As part of Scotiabank‘s commitment to inclusion for every future, the bank has developed a first-in-Canada scholarship program to increase the number of students pursuing a career in the legal profession with the intent to become advocates for anti-racism. Scholarship recipients will be selected based on several factors including their demonstrated experience in anti-racism advocacy and a clear articulation of how they will leverage their legal careers to tackle systemic discrimination.
“Like banking, the legal profession benefits enormously from the diverse perspectives of its members,” says Brian Porter, President and CEO, Scotiabank. “The Scotiabank Program for Law Students endeavors to give the next generation of legal professionals a stronger voice and presence in furthering the fight against racial discrimination. We are confident that this first-in-Canada program will help create positive and lasting change for the benefit of all Canadians.”
The Scotiabank Program for Law Students will enable each affiliated university to award one student per year a $10,000 scholarship renewable annually for the duration of their three-year degree. Each scholarship recipient will have the opportunity to meet with Scotiabank executives and members of the legal community and select participants in the scholarship program will be offered an internship opportunity at either Scotiabank, a law firm or another legal advocacy organization. A total of $540,000 in scholarship funds will be awarded to 18 students throughout the duration of the program.
Participating law schools are: University of Alberta, University of Victoria, McGill University, University of Windsor, the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University and Osgoode Hall Law School at York University.
As part of its goal to be the bank of choice for the diverse communities it serves, Scotiabank has made several commitments to address racial discrimination over the past year. In June 2020, the Bank contributed $500,000 to several organizations dedicated to the elimination of racial discrimination, including Careers Education Empowerment Centre for Young Black Professionals and the Canadian Race Relations Foundation.
In addition, Scotiabank’s President and CEO, Brian Porter, joined the board of the BlackNorth Initiative and signed the CEO pledge, which committed to increasing the percentage of Scotiabank employees that identify as Black to at least 3.5% of the executive population and at least 5% of the annual summer student population.
In addition to today’s announcement, Scotiabank has also committed $60,000 over the next three years in support of Black Future Lawyers (BFL); a collaboration between the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, Black Law Students Association and members of the Black legal community. The program aims to offer a series of initiatives that provide engagement opportunities to Black students during key periods: 1) high school, 2) undergraduate school and 3) while applying to law school. Considered together, these initiatives will form a continuous pipeline between grade 10 and the legal profession. Scotiabank’s support for BFL will focus on amplifying interest among high school students in order to help increase graduation rates within the community.