Frequently Asked Questions about the CPD Equality and Inclusion Requirement

The Law Society has prepared the following FAQs to assist licensees with understanding their Continuing Professional Development ("CPD") obligations related to equality, diversity and inclusion.

EDI Requirement and Criteria

1. Who is required to complete the CPD Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Requirement?  

While all lawyers and paralegals are encouraged to engage in equality, diversity and inclusion training, only lawyers and paralegals subject to the CPD Requirement are required to complete the CPD EDI Requirement. See the Continuing Professional Development Requirement webpage to determine if you are required to fulfill the CPD Requirement.  

2. What is the CPD EDI Requirement?  

Between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2020, lawyers and paralegals subject to the CPD Requirement are required to complete a total of 3 accredited Professionalism Hours that focus on advancing equality, diversity and inclusion in the legal professions. Each year thereafter, lawyers and paralegals must complete 1 Professionalism Hour that addresses issues of equality, diversity and inclusion. These hours count towards their CPD Professionalism Hours requirement.

3. What is the purpose of the CPD EDI Requirement?  

The purpose of the mandatory CPD training on equality, diversity and inclusion is to create awareness of the challenges faced by racialized licensees and assist in enhancing diversity and inclusion within all legal workplaces in Ontario. See the Final Report of the Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Working Group and its recommendations for more information.

4. Do licensees have to complete accredited programs and activities to fulfill the CPD EDI Requirement?  

Yes, Professionalism Hours, including EDI Professionalism Hours, must be accredited by the Law Society.

5. What are the accreditation criteria for EDI Professionalism Hours?  

The criteria for EDI Professionalism Hours can be found in the Accreditation Criteria for Professionalism Hours , listed under Professionalism Topics.

6. What are some examples of topics that would qualify for EDI Professionalism Hours?  

Programs or alternate activities on the following foundational topics may qualify for EDI Professionalism Hours: 

  • Concepts, themes and terminology related to equality, diversity and inclusion
  • Historical and demographic context to the challenges to addressing barriers faced by equity-seeking groups
  • The 94 Calls to Action and themes related to reconciliation arising from the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, including topics that enhance Indigenous cultural competency
  • Theoretical and practical approaches to the advancement of inclusion and to learning best practices from different sectors and disciplines

Programs and alternate activities addressing equality, diversity and inclusion in the legal workplace are eligible for EDI Professionalism Hours. Sub-topics may include:

  • How to develop model policies to address the challenges faced by equity-seeking groups
  • Prevention of discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment and violence in the workplace
  • Barriers to and best practices for achieving effective communication or collaborative problem solving
  • Investigation and best practices in response to complaints of discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment and violence in a legal workplace
  • The role of the Law Society’s Discrimination and Harassment Counsel
  • The business case for diversity and inclusion
  • How to develop, implement and measure the success of a diversity and inclusion strategy
  • Recruitment, hiring, retention and advancement of licensees from equity-seeking groups (e.g., competency-based hiring, bias-free interview procedures, clear career paths)
  • Creating support systems within and outside the legal workplace (e.g., mentoring, advising, networking, coaching, sponsorship, and opportunities for open discussions about the challenges in addressing barriers faced by equity-seeking groups)
  • Strategies to support the professional development and advancement of equity-seeking groups, including  leadership skills, coaching, mentorship, sponsorship, business development, career opportunities or set-backs

Programs or alternate activities about inclusive leadership are eligible for EDI Professionalism Hours. Inclusive leadership may include the following sub-topics:

  • Identifying, understanding and resolving one’s own unconscious biases
  • Recognizing power dynamics
  • Developing strategies and skills for effective communication, decision making, team building and conflict resolution
  • Understanding the difference between coaching, advising, mentorship, sponsorship and champions and the impact that these supports have at each stage of professional development
  • Best practices for coaching, advising, mentoring, sponsoring and championing members of equity-seeking groups

The examples provided above are not exhaustive. Please contact the Law Society’s CPD Accreditation department at cpdacc@lsuc.on.ca if you have questions about whether a particular program or alternate activity may qualify for EDI Professionalism Hours.

