in the Association continue to push for equity and equality in the legal profession.”

  • CBA President Stephen Rotstein

Related links

Pay Equity in the Legal Profession

About the Canadian Bar Association

The CBA is dedicated to support for the rule of law and improvement in the law and the administration of justice. Some 36,000 lawyers, notaries in Quebec, law teachers and law students from across Canada are members.

For more information, contact:

Vanessa Racine
Manager, Media Relations and Public Affairs
613-237-2925 x153