LSO to update policies after exam scheduled on Eid

The Law Society of Ontario said it is reviewing how it schedules licensing exams to avoid conflicts with religious and cultural holidays.

LSO to update policies after exam scheduled on Eid
Yavar Hameed says it is disconcerting that the LSO would schedule an exam on Eid.

The Law Society of Ontario said it is reviewing how it schedules licensing exams to avoid conflicts with religious and cultural holidays.

The announcement comes after the Barrister Examination on June 4, 2019 coincided with Eid, which the government of Canada acknowledges is the end of the holy month of Ramadan for the country’s more than 1 million Muslims. Many cultural and religious leaders reached out to the LSO to offer “advice and counsel” on the scheduling issue, the LSO said.

“Candidates who were impacted by this date conflict were entitled to seek accommodations that would have permitted them to write the examination on another date. The licensing examinations are also offered three times a year,” the law society said in a statement on June 11. “These options notwithstanding, we recognize that the scheduling of the Barrister Examination on Eid was not in keeping with our commitment to inclusion in the profession.”

Ottawa human rights lawyer Yavar Hameed ran for bencher this year on the platform of removing barriers faced by young lawyers joining the profession, and was endorsed by the Canadian Muslim Lawyers’ Association. Hameed, who was ultimately not elected, says it is disconcerting that the LSO would make such a mistake.

“[T]here is also some variance as to when Eid is held based on a lunar calendar– within a span of about 24 hours,” says Hameed. “The LSO should have had Eid on its radar and the fact that it wasn’t shows that there continues to be a gap both institutionally from the perspective of LSO and the profession largely speaking in being attuned to religious diversity. That is a reality that doesn’t surprise me – whether or not we have a statement of principles there is a lot of work to be done.”

The law society said in its statement that it wants “policies and operating procedures reflect the diversity of the many cultures and religions that form the fabric of our community.”

“Thank you for your patience as we continue to work to increase cultural awareness within our organization and across the communities we serve,” the statement said. 

Free newsletter

Our newsletter is FREE and keeps you up to date on all the developments in the Ontario legal community. Please enter your email address below to subscribe.

Recent articles & video

Legal Aid Ontario begins consultations to modernize Legal Aid Online

Margaret Sims becomes counsel to Law Foundation of Ontario’s Class Proceedings Fund

After removing exemption, LSO votes down motion to reduce annual fees for retired lawyers over 65

Pilot explores how social work students can help fill funding gaps in community legal clinics

Lawyer suspended, allegedly mishandled and misappropriated trust funds, lied to LSO

COVID-19 and the holidays: Personal injury firms fundraising for frontline healthcare workers

Most Read Articles

New differential privacy algorithm allows for secure sharing of machine-learning legal tech: lawyer

Law Society passes fee reduction, COVID-19 relief, some Benchers say measures fall short

Ontario Review Board cannot order accused to attend Zoom hearing: Court

Lawyer suspended, allegedly mishandled and misappropriated trust funds, lied to LSO