The wellness of legal professionals is a growing concern in Canada. In 2019, the Federation of Law Society of Canada’s annual conference explored wellness within the legal profession. Feedback from the conference and results of a study on well-being conducted among Quebec lawyers supported the need for a national study on the matter. The Quebec study was the first of its kind in Canada.
The conference and study both revealed that legal professionals are at higher risk of experiencing stress, anxiety, depression and substance use than are other professionals. The lack of data on the mental health of legal professionals across Canada represented a critical knowledge gap that had to be filled to properly inform and advance mental health and wellness initiatives.
As a result the Federation, in collaboration with Canada’s law societies and the Canadian Bar Association, partnered with the Université de Sherbrooke to conduct the first comprehensive national study on the wellness of legal professionals in Canada. Phase I of the study gathered evidence to determine the scope of the problem, distinguish regional differences and explore the causes of substance use and poor health outcomes in the profession. Ultimately, the study will enable us to better support the wellness of legal professionals.
A video of Dr. Cadieux’s presentation of the study results at the Federation conference is available here.