Adelle Blackett honoured for scholarship, teaching, and social justice commitment

Published: 4 July 2023

The Faculty of Law is pleased to announce that Professor Adelle Blackett, FRSC, Ad E, has received a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, from Simon Fraser University (SFU). The honorary degree was bestowed upon her on 9 June at SFU’s Spring Convocation ceremony.

"An acclaimed scholar, educator, author, and a powerful advocate for equity in academia, Dr. Blackett and colleagues in the inter-institutional steering committee have made a landmark contribution of national significance with the recent launch of the Scarborough Charter, a framework for promoting Black flourishing and redressing anti-Black racism in the Canadian post-secondary sector,” SFU’s citation acclaimed at the ceremony.

The Scarborough Charter, of which Professor Blackett was the principal drafter, was described as a “visionary blueprint for building a new Black narrative in Canada.” Since its launch in 2021, it has been signed by close to 60 institutions of higher education across the country, including McGill.

This concludes a year of remarkable achievement for Professor Blackett. She received honorary doctorates from Queen’s University in October 2022 and the Université catholique de Louvain in February 2023. In May, the McGill Graduate Law Students’ Association awarded her the inaugural Excellence in Supervision and Mentorship Award. On 25 June, she received the Labour Law Research Network’s Bob Hepple Award for Lifetime Achievement in Labour Law at its international conference in Warsaw.

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 in Transnational Labour Law. 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 received McGill Principal’s Prize for Excellence in Teaching (Full Professor category) in 2020.

Professor Blackett has been steadfastly committed to improving the employment conditions of marginalized workers in Canada and abroad. 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.

In her convocation address to Simon Fraser University, Professor Blackett stressed the importance of keeping doors open for others and fostering equity with a spirit of mutuality and grace. In her acceptance speech to the LLRN, she encouraged the community of labour law scholars worldwide to dream a little and build an emancipatory, inclusive vision of the field.

“We are proud beyond words,” said Dean Robert Leckey, Ad E, on sharing the news. “Professor Blackett’s local and international impact as a scholar, educator, and engaged citizen has been truly exceptional.”

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