The Unifor Public Review Board is pleased to announce that Sukanya Pillay has been appointed as its Chairperson. Ms. Pillay succeeds the late A. Alan Borovoy as only the second person to hold this position in Canada. Ms. Pillay is also the General Counsel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and Executive Director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Education Trust.
In this role, Sukanya directs all aspects of the organization’s advocacy, policy, and public engagement strategy to further advance CCLA’s demonstrated track-record of protecting rights, liberty, and justice for all persons in Canada.
Sukanya has over twenty year’s critical legal experience in both the public and private sectors. She is a lawyer with three degrees including an LL.M in international legal studies from New York University School of Law (1993-1994) where she also served as a graduate editor of the New York Journal of International Law and Politics. She has worked as a law professor at Windsor from 2002-2008, where she published consistently in peer reviewed journals in Canada and the US and won the Holmes Cardozo Award for outstanding conference paper from the American Academy of Legal Studies in Business on genetic privacy in the workplace, a Research Award from the University of Windsor for her documentary film on the impact of NAFTA on Oaxacan corn farmers and the right to food, and an award of Outstanding Faculty Member from the Students Law Society of the University of Windsor Faculty of Law.
She has previously worked as in-house counsel for a multinational telecommunications corporation in South Asia (2000-2002), and as a lawyer at international NGOs in New York and London (1995-2000). In particular, Sukanya led from 1995-1998, the newly formed WITNESS program of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (today, Human Rights First), the Reebok Foundation, and musical artist Peter Gabriel, and advanced the use of video evidence in human rights protection.
Ms. Pillay clerked for the Ontario Court of Justice in 1994-1995, and was seconded by Justice Robert Blair to work on the First Civil Justice Review. She articled at Borden Elliot (1990-1992), today Borden Ladner Gervais, and worked thereafter with a group of former BLG lawyers at Davies Partners. She was called to the Bar in 1992 and is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada.
Her work has focused on international human rights law including the intersections of business, trade and development, with a particular focus on redress and access to justice for vulnerable or affected populations. She has made dozens of missions to conflict zones to interview victims of human rights abuses, to gather video evidence, and to advocate with governments for rights protections throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and the Americas
Sukanya has given guest lectures at universities and law schools including Harvard, Cardozo, Fordham, University of British Columbia, the University of Windsor, and the American University in Cairo, and taught International Business Transactions at Herstmonceux Castle for Queen’s Law School. She is currently affiliated as a Faculty Member of the Kirsch Institute, where she participated in November 2014 in a panel on secret evidence.
In November 2013, Sukanya received the President’s Award from the South Asian Bar Association of Ontario.