7. What are some examples of topics that would not qualify for EDI Professionalism Hours?  

The following are not eligible for professionalism accreditation under the EDI professionalism criteria:

  • Complying with obligations arising from the Final Report of the Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Working Group (e.g., drafting a Statement of Principles, completing the LAR/PAR or engaging in a self-assessment or data collection).
  • Running the business of a legal workplace (e.g., the development, implementation and evaluation of the effectiveness of diversity and inclusion strategies)
  • Substantive law relating to human rights or equality generally (i.e., legislation or case law that does not relate to a lawyer or paralegal’s obligations to members of the public; clients; lawyers, paralegals, support staff in the workplace; or to third party vendors in relation to the practice of law or provision of legal services)
 

8. Does the EDI professionalism criteria cover content related to all equity-seeking groups?  

Yes.  While continuing to ensure that the needs of racialized licensees are fully acknowledged and addressed, the recommendations for racialized licensees set out in the Final Report of the Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Working Group extend as appropriate to all equity-seeking groups.   

9. Does the EDI professionalism criteria cover content related to the Indigenous experience?  

Yes.  The Law Society is currently implementing an Indigenous Framework, with guidance from the Indigenous Advisory Group to the Law Society, to address unique issues that affect Indigenous licensees, communities and individuals in Ontario and to promote action in relation to the Calls to Action from the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. The EDI professionalism criteria will be reviewed and updated as the Indigenous Framework is implemented.

10. Do programs on “cultural competence” or “cultural awareness” qualify for EDI Professionalism Hours?  

Cultural competence training will meet the EDI professionalism criteria where it supports the Law Society’s ongoing commitment to ensure that both the law and the practice of law are reflective of all peoples in Ontario and that the professions are free of discrimination and harassment.

11. Do accredited EDI programs and alternate activities count towards my professionalism CPD requirements for the year?  

Yes. Licensees who participate in programs or alternate activities that have been accredited for EDI Professionalism Hours can count these hours towards their CPD Professionalism Hours requirement for the year in which the hours are taken.

12. When am I permitted to begin completing the EDI Requirement?  

On January 1, 2018, licensees may begin to meet the EDI Requirement.  Programs and alternate activities related to equality, diversity and inclusion that were completed on or before December 31, 2017 do not count towards the completion of the EDI Requirement.

13. Am I required to complete the 3-hour EDI Requirement all at once?  

No. Licensees can complete the required 3 EDI Professionalism Hours all at once or the 3 EDI Professionalism Hours can be spread out over the 3-year period.

14. Can I complete the first 3 hours of the EDI Requirement in the final year?  

Yes. Licensees have from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2020 to complete 3 hours of an accredited program focused on equality and inclusion. These hours can be completed and reported at any time within the 3-year period.   

15. How will I know whether a program is accredited for EDI Professionalism Hours?  

Accredited programs containing EDI Professionalism Hours can be identified by the below logo, which will appear on program marketing materials and agendas. For information on the use of the logo, please reference the Communication Guidelines for Providers:

Accreditation EDI Logo  

Reporting EDI Hours

16. How do I report my EDI Professionalism Hours?  

You report your EDI Professionalism Hours in the same way as all other CPD Hours – using the online Law Society Portal

For more information about entering CPD Hours in the Portal, please see the additional questions and answers below and consult Report Your CPD Hours on the Law Society Portal

17. Since EDI Professionalism Hours are a subset of Professionalism Hours, should I enter EDI Professionalism Hours in both the Professionalism Hours and EDI Hours Portal fields?  

No. You should only enter EDI Professionalism Hours in the “EDI Hours” field. You should not enter EDI Professionalism Hours in the “Professionalism Hours” field. In the Portal, the Professionalism Hours field is reserved for Professionalism Hours that are not accredited for EDI. Entering the same hours in both fields will result in the hours being counted twice

18. In the Portal, how do I report attending a program that has been accredited for both Professionalism Hours and EDI Professionalism Hours?  

In the Portal, you should enter the EDI Professionalism Hours in the “EDI Hours” field only and you should only enter the Professionalism Hours that are not related to EDI in the “Professionalism Hours” field. For example, if you completed a program with 1 EDI Professionalism Hour and 2 Professionalism Hours, you should enter 2 under “Professionalism Hours” and 1 under “EDI Hours”.

19. Between 2018 and 2020, can I review my completed EDI Professionalism Hours in the Portal?  

Yes. In 2018, the Portal will show the EDI Professionalism Hours that you have entered for the year. In 2019 and 2020, if you need to confirm the number of EDI Professionalism Hours that you entered in a previous year, you will be able to access these entries through the tabs at the top of the page by year.

