Harry Arthurs to receive Bora Laskin Award

Harry Arthurs, professor of law and political studies at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, former York University president and recipient of several prestigious awards, is about to be honoured with another award.

Today, Arthurs will be presented with the University of Toronto’s Bora Laskin Award for distinguished contributions to labour law. In his current research, Arthurs is examining the developing role of labour law in a globalized world.

The award will be presented by Justice John Laskin of the Ontario Court of Appeal at a dinner that will take place at the Sutton Place Hotel as part of the Conference on Canadian Labour Boards: Law and Practice.

Following the presentation of the award, there will be a keynote address by the Honourable Bob Rae, former Premier of Ontario.

The following excerpt about Arthurs was carried on the Osgoode Hall Law School Web site when he was presented with the 2002 Killam Prize.

Last year, Arthurs was one of five prominent Canadian scholars to be honoured with the 2002 Killam Prize, Canada’s most distinguished annual awards for outstanding career achievement in social sciences, humanities, engineering, natural sciences and health sciences.

One of Canada’s most distinguished lawyers, educators and legal scholars, Arthurs is principal author of the influential Law and Learning, a report on legal research and education in Canada. He is internationally recognized as the foremost figure in Canadian legal scholarship. He pioneered research into the relationship between law and society, and his work in labour and administrative law has had a significant influence on Canadian policy-makers.

Arthurs earned law degrees at the University of Toronto and Harvard University and was called to the bar in 1961. He immediately joined the faculty of Osgoode Hall Law School, where he served as dean from 1972-1977. He served as president of York University from 1985 to 1992. In 1995, he was appointed University Professor of Law and Political Science.

Known as an academic innovator, his most important book, Without the Law, was a study of administrative justice and legal pluralism in 19th-century England. He has also written and co-written five monographs, published some 90 scholarly articles in Canadian and foreign journals, edited or co-edited numerous collections, casebooks, conference proceedings and reports, and delivered scores of lectures, conference papers and presentations to academic, public, government and professional audiences.

In addition to his university career and his work as a labour mediator, arbitrator, policy adviser and administrator, Arthurs has been extensively involved in professional and public issues. For instance, he has served as a member of the Economic Council of Canada, bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada, president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and director of the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development.

Arthurs has been an academic visitor at McGill University, University of Toronto, Cambridge University, Oxford University and University College London, a 1984 Killam Research Fellow and an associate of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research from 1995 to 1998.

Holding five honorary degrees, Arthurs is an Officer of the Order of Canada, a member of the Order of Ontario and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Bora Laskin (left), after whom the award is named, died in 1984. In the 1930s Laskin was called to the Bar, and began his legal career writing headnotes for The Canadian Abridgement. In 1940 he embarked on a teaching career that spanned 25 years. He was the author of many legal texts, including Canadian Constitutional Law, and was associate editor of Dominion Law Reports and Canadian Criminal Cases for 23 years. Laskin was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada in1970 and was named Chief Justice of Canada in 1973. He served on the Supreme Court for 14 years.