Lisa Addario of Ottawa winner of the 2016 CBA Touchstone Award

  • February 19, 2016

OTTAWA – Lisa Addario, a senior legal counsel with the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) in Ottawa, is the winner of the Canadian Bar Association’s (CBA) 2016 Touchstone Award.

“Lisa Addario’s work with PSAC to advance gender equality and the rights of persons with disabilities on a national basis has had a widespread and lasting impact on the state of human rights in the workplace,” says Mark L. Berlin, chair of the CBA’s Equality Committee.

The Touchstone Award is presented annually to an individual who promotes equality in the legal profession, the judiciary, or the legal community in Canada.

“Lisa Addario’s efforts in litigating important equality issues, her work with the International Labour Organization, and her participation in the human rights certification program at Osgoode Hall are further examples of her commitment to equality rights in this country,” adds Mark Berlin.

Described as a trailblazer in advancing human rights, Lisa Addario has increased education and awareness around disability, family status, sexual violence and sexual harassment in the workplace at PSAC and in the broader labour movement. 

As a mentor, she has been an inspiration to others, by demonstrating and promoting empathy and respect for those facing challenges in their lives. “She fervently believes in what she does and given her modest nature, she has never hesitates to partner with others to achieve the best results,” adds Mark Berlin.

She is best known for her efforts in Johnstone v. Canada Border Services Agency, a landmark case on the accommodation of family obligations in the workplace. She successfully highlighted the real difficulties faced by workers seeking to find childcare that fits with difficult work schedules.

After being called to the Ontario Bar in 1988, she worked as a Crown Attorney, adjudicator for appeals of employment standards decisions, and equity researcher for the federal government. She joined PSAC in 2003 and is currently senior legal counsel. Since 2013 she has been an occasional lecturer and faculty member with the Human Rights Certificate program at Osgoode Hall Law School.

Lisa Addario will receive the Touchstone award on Saturday, February 20, at the Fairmont Château Laurier, during the CBA Mid-Winter Meeting of Council.

The CBA is dedicated to support for the rule of law, and improvement in the law and the administration of justice. Some 36,000 lawyers, notaries in Quebec, law teachers, and law students from across Canada are members.;