Gowling WLG becomes first law firm to sign EHRC Leadership Accord on Gender Diversity

02 April 2019

Gowling WLG Canada is pleased to announce that it has become the first law firm to sign the Leadership Accord on Gender Diversity. Developed by Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC), the Accord is a call to action and public commitment by Canadian employers, educators, unions and governments to champion and promote the values of gender diversity and inclusion within their organizations.

Peter Lukasiewicz, CEO of Gowling WLG Canada, signs the Accord alongside energy partner Irene Choe and energy associate Magda Hanebach.

We are proud to be the first law firm to support this important initiative," said Tina Woodside, Gowling WLG Canada's firm managing partner, internal. "At Gowling WLG, we know that diversity and inclusion lead to better innovation, collaboration and productivity. In signing the Accord, we are demonstrating to our clients and colleagues that we are committed to improving opportunities for women across the energy sector and beyond."

As a signatory, Gowling WLG is required to complete a detailed self-assessment and sign a "certificate of commitment and declaration," which involves regular benchmarking and implementation of a range of initiatives that support the firm's commitments outlined in the Accord.

At the two-year mark from signing, EHRC will undertake a thorough review to determine the firm's progress in the area of gender diversity. Feedback and recommendations from EHRC will then be given to Gowling WLG's National Diversity and Inclusion Council, providing the firm with an opportunity to analyze the effectiveness of its diversity practices, while re-aligning strategic plans as needed.

"We're thrilled with Gowling WLG's signing of the Leadership Accord on Gender Diversity," said Michelle Branigan, CEO of EHRC. "Achieving better gender diversity is a commitment that requires a concerted effort and engagement of employees at all levels. Gowling WLG's leadership in this area is a tremendous accomplishment and a big step for everyone working in both the Canadian electrical and legal industries."

Launched in 2017, the Leadership Accord on Gender Diversity was initially targeted at the electricity sector, but has since grown to include many other sectors at the request of various organizations.

Gowling WLG's participation in the EHRC Leadership Accord marks yet another step forward in the firm's ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion (D&I). Guided by a national D&I Strategy, the firm is a proud member of the Law Firm Diversity and Inclusion Network, and was the first law firm in Canada to receive the Starbucks International Excellence in Diversity Award.

Last year, Gowling WLG launched its Our People First: Mental Health Strategy to promote the mental well-being of its people. Numerous leaders from across the firm have received mental health first aid training, which has equipped them to recognize and support people who are dealing with mental health challenges.

In addition, more than half of all Gowling WLG personnel have received unconscious bias training to understand how common forms of bias shape ideas and actions, and how those biases can impact others. The firm is also engaged in an ongoing partnership with the Canadian Centre for Gender & Sexual Diversity to support members of the trans and non-binary community.