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Diversity and Inclusion at Dentons Canada

At the core of our practice

At Dentons, we seek to attract, support, promote and retain individuals from all backgrounds, and provide a work environment in which everyone—regardless of race, colour, religion, ethnic and national origin, disability, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender, expression and any other personal characteristic protected by law—is treated with respect, dignity and free of harassment.

Our multinational, multicultural, polycentric approach holds diversity and inclusion as driving principles behind our vision and strategy, and distinguishes us as the law firm of choice for not only our clients, but also our people.

Harnessing the unique perspectives of our people across our global organization is a business imperative. We draw on their talents and insights to provide our clients with local knowledge and sector experience in every legal tradition in the world, connecting our clients with high-quality lawyers who understand the business in every community in which they operate.

Fostering a diverse and inclusive environment

Over the years, we have implemented pipelines and initiatives to support Firm members in promoting and effecting diversity and inclusion. Initiatives include various scholarships directed to equity-seeking groups, specific programs designed to promote women and other under-represented groups into partnership and leadership roles, as well as robust regional and global affinity groups.

Below, we have outlined some of our programs, which we have invested in over the past three years to ensure, as a firm, we continue to uphold our unwavering commitment to building a diverse and inclusive workplace.

Harassment and discrimination training

It is imperative that all our people feel safe and welcomed across the Firm. To achieve this, all Firm members complete mandatory harassment and discrimination training as part of our orientation learning experience. Our training module reviews our regional policy, including individual rights and responsibilities, and the FirmÂ’s internal complaint process and investigation procedures. Training also demonstrates diverse and inclusive scenarios, including those that impact women, visible minority, religious and LGBT-inclusive examples as they relate to harassment and discrimination.

Global Inclusion Day

On one day every year, Dentons hosts a series of linked discussions across the Firm, highlighting different aspects of inclusion and its importance. The conversations provide insights and perspectives on the topic of inclusion that are beneficial to all. Over the years, panels have included a conversation around the business case for diversity and inclusion, women in leadership, creating a respectful workplace, global perspectives of our diverse and inclusive culture, affinity biases, our pro bono work, and various other important inclusion issues.

Global Pride Day

In May 2018, Dentons celebrated our inaugural Dentons Pride Day – a Firm-wide celebration of the first anniversary of the launch of our Dentons Global LGBT+ Network group. This celebration is part of the Firm's deep commitment to LGBT inclusion, which is a key part of our diversity pillar, and thus an important component of our success.

Mental health

In 2017, Dentons conducted a benefits review, which has enabled us to develop an ongoing mental health strategy and program to raise awareness and destigmatize mental health issues and concerns across the Firm.

Our affinity groups and committees promote diversity within the Firm through awareness-building and engagement, and help foster an inclusive environment where new relationships may develop and flourish. In addition to our six local diversity and inclusion committees, our Canadian affinity groups include:

Dialogue LGBTA

Our regional and highly-inclusive LGBT and ally network, Dialogue LGBTA cuts through the stratification of the Firm to provide support to our LGBT members irrespective of geography, practice area, industry or type of employee. The core objective of Dialogue LGBTA is to educate all of our people on the differences between sexual orientation, gender identity, expression and sex; further breaking down barriers, building internal relationships and promoting professional growth through a variety of events, networking opportunities and programs.


DentonsÂ’ women affinity group in Canada, WomenLEAD (Leadership, Entrepreneurism, Advancement, and Development), fosters an environment that attracts, develops and inspires women business leaders through business development planning programs, mentoring, networking and client events. This network creates opportunities for women to reach the top levels of their respective fields and become key influencers in both the professional environment and community at large.

Dentons Global LGBT+ Network

Our Firm-wide group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, non- binary, queer and questioning colleagues, as well as their allies, this network supports LGBT colleagues throughout the Firm, particularly in locations without a local/regional LGBT affinity group. It promotes cooperation and sharing of ideas among local/regional Dentons LGBT affinity groups, and increases the visibility of issues affecting LGBT colleagues.

Our commitment to the advancement of women and gender diversity

Dentons has made a commitment to gender diversity in relation to our key leadership team members and Board of Directors. We were one of the first law firms to sign onto the Catalyst Accord 2022, a call to action to Canadian businesses to accelerate the advancement of women in senior leadership roles by increasing the percentage of women on boards and in executive positions to 30 percent or greater by 2022. In addition to this commitment, Dentons promotes the advancement of women through internal talent policies and processes that provide sponsorship and mentorship opportunities for women to progress to business and leadership positions.

Our WomenÂ’s Advancement Director and WomenÂ’s Business Development Director roles play a key part in promoting gender diversity and equality across our regions around the globe. These newly-created roles focus on the development and progression of women lawyers to partner and leadership positions, while supporting women partners and lawyers with targeted programs focused on enhancing, supplementing and supporting their business development and marketing skills.

Diverse talent

Developing a team that is diverse and inclusive is a business responsibility and a key component of our strategy. Our practice and sector management structure ensures each practice is adequately staffed, safeguarding the development and progression of our professionals. Our polycentric model not only gives us the flexibility to respond to our clientÂ’s needs, but also allows us to help our clients adapt to the shifting dynamics of the global marketplace.

