About the Survey

What is a demographic survey?
A demographic survey is typically used to obtain specific details about the individuals who work within, or are members of, an organization. This type of survey is compliant with provincial and federal human rights legislation. The questions asked focus on characteristics that make up the core identity of an individual - who he, she or they are - including, but not limited to, ethnicity, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or disability status. 

Why is The Advocates’ Society conducting a demographic survey of members?
The survey is a proactive initiative to gather information and raise awareness regarding the composition of the Society's membership. It will help the Society paint a picture of our community; identify strengths and barriers to equity and inclusion; and develop and implement plans as well as supports in order to identify unconscious biases in organizational policies, processes and procedures, and to promote fairness in decision-making. The survey will provide the Society with insights into how it can develop and implement activities and initiatives to ensure an inclusive organization and a membership that reflects the broadest spectrum of the legal profession in Canada.

The responses collected from the survey will provide detailed information on generalized member identity groups while also protecting each individual’s right to anonymity. The survey will enable the Society to gather more information about the composition of its membership, in a confidential and anonymous manner.

Is the survey anonymous?
Yes. The survey is completely anonymous and is intended to identify general trends. The questions do not ask for identifying information, such as your name, and cannot be tracked back to any individual member.

In fact, anonymity is one of the requirements of collecting self-identification data in accordance with the guidelines provided by provincial and federal human rights and privacy legislation.

Why should I participate in the survey?
The more the Society knows about its members, the better the Society can connect with, and improve relationships among, its members. Without your participation, the picture will be incomplete. Understanding the composition of the Society's community will allow the Society to make improvements to become a more inclusive, respectful and representative association.

When will the survey be conducted?
The survey will be conducted between May and June 2018. Specific start and end dates will be shared soon.

Who developed the survey?
The survey was developed using the Law Society of Ontario's demographic survey as a base. This allows for comparative analysis. Anima Leadership and the Society's Diversity Task Force developed the survey together.

Why has the Society decided to conduct a demographic survey now?
The Society hopes to build on the work of the Law Society of Ontario, and particularly the Law Society’s recent report entitled "Working Together for Change: Strategies to Address Issues of Systemic Racism in the Legal Professions". Now is an appropriate time for the survey because, in determining the diversity of its membership, the Society has an opportunity to renew and enhance its commitment to member engagement, satisfaction and inclusion.  The survey will help to identify practical and tangible initiatives to meet these commitments.

Why is the Society spending money on a diversity survey?
This survey is an investment which the Society believes will yield a more inclusive, thoughtful and representative association.

Who is Anima Leadership?
Anima Leadership is an award-winning company of consultants, trainers and coaches offering consulting and training services for individuals, teams and organizations in support of transformative change. The Anima Team has extensive experience leading organizations through their diversity and inclusion initiatives.

The Anima team will be led by Shakil Choudhury. To learn more about Anima Leadership or Shakil Choudhury, please visit their website at AnimaLeadership.com.

Is the survey mandatory?
No. The survey is voluntary.

That said, The Advocates’ Society's Board of Directors requests that all members participate in the survey, as this will improve the reliability of the results and ensure that the initiatives developed from the survey meet the needs of all members. The results will help the Society set realistic equity, diversity and inclusion goals, and measure progress against those goals. Further, the information from the survey will facilitate the development of activities and initiatives to ensure an inclusive organization and a membership that reflects the broadest spectrum of the legal profession in Canada.

How will members be able to complete the survey?
Members will access the survey online, through Surveymonkey. The survey should take a few minutes to complete.


Data Storage and Analysis

Where will the survey data be stored?
During the project, the data will be stored in a secure, confidential database accessible only by authorized staff of Anima Leadership. Following the submission of a final report and completion of the project, The Advocates' Society may elect to store the anonymous, password-protected data to be used as the baseline comparator in future demographic surveys, subject to an appropriate data storage and protection policy.

Who will have access to the data?
The data will only be accessed by Anima Leadership's qualified staff, who have been trained to process, analyze, and report such data. Upon submission of Anima's final report and completion of the project, authorized members and staff of The Advocates' Society may have access to the anonymous, password protected data, subject to an appropriate data storage and protection policy. As stated previously, the data is completely anonymous, and individual responses cannot be traced back to any particular member.

How will the data be analyzed?
The data will be analyzed by Anima and presented to the Society in a summary format based on aggregated data.



Does the survey comply with legal, privacy and confidentiality requirements?
Yes. The survey complies with privacy legislation regarding the collection, storage and reporting of data.

Do the survey questions comply with provincial and federal human rights legislation?
Yes. Human rights legislation permits proactive initiatives to enhance inclusion in an organization. The survey is one such initiative. The survey results will help to indicate what additional inclusion initiatives are appropriate.


Survey Results

How will the results be used?
The survey results will be used to raise awareness about the composition of the Society's membership, in order to better serve the different needs of our diverse member groups. In addition, the results will help to identify any unconscious biases in organizational policies, processes and procedures, to promote fairness in decision-making, and to guide the Society in developing initiatives to address these matters.

What happens after the results are analyzed?
The results of the survey will provide insight into where the Society's equity and inclusion initiatives should be focused. They will also provide a basis for comparison for future equity initiatives to determine progress.

When will the learnings be shared with the broader membership?
The Society intends to inform members about what it learned from the results of the survey by the end of 2018.

Who will ensure follow-up actions after the survey?
The Society's Board of Directors, on the advice of the Diversity Task Force, will identify appropriate follow-up actions once the survey data has been analyzed. The Diversity Task Force will also help guide the design and implementation of the action plan.

Will the Society’s survey results be compared to other data?
The survey data may be compared to other regional or organizational data, as available.