Services

​If you witness a lawyer or paralegal engaging in discrimination or harassment based on human rights grounds, or if you feel that you have experienced such discrimination or harassment by a lawyer, paralegal or student member of the Law Society, you can contact the Discrimination and Harassment Counsel (DHC). There is no fee for the DHC's services.

The DHC will help you by:

  • Listening to your concerns;
  • Clarifying the issues;
  • Providing confidential information and advice;
  • Reviewing your options and avenues of recourse (such as, for example, filing a complaint with the Law Society of Ontario or filing an application with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal);
  • Explaining the advantages and disadvantages of each option; and
  • Referring you to other resources that may be of assistance.

Upon request, the DHC may be able to help you resolve your complaint by intervening informally as a neutral facilitator or by conducting formal mediation, where appropriate.

Mediation is assisted negotiation. It is a confidential process that provides both the complainant and the respondent with an opportunity to discuss the complainant's concerns and generate options to resolve the issues raised by the complaint.

Mediation is a voluntary process. At any time, either the complainant or the respondent can withdraw from the process.

Through mediation the parties are encouraged to create their own solution with the assistance of the DHC. The DHC does not take sides in the mediation or make decisions. Instead, the DHC facilitates the discussion and assists the parties in crafting their own resolution.

The mediation can take place in a face-to-face meeting or through a conciliation model or "shuttle diplomacy" where the parties meet individually with the DHC. The parties can bring a friend, advocate or their lawyer or paralegal to the mediation meeting.

LIMITATIONS

The DHC does not have investigative powers and does not operate a formal complaints process that involves any fact-finding. If you would like the conduct of a lawyer to be investigated, you should contact the Law Society's Complaints Services department.

The DHC does not provide legal advice or legal representation and cannot make referrals to lawyers or paralegals. If you require a lawyer, the Law Society operates a Law Society Referral Service. You can also check the Law Society's Lawyer and Paralegal Directory to find a lawyer or paralegal.

FEEDBACK

If you used the services of the DHC Program, please complete a program evaluation form. This short questionnaire should take 5-10 minutes to complete. Your confidential and anonymous responses will be used to determine the effectiveness of the program and make improvements or changes where appropriate. Your comments are important to us.