The FirmÂ’s practice group leaders are responsible for ensuring our talent pipelines and succession plans are diverse and inclusive, which strengthens our ability to provide our clients with innovative solutions. To achieve this, our Talent Management professionals participate in an ongoing diversity and inclusion learning and development program, which enables them to drive our diversity and inclusion strategy through our recruitment and retention efforts. The FirmÂ’s mentorship program and succession plan provides our associates with an opportunity for growth and development, preparing them to assume leadership roles at the appropriate time.

Advancing diversity and inclusion in our communities

We are proud to support a strong culture of corporate social responsibility and civic engagement, pro bono work and commitment to diversity, inclusion and sustainability. It is an intrinsic part of our positive and forward-thinking culture—a culture that we believe has always been critical to our success and the success of our clients. To learn more about our pro bono work in the communities in which we live and work, click here 

Through partnerships with local organizations and progressive business policies, Dentons promotes diversity in our communities, and establishes the groundwork for the next generation of lawyers and business professionals.

We are committed to – and actively participate in – the Law Firm Diversity and Inclusion Network, a group of Canadian law firms who have signed a Statement of Principles and have agreed to work together to promote diversity, and encourage a culture of inclusion in our firms and the broader legal community.

Dentons is an employer partner at the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC), an organization that helps new Canadians connect to employment that fully leverages their skills and talents. Since its inception in 2004, Dentons has supported more than 100 skilled new Canadians who have gone on to succeed in the labour market.
Our Toronto office continues to make a positive impact on a local at-risk community by participating in the Law in Action Within Schools (LAWS) program, a mentoring partnership between the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, Osgoode Hall Law School and the Toronto District School Board. LAWS was formed to provide an academic program aimed at supporting, guiding and motivating Grade 11 and 12 students attending school in a marginalized Toronto neighborhood. Dentons also provides a paid internship position to one or two LAWS student per year, which gives successful candidates the opportunity to not only gain firsthand experience working in a legal environment, on a rotation basis in our business services groups, but also network with our lawyers and other Firm members.

We also participate in other collaborative programs, such as RBCÂ’s Aboriginal Articling Program and the Aboriginal Business Student Internship in partnership with Polygon Homes. Through our Polygon Homes partnership program, Indigenous undergraduate business students have the opportunity to work in non-traditional areas of business and network with business leaders in Vancouver.

Dentons is committed to partnering, sponsoring and engaging with a number of influential organizations across the country, as outlined below.

Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion

Dentons is a founding employer partner and pro bono legal counsel to the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI), an organization whose focus is to provide practical, sustainable solutions to help employers move forward towards true inclusion. We are proud to annually support the CCDIÂ’s signature spring gala, BLOOM!, which celebrates and recognizes the accomplishments of CanadaÂ’s diversity and inclusion professionals. Diversity champions have the opportunity to apply for the Dentons Senior Executive of the Year Award which recognizes Canadian Executive Leaders for outstanding contributions and commitment to diversity, inclusion, human rights and equity within their organization.

Catalyst Canada

Dentons is a member of Catalyst Canada, a non-profit corporate membership research and advisory organization, working to build inclusive environments and expand opportunities for women in business and professional service.

Pride at Work Canada

Dentons is a founding partner of Pride at Work Canada, an organization dedicated to fostering a workplace culture of inclusion for LGBT employees.

Start Proud

Dentons is pro bono legal counsel to Start Proud, a non-profit organization that facilitates the professional development of LGBTQ students as they transition from school to career. The Firm is also an annual sponsor of Start Proud’s Out on Bay Street Annual Conference and facilitates the annual Moot Competition – where teams of three and four work together to develop a strategic plan that addresses current LGBT issues, drawing from a multitude of business areas. Teams then present their plans to a panel of judges at Dentons’ Toronto office.

Justicia Project of the Law Society of Ontario and the Law Society of British Columbia

Dentons is a signatory and active participant in this program, which is designed to retain and advance women lawyers in private practice. In particular, this program focuses on maternity and parental leave, and flex-work policies, sharing strategies and best practices for tracking gender demographics, adopting initiatives to foster womenÂ’s networking and business development, and promoting leadership skills for women.

We are also proud to be affiliated with and support a number of fantastic organizations including the South Asian Bar Association, the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers, the Korean Lawyers Association, the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers, the Black Law StudentsÂ’ Association of Canada and the WomenÂ’s Executive Network.


As a testament to our continued dedication, Dentons is proud to be recognized among the following:

  • CanadaÂ’s Best Diversity Employers (2011-2018)
  • StonewallÂ’s Top Global Employers (2018) for LGBT inclusion
  • British ColumbiaÂ’s Top Employers (2017-2018)
  • AlbertaÂ’s Best Workplaces for Diversity and Inclusion (2016)
  • CanadaÂ’s Top LGBT-Inclusive Employers (2015)
  • CanadaÂ’s Best Employers for Young People (2012, 2016)
  • CanadaÂ’s Best Employers for New Canadians (2009 - 2013)

Legal Developments by:

  • Legal aspects of documenting shipping finance transactions in the United Arab Emirates

    The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is strategically placed between Europe and the Far East. The UAE has been ranked among the top 15 maritime nations by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the UAE Government is working on plans to transform the shipping industry into one of the country’s major economic sectors.
    - SNR Denton

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