Join the Women’s Law Association of Ontario on June 12, 2019 at the Rosewater as we celebrate the 2019 President’s, Student and Young Lawyer Award recipients!
We are honoured to present the 2019 President’s Award to the Honourable Madam Justice Abella of the Supreme Court of Canada for her contribution to the legal community, commitment to the promotion of women in law, and advancement of equality and diversity in the legal profession.
Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada in 2004 and is the Senior Judge on the Court. She attended the University of Toronto (BA 1967, LLB 1970). She was called to the Ontario Bar in 1972 and practiced civil and criminal litigation until 1976, when she was appointed to the Ontario Family Court at the age of 29, the youngest and first pregnant person appointed to the judiciary in Canada. She later served on the Ontario Court of Appeal for 12 years. She chaired the Ontario Law Reform Commission and the Ontario Labour Relations Board. Justice Abella was the sole Commissioner and author of the 1984 Royal Commission on Equality in Employment, creating the term and concept of “employment equity.” She was the Boulton Visiting Professor at McGill Law School from 1988 to 1992, where she taught jurisprudence, administrative law, and constitutional law. She is a elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. She is a graduate of the Royal Conservatory of Music in classical piano, was a judge of the Giller Literary Prize, has written over 90 articles, and authored or co-edited four books on a variety of legal topics. Justice Abella chaired the Rhodes Selection Committee for Ontario and is a graduate of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Classical Piano. She has 39 honourary degrees.
She is married to Canadian historian Irving Abella: They have two sons, both lawyers. She is the first Jewish woman and the first refugee appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada.


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