20. How are excess EDI Professionalism Hours applied?  

Any EDI Professionalism Hours reported in the Portal in excess of the 3 EDI Professionalism Hours that are required between 2018-2020 or the 1 EDI Professionalism Hour required each year from 2021 onward will be automatically applied to the lawyer or paralegal’s Professionalism Hours requirement for the reporting year. This is because EDI Professionalism Hours are a subset of Professionalism Hours.

Any Professionalism Hours that have been entered into the Portal in excess of the 3 Professionalism Hours required each year will be automatically applied to the lawyer or paralegal's Substantive Hours requirement for that reporting year.

It is important to note that Substantive Hours entered into the Portal in excess of the required 9 Substantive Hours will not be applied to the lawyer or paralegal's Professionalism Hours or EDI Professionalism Hours requirement.

21.What is the CPD EDI Requirement for lawyers or paralegals who are not in practice or providing legal services for all three years of the initial CPD EDI Requirement (2018-2020) or who do not practise or provide legal services for part of a reporting year thereafter?  

You are encouraged to participate in CPD EDI Professionalism programming or alternate activities. However, only lawyers or paralegals who are in a 100% fee-paying category, who practise law or provide legal services, who provide legal services on a pro bono basis only or who are practising Life Members are required to fulfill the CPD EDI Requirement.

The CPD EDI Requirement is prorated in the same way as Substantive or other Professionalism Hours. Lawyers are required to complete 45 minutes of Substantive CPD and 15 minutes of Professionalism CPD for each month or partial month in which they have a CPD requirement. Of the 15 minutes of Professionalism CPD required for each month or partial month in which the lawyer or paralegal has a CPD Requirement, a lawyer or paralegal’s CPD EDI Requirement is equal to 5 minutes. To calculate a lawyer or paralegal’s CPD EDI Requirement, the lawyer or paralegal should multiply the number of months (including partial months) in which they had a CPD Requirement by 5 minutes.

EDI Professionalism Hours will be prorated in this way for both the initial three-year period (2018-2020) and annually thereafter.

22.Could you provide an example of how prorating a lawyer or paralegal’s CPD requirement (including EDI Professionalism Hours) works?  

Consider a lawyer who is on a leave of absence from practice from January 1 to May 28, 2018 and returns to practice from May 29, 2018 to December 31, 2020.

Even if a lawyer only practises for a partial month, the lawyer is subject to the full CPD Requirement for that month.

As a result, in this case:

The lawyer will have a CPD Requirement for 32 months total from 2018-2020 (8 months for 2018, 12 months for 2019 and 12 months for 2020).

The lawyer’s CPD Requirement for 2018 will be 8 months multiplied by 45 minutes for Substantive CPD and 15 minutes for Professionalism CPD, which equals 6 Substantive Hours and 2 Professionalism Hours.

The lawyer’s CPD Requirement for 2019 and 2020 will be 12 months for each of 2019 and 2020 (24 months total). Thus, the lawyer will be required to complete 9 Substantive Hours and 3 Professionalism Hours per year.

The lawyer’s CPD EDI Requirement for 2018-2020 will be 32 months multiplied by 5 minutes, which equals 2 hours and 40 minutes. These EDI Professionalism Hours can be completed at any time from 2018-2020 and are included in the required Professionalism Hours from 2018-2020.

 

EDI and Accredited Providers

23. Do Accredited Providers of Professionalism Content need to apply for accreditation of EDI professionalism content where it is included in their programming?  

No. Accredited Providers can deliver CPD programs containing EDI professionalism content without applying for accreditation of such content. However, Accredited Providers must ensure, as with all other professionalism content, that the EDI content included in the program is aligned with the Accreditation Criteria for Professionalism Hours .

Accredited Providers should contact the Law Society’s CPD Accreditation department at cpdacc@lsuc.on.ca with any questions about whether a particular program qualifies for EDI Professionalism Hours.

24. Can Accredited Providers of Professionalism Content accredit programs that were delivered prior to the introduction of the new CPD EDI Requirement and that fall within the accreditation criteria for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion?  

Yes. Accredited Providers who previously delivered a CPD professionalism program containing EDI content identified under the Accreditation Criteria for Professionalism Hours and who wish to continue to deliver it in 2018 and onwards (e.g., in an on-demand format), may indicate (in accordance with the Communication Guidelines for Providers) that the program contains EDI Professionalism Hours.