CBA Diversity and Inclusion Policy

Operational policy of the CBA approved by Board of Directors April 2019.

1. Commitment

1.1 This Policy sets out the Canadian Bar Association’s commitment to cultivating a diverse and inclusive professional community.

1.2 The CBA will:

1.2.1 identify and remove barriers to participation for those who have been historically excluded from, and remain underrepresented in, the legal profession;

1.2.2 foster a culture of inclusion and respect where all members have the opportunity to achieve their full potential and maximize their contributions to the CBA mission;

1.2.3 maintain an environment that draws strength from the different perspectives, experiences, and professional backgrounds of CBA members;

1.2.4 advance the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action relating to the legal profession.

1.3 All members are expected to follow the Principles of Conduct.

1.4 All members share the responsibility to enhance diversity and foster inclusion throughout the CBA.

2. Interpretation

2.1 “Diversity” has the same meaning as in CBA Bylaw No. 1.

2.2 An “inclusive” professional community is an environment free of discrimination and harassment, where individual differences are accepted, and all individuals feel valued, respected and supported.

3. Responsibilities

3.1 CBA Bylaw No. 1 and the General Regulations establish responsibilities for diversity:

3.1.1 The Board of Directors is responsible for ensuring diversity throughout the CBA.

3.1.2 The Governance and Equality Committee is accountable for implementation of equality policy across the CBA.

3.1.3 The Equality Subcommittee is dedicated to achieving equality in the legal profession, in particular on the basis of sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, age or disability.

3.2 The Board of Directors will demonstrate its commitment to advancing diversity and promoting inclusion in the profession by:

3.2.1 Setting annual goals to further diversity and inclusion across the CBA.

3.2.2 Dedicating adequate resources (budget and personnel) to meet the diversity and inclusion goals;

3.2.3 Receiving periodic reports from the Governance and Equality Committee on progress in meeting the annual goals; and 3.2.4 Encouraging diversity and inclusion training throughout the CBA volunteer leadership.

3.3 The Governance and Equality Committee will recommend annual diversity and inclusion goals to the Board of Directors and related resource requirements.

3.4 The Equality Subcommittee will:

3.4.1 Support the Governance and Equality Committee in identifying annual diversity and inclusion goals and related resource requirements;

3.4.2 Promote awareness of equality issues in the profession and ways to eliminate discrimination;

3.4.3 Develop resources to assist the profession in achieving equality; and

3.4.4 Monitor the status of equality and diversity in the profession.

4. CBA Leadership and Governance

4.1 CBA Bylaw No. 1 requires that the Board of Directors reflect the diversity of the legal profession.

4.2 In aggregate, the members appointed to CBA Committees and Subcommittees will reflect the diversity of the legal profession.

4.3 Our commitment to diversity and inclusion will be set out in volunteer recruitment materials, whether through CBA emails, the CBA website, or our social media channels.

4.4 Annual orientation for new Board members will include training on identifying and interrupting unconscious bias and the importance of inclusive leadership.

5. Communications

5.1 All CBA marketing and membership solicitation materials will be welcoming to diverse communities.

5.2 All member onboarding and renewal communications will be welcoming to diverse communities and reaffirm the CBA’s commitment to diversity and fostering an Inclusive professional community for all members.

5.3 The CBA will annually explore additional membership campaigns designed to enhance membership diversity.

6. Promoting Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

6.1 One of the CBA’s strategic directions is to deliver distinct and relevant professional development programs on issues of equality, diversity and inclusion.

6.2 The Governance and Equality Committee will give preference for volunteer leadership positions in the CBA to members who have received training on issues of equality, diversity and inclusion through the CBA or other organizations.

6.3 The CBA may participate in activities that raise awareness of the experiences of equality-seeking groups and events important to Canada’s cultural communities and use its social media and other communication channels to inform its members about their context.

7. Professional Development

7.1 The CBA will promote diversity in all of its professional development programming, including by considering diversity as a factor when selecting speakers in accordance with its Speaker Selection Policy.

7.2 The CBA will ensure that professional development programming includes events specifically promoting business development, leadership or equivalent opportunity enhancing skills for members of equality-seeking groups.

7.3 The CBA will work to enhance the accessibility of program venues and materials.

8. Publications

8.1 CBA print and electronic publications will reflect the diversity of the legal profession.

8.2 The CBA will regularly include in its publications articles that reflect diverse communities.

8.3 The CBA will work to enhance the accessibility of CBA publications.

9. Relationships

9.1 The CBA will develop a strategy to form appropriate partnerships with legal associations formed by lawyers from diverse communities.

10. Authorities

CBA Bylaw No. 1
s. 1 Definitions
s. 18 Composition of Board of Directors
s. 21(2) Duties, Responsibilities and Authority of Board

CBA General Regulations
s. 15(3) Governance and Equality Committee
s. 17(1) Equality Subcommittee
s. 19(2) Appointments to Board Committees, Subcommittees and Task Forces

CBA Sections Regulation, Part A
s. 5(1) Creation, Dissolution and Merger of National Sections

Principles of Conduct

Speaker Selection Policy

CBA Resolution 16-12-A – Responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action