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Rest in Peace: The 2019 Inclusion Index that never was.

I was personally perturbed to learn what I had long suspected - the Law Society of Ontario never finished the work involved to publish the 2019 Inclusion Index.

You may remember that in the 2018 annual report licencees were asked to complete certain questions designed to measure the experiences licencees were experiencing in their workplaces. The questions are still available online here.

I am old enough to remember the impact that the announcement of this index had in large firms. Several were reported to have sent around information to their lawyers about their diversity and inclusion initiatives and some even suggested possible answers to the inclusion questions. People like me who were excited to have the Law Society of Ontario collect this type of valuable data, relished at the opportunity to tell the Law Society of Ontario what we really thought about our firms' initiatives.

Well, it looks like we will never get the data. It is now stale and a report was never completed. I had long suspected this and have been asking for it on social media every now and then with no reply. Below is the official Law Society of Ontario's official update on the Inclusion Index.

Inclusion Index: Convocation considered a report from the Equity and Indigenous Affairs Committee that reaffirms the Law Society’s commitment to strengthening equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in Ontario’s legal workplaces and the continued development of a protocol for collection and publication of data pertaining to EDI in legal workplaces. A motion was approved that means the 2019 Inclusion Index, which was delayed by the onset of the pandemic, will not be publicly released. The decision follows the findings of a peer review conducted by a panel of independent experts. Law Society stakeholders will be engaged in dialogue over the coming months in the continued development of a protocol for data collection, and the publication of data pertaining to equity, diversity and inclusion in legal workplaces in future.

I am not satisfied that the 2019 Inclusion Index could not have been completed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Other work got done. Law Society employees worked from home like the rest of us. I find it scandalous that this is now going back to "stakeholders" to engage in "dialogue" to develop a "protocol" for some future publication of data.

I wonder if the results of that work will ever get published. I am, personally, doubtful.

Erin Durant

Durant Barristers

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