Adelle Blackett honoured again for extraordinary impact of her scholarship and engagement

Published: 17 February 2023

The Faculty of Law is pleased to announce that Professor Adelle Blackett, FRSC, Ad E, has received a doctorate honoris causa from the Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain). She was presented with the award at a ceremony held on 16 February. The day prior, she delivered the lecture associated with her award, entitled "De la métaphore à la mémoire: Restituer l’histoire de l’esclavage dans les débats sur les formes contemporaines d’esclavage." 

Outstandingly, this is the second honorary degree presented to Professor Adelle Blackett this year; in October, she received an honorary doctorate of laws from Queen’s University.  

“Through your academic scholarship and how you have been putting your expertise to the service of society (notably through the ILO), you embody the values of human dignity, equality and non-discrimination, freedom, and the fight against slavery and forced labour,” lauded UCLouvain’s nomination letter.  

A 1994 graduate of McGill Law’s dual program in common law and civil law, Adelle Blackett is a full professor and holds the Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Transnational Labour Law and Development. She is the founding director of the Labour Law and Development Research Laboratory (LLDRL) at McGill, and the author of Everyday Transgressions - Domestic Workers' Transnational Challenge to International Labor Law (Cornell University Press, 2019), which received the 2020 Canadian Council on International Law scholarly book award. An innovative pedagogue, she has received the 2020 McGill Principal’s Prize for Excellence in Teaching (Full Professor category). 

A globally recognized authority on labour law, Professor Blackett has been steadfastly committed to improving the employment conditions of marginalized workers in Canada and abroad. She has served as a commissioner on the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse, and chaired the Court Challenges Program’s Human Rights Expert Panel. In 2021, the federal Minister of Labour appointed her as chair of Canada’s Employment Equity Act Review Task Force. A former official of the International Labour Office (ILO) in Geneva, she was the chief legal architect behind ILO's first comprehensive international standards offering protections and rights to more than 60 million domestic workers (Convention No. 189 and Recommendation No. 201), and subsequently prepared a draft Haitian labour code. 

Professor Blackett has played an active role in fostering equity in academia within and beyond McGill. Notably, she is the principal drafter of the Scarborough Charter on Anti-Black Racism and Black Inclusion in Canadian Higher Education, which has been signed by 60 institutions of higher education across the country.  

“[Professor Blackett] shows that academic scholarship is not an end in itself, and that it becomes truly meaningful when it serves to shape society and contribute to making it more just,” said Séverine Dinjar, administrative director of UCLouvain’s Institut de recherche économique et sociale (IRES).   

“I’m tremendously proud to see our Canada Research Chair in Transnational Labour Law and Development further recognized for her international impact,” said Dean Robert Leckey, Ad E. “She embodies McGill Law’s commitment to address some of our world’s most pressing challenges through legal leadership.” 

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