Judicial Diversity Highlighted at this Year’s Hispanic / Latin American Heritage Month Celebration

  • November 02, 2020
  • Veronica Marson, former president and current treasurer of the Canadian Hispanic Bar Association

On October 20, 2020, the Law Society of Ontario (LSO) and the Canadian Hispanic Bar Association (CHBA) held their fifth annual Hispanic / Latin American Heritage Month celebration. Due to the current pandemic, the festivities were delivered exclusively by way of digital format.

This year’s program provided a timely discussion on judicial diversity. The issue is particularly important to the Hispanic and Latin American community in Canada as a whole, given that there are currently no federally appointed Latino judges and only one provincially appointed Latino judge. Within the legal profession, Latinos have one of the lowest levels of representation. Although the statistics are not readily available and often vary, it is estimated that there are around 300 to 400 Latino lawyers currently serving a community of approximately 1.2 million persons of Hispanic and Latin American origin in Canada. 

LSO Treasurer, Teresa Donnelly, and CHBA President, Antonio Urdaneta, opened the “Diversity in the Canadian Judiciary” event by outlining the importance of having a more diverse judiciary. They emphasized how the justice system is strengthened when the public sees themselves reflected on the bench. This sentiment was echoed in greetings provided by Past President of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), Pedro Jaime Torres-Diaz, and former Chief Judge of the Trenton Municipal Court, Carmen Garcia. A special musical performance by the Payadora Tango Ensemble was also showcased to highlight the richness of Hispanic and Latin American culture.