On April 11th 2019, the International Labour Organization (ILO) will celebrate its 100th anniversary. To mark this occasion, Professor Adelle Blackett, Canada Research Chair in Transnational Labour Law and Development, will be bringing a new course to McGill University's Faculty of Law entitled "Transnational Futures of International Labour Law: Celebrating the ILO's 100th anniversary." Taught in the 2019 Winter Semester, the course will serve as both a celebration of the ILO’s centenary and an opportunity to critically reflect on the transnational future of international labour law.
Featuring regular guest-lectures by leading scholars and practitioners in the emerging field of Transnational Labour Law, this course will provide a truly unique opportunity to learn about the International Labour Organization from the individuals that have both shaped the organization's past and will trace its future. In addition to the Faculty of Law's undergraduate and graduate students, the lectures will also be open to members of the public, who will be invited join in person or via webcast.
A little more about the ILO
Created under the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 as part of the League of Nations, the ILO has since become a specialized agency of the United Nations charged with the promotion of social justice and human and labour rights. Founded on the conviction that “universal and lasting peace can be established only if it is based upon social justice” (ILO Constitution, Preamble), the ILO has pursued the improvement of working conditions worldwide, largely – but not exclusively – through international labour standard setting and monitoring.
Those familiar with the history of the ILO will know that Canada holds a special place in the organization's history. In addition to being a founding member, the country also offered the ILO a wartime refuge from 1940 through 1948. During this period, the ILO was temporarily housed at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. It was during its time in Montreal that the ILO carefully prepared its post-war future and conceived approaches to international labour law which could accompany decolonization. This work led to the 1944 Declaration of Philadelphia, the ILO's constitutional annex, a declaration which Franklin D. Roosevelt referred to as “a landmark in world thinking”. It declared that:
• Labour is not a commodity;
• Freedom of expression and of association are essential to sustained progress;
• Poverty anywhere constitutes a danger to prosperity everywhere;
• All human beings, irrespective of race, creed, or sex, have the right to pursue both their material well-being and their spiritual development in conditions of freedom and dignity, of economic security and equal opportunity.
Considering the state of today's global environment, the ILO’s social justice objectives are every bit as relevant, urgent, and inspiring today as they were in 1944.
Attending the lectures
Information about upcoming guest-lectures and registration will be posted on our website and social media pages as it becomes available. Stay tuned!
Undergraduate and graduate students interested in enrolling in the course for credit should consult the Student Affairs Office's website for further information on course content and evaluations.
Support for this initiative
This initiative is funded by the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation and is the core component of Professor Adelle Blackett's Trudeau Fellowship project entitled "Canadian Contributions to Social Justice in the World of Work: Transnational Futures of International Labour Law." The objectives of Professor Blackett's Trudeau project are to celebrate the role that the International Labour Organization (ILO) has played in its first century, especially in its fostering of social justice in the world of work and its exploration of the challenges of the changing paradigm of work, as well as to convene leading stakeholders in Canada and abroad, from within the ILO and beyond, to lead high-level discussions and formulate recommendations on the role of transnational labour law in a globally interconnected world. Further information regarding Professor Blackett's project is available here.