“A bar that reflects the diversity of the public it services undeniably promotes the administration of justice and the public’s confidence in the same. A diverse bar is more responsive to the needs of the public it serves. A diverse bar is a more competent bar.”
—Supreme Court of Canada in Law Society of British Columbia v. Trinity Western University
Pride@Blakes is a network for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ+) professionals at our Firm. The primary goal of Pride@Blakes is to support our people and create better connections with our LGBTQ+ clients and the diverse communities in which we live and practise law.
In this regard, Blakes and our members are involved in a wide variety of organizations and initiatives, including the following:
  • Pride at Work Canada, a national umbrella organization dedicated to improving workplace inclusiveness for LGBTQ+ employees across the country
  • StartProud (formerly Out on Bay Street), a national association for LGBTQ+ students in law, business and other professional programs
  • Family Service Toronto, a key United Way agency dedicated to a range of counselling, advocacy and community development priorities
  • Sherbourne Health Centre, a long-standing health services organization serving downtown Toronto (and particularly the LGBTQ+ community)
  • Legal Leaders for Diversity
  • LGBTQ+ in Capital Markets
  • AIDS Committee of Toronto, a community-based, charitable organization that provides support, HIV prevention and education services for people living with and at risk for HIV
  • exeQutive, a forum for LGBTQ+ business leaders
  • Casey House, a specialty hospital in Toronto that provides compassionate health care to people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS
  • The Egale Centre, the first homeless shelter in Canada for LGBTQ+ youth
  • 519 Summary Advice Clinic, a free drop-in legal advice clinic in Toronto for low-income members of the LGBTQ+ community
  • The Trevor Project, the world’s leading LGBTQ+ suicide prevention initiative
  • PrideBuild, an initiative with Habitat for Humanity in which we partnered with several LGBTQ+ clients to build a home for a family in Scarborough
  • Various diversity initiatives and educational opportunities within Blakes
  • Pride activities in Vancouver, Calgary, Montréal and Toronto
  • Many pro bono cases for equity-seeking groups, including those with special relevance to LGBTQ+ people across Canada
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On June 15, 2018, the Supreme Court of Canada released two landmark decisions that are a significant victory for the LGBTQ+ community. In Trinity Western University v. Law Society of Upper Canada and Law Society of British Columbia v. Trinity Western University, the court ruled in favour of the law societies to ensure the LGBTQ+ community has equal access to legal education and joining the bar. The decisions uphold the law societies’ right to reject graduates of Trinity Western University, a Christian university that prohibits sexual relations among students who fall outside the scope of heterosexual marriage.