2009 - 2010: Rosalie Silberman Abella

The Honourable Madam Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella

Madam Justice Abella delivered the 11th annual Visiting Lectureship in Human Rights on November 3, 2009 at 7:30 pm in the Horowitz Theatre.

About the Honourable Madam Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella

Throughout her career Madam Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella has been at the forefront of advancing human rights in Canada.

In 1984 she chaired the Royal Commission on Equality in Employment which established the term "employment equity" and advocated for eliminating barriers in employment for women, aboriginal people, persons with disabilities and visible minorities. Recognizing that voluntary measures for addressing discrimination in the workplace were inadequate, the Commission called for legislation and recommended that mandatory reporting measures be adopted to chart the progress in removing discriminatory practices in the workplace. Her report laid the foundation for laws and practices that continue today to advance employment equity for all Canadians.

Madam Justice Abella graduated from the University of Toronto Law School in 1970. She was appointed to the Ontario Provincial Court in 1976, the Ontario Court of Appeal in 1992, and to the Supreme Court of Canada in 2004. She chaired the Ontario Labour Relations Board, the Ontario Law Reform Commission, and the Study on Access to Legal Services by the Disabled. Madam Justice Abella has written more than 70 articles and written or co-edited four books on a variety of legal topics.

She has received 25 honourary degrees, and was awarded the 2003 International Justice Prize of the Peter Gruber Foundation and the 2004 Walter S. Tarnopolsky Award for Human Rights by the Canadian Bar Association and the International Commission of Jurists.