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Administrators of justice
For example, Board/Tribunal member, Justice of the Peace, Mediator, Arbitrator, Judge, Court Official, etc.


Advancement in the workplace refers to career progression to a more senior role. Advancement is the upward trajectory of an individual's career and typically means getting promoted, receiving an increase in compensation, or being assigned more responsibilities by an employer.

All prohibited grounds

Discrimination and harassment are prohibited on the basis of a detailed list of grounds, and any combination of these grounds. The prohibited grounds of discrimination are:

• Race
• Colour
• Ancestry
• Creed (religion)
• Place of Origin
• Ethnic Origin
• Citizenship
• Sex (including pregnancy, gender identity)
• Sexual Orientation
• Age
• Marital Status
• Family Status
• Disability
• Receipt of Public Assistance

Authentic self

Being or expressing one’s “authentic self” is the ability to express opinions with confidence and self-awareness within different situations. The ability to be or express one’s “authentic self” is context-specific and will differ for each individual. People often naturally “code-switch” in different personal and professional contexts, where their speech and mannerisms change to adapt to that particular social group. However, code-switching limits one’s ability to be their “authentic self” when a person communicates with others behind a persona or false image of who they believe they are expected to be, out of fear of being judged for who they really are.


This includes communication via email, newsletter, website, legal workplace meeting, or other ways that important information is communicated in your legal workplace.

Community or outreach activities

For example, community or outreach activities relating to equality, diversity and inclusion are activities that promote awareness and education on challenges and barriers faced by equity-seeking groups and that advocate for action on equality, diversity and inclusion issues impacting these groups.

For example, PRIDE events, National Indigenous Heritage Month, wellness in the community, etc.


Discrimination means any form of unequal treatment based on human rights legislation grounds, whether imposing extra burdens or denying benefits. The Ontario Human Rights Code grounds include: race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, record of offences, marital status, family status, or disability*.

Discrimination may be intentional or unintentional. It may involve direct actions that are discriminatory on their face, or it may involve rules, practices or procedures that appear neutral, but have the effect of disadvantaging certain groups of people.

Discrimination may take obvious forms, or it may occur in very subtle ways. In any case, even if there are many factors affecting a decision or action, if discrimination is one factor, that is a violation of human rights legislation.

* There are some licensees whose legal workplaces may be subject to the Canadian Human Rights Act, R.S.C., 1985, c. H-6. The prohibited grounds of discrimination set out in section 3(1) are slightly different from Ontario legislation: race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, family status, genetic characteristics, disability and conviction for an offence for which a pardon has been granted or in respect of which a record suspension has been ordered.

Employee Groups

Employee groups (or affinity groups, employee resource groups, mentoring groups, etc.) are voluntary, employee-led groups of people who have shared ethnic backgrounds that engage with their legal workplace to create a culture of inclusion.


The Supreme Court of Canada has held that equality is an “elusive concept” that “lacks precise definition.” * Equality does not mean treating all people the same for all purposes. In Canada, court decisions at all levels make it clear that both the Charter of Rights and Freedoms** and human rights legislation aim to achieve “substantive” rather than a “formal” equality.

Whereas “formal equality” involves “equal treatment for those in similar situations and different treatment for those in dissimilar situations” (‘treating likes alike’),” *** “substantive equality” does not always require treating all people the same.

Substantive equality, rather, is aimed at “recognizing and responding to difference and remedying discrimination and stereotyping.” **** It requires “acknowledgment of and response to differences that members of a particular group might experience” in order to be treated equally.*****
To be clear, it is substantive equality that human rights/diversity policies in legal workplace should be aiming for.

*Andrews v. Law Society of British Columbia, [1989] 1 S.C.R. 143 at p. 164.
** Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Part I of the Constitution Act, 1982, being Schedule B to the Canada Act 1982 (UK), 1982, c 11.
*** Ontario (Disability Support Program) v. Tranchemontagne, 2010 ONCA 593 at para. 78.
**** Vandervelde v. Goodlife Fitness Centres Inc., 2012 HRTO 1042 at para. 13.
***** Patricia Hughes, "Supreme Court of Canada Equality Jurisprudence and “Everyday Life”." The Supreme Court Law Review: Osgoode’s Annual Constitutional Cases Conference 58. (2012) at pp. 246-47. 

