A Toronto lawyer who says he was discriminated against by a Law Society of Upper Canada security guard says he may take the matter to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.
Selwyn Pieters says he was racially profiled on July 5 as he was walking into Osgoode Hall to give his intern a tour, and presented an ID card to a guard who approached them.
Pieters said he was not allowed in after showing an ID card to the guard, and had to get a renewed card — differential treatment, he says, is based on race.
“I should be retaining counsel in the next couple [of] days. Myself and counsel will be deciding the next course of action,” says Pieters, who adds that bringing an application before the HRTO is “an option that is open at this point.”
Robert Lapper, the LSUC’s chief executive officer, said in a letter to Law Times Aug. 22 that while the LSUC regrets Pieters was “upset by his experience,” Lapper is “satisfied that standard procedures were followed and there was no discrimination.
“The Law Society has standard procedures for all non-staff licensees who seek to enter controlled access areas of the building. Access to these parts of the building is gained through the main reception area of the Law Society,” Lapper said in the letter to Law Times.
“The standard procedures call for security staff to ask licensees to show their Law Society identification card. If this card is expired, security staff will check the Law Society’s database of licensees to confirm the licensee’s status. Once security staff have confirmed the licensee’s status, he or she is permitted entry to those areas of the building.”
Pieters has published a post online calling on the LSUC for information about security procedures. For example, he says other lawyers have told him they have not had LSUC identification cards.
He says the response from the LSUC has been disheartening.
“I, to be quite frank with you, was disappointed, very disappointed, and so I will take the next step,” says Pieters.