Trail-blazing Alumna a Champion of Human Rights

Madame Justice Sheila Greckol To Receive Distinguished Alumni Award

Helen Metella - 21 September 2018

Sheila Greckol, a justice of the Court of Appeal of Alberta who has held significant roles in numerous landmark legal cases, will be honoured for her outstanding career of service on Monday, Sept. 24.

Greckol, '74 BA, '75 LLB, is a 2018 recipient of the University of Alberta's Distinguished Alumni Award.

As one of the province's leading labour and human rights lawyers for 25 years, she became known internationally for defying the status quo in a quest for social change.

Greckol was co-counsel for Delwin Vriend, a teacher fired from his job because he was gay, in the first successful gay-rights case in the Supreme Court of Canada. The 1998 decision has since served as the basis for LGBTQ human rights advances around the world.

Other prominent cases of her career have advanced gender, racial and reproductive rights, including a 1992 decision that confirmed that Alberta mothers are entitled to benefits while on maternity leave.

Greckol was appointed to the Court of Appeal of Alberta in 2016, after presiding as a justice of the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta since 2001.

A native of Vilna, Alta., Greckol traces her dedication to those who are vulnerable or disadvantaged to her childhood memories of Indigenous people suffering in the community that surrounded her.

"Some of the things I witnessed,including violent incidents involving police and Indigenous people are still with me … even though it's been 50 years," Greckol told New Trail magazine in August 2018.

The 2018 Alumni Awards ceremony takes place September 24 at Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the event begins at 7 p.m. It is a free public event but registration is required.