About the Law Union of Ontario

The Law Union of Ontario, founded in 1974, is a community of lawyers, paralegals, law students and legal workers who are committed to social justice and human rights, and who understand that their role in the legal profession affords not just an opportunity but a responsibility to work for systemic social change and to counter the traditional hierarchies of power and privilege.

The existing legal institutions in our society are oppressive.  We believe that the traditional role of lawyers and legal institutions in Canada has been to protect social, political and economic privilege.  We envision an alternative bar — one that supports progressive social movements, equitable redistribution of power, accessibility of the law, and most importantly, justice for all.

We commit ourselves to the principles of anti-racism and anti-oppression. This involves the dismantling of oppressive systems and structures rooted in hierarchies based on class, poverty, race, colour, ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, disability, immigration status, religion, and other grounds. In particular we recognize that we have a duty to remedy the ongoing legacy of colonialism and the wrongs inflicted by the Canadian state and legal system on Indigenous peoples, whose territories we occupy.  We also recognize our collective responsibility to protect our environment for future generations.

We recognize the importance of safeguarding and extending the rights of workers, women, farmers, migrants and minority groups upon whom the welfare of the entire nation depends.  Where we can, we will encourage and assist them to form effective democratic organizations at the workplace and in the community.

We realize that individual and collective rights are best protected when the people have genuine power over all aspects of their lives, including the judicial process, and we believe that human rights and environmental rights are more sacred than property rights.

For these reasons we seek to unite lawyers, paralegals, law students, and legal workers in an organization which can function as an effective political and social force in the service of all people. We strive to develop and engage collective approaches to bring about systemic and individual change. We believe that we can accomplish more by working together than we can working individually. We know that many viewpoints exist on the means by which to resolve these matters and we do not expect there to be complete agreement or unanimity among our membership on any given project, but the essence of our organization is the commitment of each of us to a collective approach to these problems.

The Law Union is run by an annually elected Steering Committee. The Law Union has several collectives and working groups and has active chapters at some law schools.