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WGS Research Seminar – Adelle Blackett

October 16, 2019 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Title:  Everyday Transgressions:  Domestic Workers’ Transnational Challenge to International Labour Law

In this book, Blackett tells the story behind the ILO’s 2011 Decent Work for Domestic Workers’ Convention No. 189, and its accompanying Recommendation No. 201 – they created the first comprehensive, international standards to extend protections and rights to domestic workers laboring in homes around the world.  As the principal legal architect of these instruments, Blackett takes us behind the scenes to show us how they transgress the everyday law of the household workplace to embrace domestic workers’ human rights claims to be workers like any other – and like no other.  She discusses the importance of historical forms of invisibility, recognizes the influence of the domestic workers themselves, and weaves in poignant experiences, infusing the discussion of laws and standards with a sense of intimacy and sophistication.  Looking to the future, she ponders how international institutions such as the ILO will address labour market informality alongside national and regional law reform.  Everyday Transgressions establishes that domestic workers’ victory is a victory for the ILO and for all who struggle for an inclusive, transnational vision of labour law.

Adelle Blackett is Professor of Law and Canada Research Chair in Transnational Labour Law and Development at the Faculty of Law, McGill University. She founded and directs the Labour Law and Development Research Laboratory.

Professor Blackett holds a B.A. in History from Queen’s University, civil law and common law degrees from McGill, and an LL.M. and a doctorate in law from Columbia University. She has edited or guest edited several volumes on Transnational Labour Law, with a focus on the global South.  Through teaching and research on slavery and the law and critical race theory, she has worked to bring a decolonial approach to the study of labour law.  Her book manuscript entitled Everyday Transgressions: Domestic Workers’ Transnational Challenge to International Labour Law (Cornell University Press) was published in Spring 2019.

A former official of the International Labour Office in Geneva, Professor Blackett has been an ILO expert on international standard setting on decent work for domestic workers (2008-2011) leading to the adoption of ILO Convention No. 189 and Recommendation No. 201; and in a labour law reform process in Haiti (2011-2014). In 2009, she was unanimously appointed by the National Assembly of Quebec to the province’s Human rights and youth rights Commission, where she served as a commissioner for seven (7) years.  In November 2018, she was appointed to the Human Rights Expert Panel of the Government of Canada’s renewed Court Challenges Program.  She was appointed to the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) Chapter 23 (Trade and Labour) Roster of experts in December 2018.

In 2010, Professor Blackett was awarded the Social Science and Humanities Research Council’s Bora Laskin National Fellowship in Human Rights Research, andin 2016 skhe became a fellow of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation.  Her project supported a bilingual, live webcast course with guest speakers from around the world, at McGill in Winter 2019, commemorating the ILO’s centenary. She was elected to the International Academy of Comparative Law in July 2019.

A member of the Law Society of Upper Canada and the Barreau du Québec, she was awarded the latter’s Christine Tourigny Award of Merit and the status of advocate emeritus in 2014, in recognition of her social commitment and her contributions to the advancement of women. In 2015, the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers awarded her its Pathfinder Award for her significant contributions to the legal community and the community at large.



October 16, 2019
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm


JHB 100A, Jackman Humanities Building
170 St. George Street
Toronto, Canada
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