Priorities should be on retaining women in the profession and providing greater opportunities to racialized licensees.
Regarding retaining women in the profession, I support the Parental Leave program, but would raise the means test and would raise the maximum eligible amount and the duration of leave. Right now, the LSO expense for this program has averaged $205,000 over the last five years. Even doubling this program within our overall budget of $133 million (in which significant efficiencies can be found) would not be too onerous. Supporting this program is a policy choice we should advocate for. The effects on retaining female lawyers in the profession yield significant dividends for a low cost with this program.
Regarding racialized licensees I agree with the recommendations in the Final Report of Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Working
Group generally, and think that the inclusion index is a good idea as is the inclusion survey to develop adequate quantitative information about the effects of these policies in addressing lack of diversity in the profession. However, I think that the benchmarks are set too high. I do not think it would be unduly onerous to have the inclusion index apply to firms of 5 lawyers and more (not 25) and that the inclusion survey interval of 4 years is too long. This should be reduced by half to every 2 years at most.