Parental Leave Assistance Programme

Yesterday, at Convocation, the Law Society of Upper Canada voted extend the Parental Leave Assistance Programme.  I had written to them in support of keeping the program, as it had not been available to me.  This is what I said:

I am a woman and a sole practioner.  I write to oppose the elimination
of the parental leave benefit.

In 2005 and 2006, I gave birth to three children in fifteen months
with twins being born in November, 2006.  It was a joyous time and a
difficult time.  I returned to work 3.5 months after my first child
was born only to be pregnant with twins a few months later.  I took 4
months away from work after the twins were born.  I had returned to
work so soon after my children were born to retain my clients and to
pay for my overhead. I remember wanting the profession to make simple,
easy changes to easy the burden on sole practitioner parents who want
to spend time with a new born.

In 2008, I was pleased to learn of the new initiatives to retain women
in private practice. I attended one of the LSUC Town Halls.  The room
was packed with women who implored the benchers to make changes to
allow women to continue to practice.  Never in my years of practice
have I seen so many lawyers from diverse areas of practice united on a
single issue. The parental leave benefit was a small but represented
an important step to helping women stay in practice.  I remember the
pressures of no income but bills to pay and the accumulated debt that
came with back to back pregnancies.  In the past six years, I have
wanted to write to tell you more about what I think the LSUC can do to
improve the situation for parents, particularly women, in the
profession.  Some how, I did not find the time.

It is a great disappointment to me therefore to hear that this benefit
may be discontinued.  I did not expect that this issue would resurface
having been so wholeheartedly embraced by women in private practice.
I urge the benchers to vote against any such proposal.  It is a
regressive step that will undo the progress that has been made.

Please do the right thing. Thank you.

Suzan

And then I  remembered this picture, which captured a bit of my existence after my twins were born and I was trying to keep the practice going.  Sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words.