Equality, diversity and/or inclusion training or education

For example, Understanding and awareness of diversity and inclusion, embracing differences and inclusivity in the workplace, etc.


Inclusive Definition of Francophone (IDF): this definition includes those whose mother tongue is French, as well as those whose mother tongue is neither French nor English but have a particular knowledge of French as an Official Language and use French at home. The IDF was adopted by the Ontario government in 2009.


The Ontario Human Rights Code defines “harassment” as: engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known, or ought reasonably to be known, to be unwelcome. It is directed at a person who identifies by the Code grounds listed above.

Harassment can involve words or actions that are known or should be known to be offensive, embarrassing, humiliating, demeaning, or unwelcome.

Human Rights Code

The Ontario Human Rights Code (The Code) is a provincial law that gives everybody equal rights and opportunities without discrimination in specific social areas such as jobs, housing, services, facilities, and contracts or agreements. The Code’s goal is to prevent discrimination and harassment because of race, sex, disability, and age, to name a few of the 17 grounds. All other Ontario laws must agree with the Code.


Inclusion is a state of being valued, respected, and supported. Workplace inclusion means creating an environment that accepts each individual's differences (as set out in Workplace Diversity below) embraces their strengths, and provides opportunities for all people in the workplace to achieve their full potential.

Inclusion should be reflected in an organization’s culture, practices and relationships that are in place to support a diverse workforce.*


Inclusion Surveys

Inclusion surveys measure self-reported demographic information and assess employees’ experiences of inclusion in the workplace.  Inclusion surveys may also assess a workplace’s corporate commitment to diversity and inclusion.  

Internal Initiatives

For example, mentoring, holiday or cultural event recognition, wellness programs, unconscious biased testing and training, etc.

Legal Workplace

A place of work in Ontario where legal work is being done, such as providing legal advice, guidance or opinions.


This includes making information available via email, newsletter, website, legal workplace meeting, or other ways that important information is communicated in your legal workplace about upcoming initiatives, meetings or learning opportunities. This also includes providing resources and reasonable accommodations to licensees to fully participate in these programs that may be used to improve the culture within the legal workplace. For example, providing licensees with “professional development days” to support their participation in on- or off-site diversity-related training sessions during normal work hours; or providing a subsidy for the membership fee of an equality-seeking professional association.


Recruitment is the process of discovering, attracting and hiring an individual for a job position.  The recruitment process includes documenting the requirements of a job, attracting individuals to the job, screening, interviewing, and selecting applicants, and finally making a job offer and hiring the new employee.


Retention in this application refers to employee retention which is defined simply as the ability of an organization to maintain its number of employees.  A number of factors contribute to employee retention including but not limited to corporate culture, compensation, career development, opportunity, satisfaction, rewards, and recognition.

Sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is a course of conduct based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression that is known or should be known to be unwelcome to the recipient. While a course of conduct generally refers to a pattern of behaviour, a single significant incident may rise to the level of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment may involve overt acts such as unsolicited and unwanted physical contact, or more subtle behaviour, such as insults or taunting based on gender. 

Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Report

A report based on a comprehensive historical record of the policies and operations of the Indian Residential Schools (IRS) that includes recommendations (referred to as Calls to Action) to the Government of Canada concerning the IRS system and its legacy. In Call to Action #27, the TRC calls on the Federation of Law Societies of Canada to ensure that licensees receive appropriate cultural competency training and that lawyers receive training which includes the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Indigenous law.  


Workplace Diversity

Human diversity means differences among people that can be used to distinguish groups and people from one another. As a concept in the workplace, it means respect for, and appreciation of, differences between people and groups of people, based on:

grounds under the Ontario Human Rights Code, such as: race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, record of offences, marital status, family status, or disability;

and/or other distinctions between people, such as: education, work experiences, cultural differences, income, geographic location, appearance, communication style, or political ideology.

Written plan

For example, strategic, business or working plan.


Terms or Concepts Explained