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DiverseCity Counts 3: A Snapshot of Diversity in the Greater Toronto Area with a focus on the legal sector (2011)

Posted on:
October 18, 2020

DiverseCity Counts has measured the number of visible minorities in positions of leadership in the largest and most influential employment sectors in the GTA. The focus has been on six sectors: elected office, the public sector, the corporate sector, the voluntary sector, the education sector, and agencies, boards and commissions (ABCs).

In 2009, the study found that 13.4% of the 3,256 leaders analysed were visible minorities, compared to 49.5% of the population in the area under study. In 2010, the study revealed some subtle but positive changes: in total, 14% of 3,347 leaders examined were members of visible minority groups. In 2011, an analysis of the same institutions revealed that 483 of a total of 3,330 leadership positions, or 14.5%, are held by members of visible minority groups. This represents a gradual, but significant, increase (8%) in the diversity of GTA leaders over the last three years.

Rates of diversity vary between sectors

Here are a few of the findings:

  • The largest increase of visible minority leaders occurred in the elected officials sector, which rose from 16.1% in 2009 to 19% in 2011, demonstrating an 18.4% change. This is due to greater visible minority representation in leadership positions on city councils and school boards following the 2010 municipal elections.
  • In the public sector, 8.8% of leadership positions are held by visible minorities, down slightly from 2010 (9.4%), but up from 2009 (8.1%).
  • Corporate sector leadership is the least diverse. Visible minorities hold just 4.2% of leadership positions in this sector.
  • The best overall results are found in government agencies, boards and commissions. Twenty-two per cent of leadership positions in this sector are held by visible minorities. This represents an increase of 18.3% since 2009, and one of the most significant increases found in this study. ABCs also had the most diverse leadership in 2010

Rates of diversity vary within sectors

This research shows that some sub-sectors have more visible minority leadership than others. For example:

  • Within the public sector, 3% of municipal and regional executives are visible minorities compared to 11% of deputy and assistant deputy ministers.
  • In the education sector, colleges are the most diverse with visible minorities holding 26.3% of leadership positions; while just 8.3% of school board directors are visible minorities.
  • City of Toronto agencies, boards, and commissions have the best overall diversity. Visible minorities make up 33% of leadership positions in this sub-sector.

Within sectors, some organizations have significant numbers of visible minorities in leadership, while others have absolutely none. This gap reinforces the need for organizations that distinguish themselves as diversity leaders to share their policies and practices with less proactive organizations.

Legal leaders do not reflect the population they serve

This year, the project introduced an additional sector to the study: the legal sector. The legal system is one of the core institutions in a democracy. To analyse this sector in the GTA, the number of visible minority leaders among judges, legal governing bodies, law school deans and associate/assistant deans, partners in the largest law firms, and Crown and deputy Crown attorneys were counted.

Within leadership roles, visible minorities are under-represented in the legal sector. Visible minorities comprise 14.4% of all lawyers in the GTA, yet of 2,410 legal leaders identified, only 6.8% (163) are visible
minorities. Law schools and governing bodies have the highest percentage (10.5%) of visible minorities in leadership positions. Among judges, 8.3% are visible minorities, while 6.6% of partners in the largest law firms are visible minorities. There are no visible minorities among Crown and deputy Crown attorneys in the GTA.

Summary

DiverseCity Counts has measured the number of visible minorities in positions of leadership in the largest and most influential employment sectors in the GTA. In 2011 there was a gradual, but significant, increase (8%) in the diversity of GTA leaders over the last three years.
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