Professor Jane Bailey of University of Ottawa receives 2015 CBA Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Law

  • February 19, 2016

OTTAWA - University of Ottawa Law Professor Jane Bailey is the recipient of the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) 2015 Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Law which recognizes outstanding contribution to the law or legal scholarship in Canada.

In the course of a career that has spanned more than two decades, Prof. Bailey has dedicated herself to fighting the spread of hatred and creating equality-enhancing environments in online spaces – especially for young women and vulnerable youth.

“Professor Bailey is a true innovator and leader who engages with law and technology primarily from an equality-seeking perspective, connecting previously disconnected areas of law and legal analysis,” says CBA President Janet Fuhrer, in announcing the winner.

“Her work has examined the impact of online hate propagation, child pornography, identity-based cyberbullying and the non-consensual distribution of intimate images on the privacy, equality and expressive rights of targeted groups and individuals,” adds Janet Fuhrer.

Prof. Bailey undertook the fight against hate propaganda in the late 1990s when she acted as co-counsel to the complainant in Canada’s first human rights tribunal proceeding against internet hate propagation in the case involving Holocaust-denier Ernst Zundel.

At the heart of the case was the question of how the existing Canadian Human Rights Act applied to the website Zundelsite. Following numerous legal proceedings, Ernst Zundel was ultimately deported to Germany and later imprisoned.

Author, researcher, innovative thinker, Prof. Bailey has penned more than 35 publications and Parliamentary submissions, and more than 100 conference presentations, blogs, workshops and readings. Her research has established her as the foremost thinker at the intersection of law, technology and equality and as Canada’s leading expert on cyber-harassment.

More recently, Prof. Bailey has been acclaimed for her contribution to “The eGirls Project,” which she co-led with Prof. Valerie Steeves. eGirls was a ground-breaking three-year initiative that investigated girls’ and young women’s experiences of privacy and equality in online social media.

The project gave voice to girls’ and young women’s perspectives about their online experiences, allowing them to contribute to policy and scholarly debates. Among other things, the results of the research led to the development of educational materials for teachers by eGirls Project partner MediaSmarts.

In 2015, building on the the eGirls Project, she and Prof Steeves undertook a seven-year initiative to explore young peoples’ experiences online, specifically looking at the targeting of vulnerable youth by advertisers. 

“Her work in these areas makes a significant contribution to legal scholarship in that it protects some of Canada’s most vulnerable groups while helping the legal framework adapt to the world of online technology,” adds Janet Fuhrer.

Before becoming a professor at University of Ottawa in 2002, Prof. Bailey completed her LL.M. at the University of Toronto. She was a co-recipient of the Howland Prize for outstanding performance in the LL.M. programme. She served as a law clerk to Mr. Justice John Sopinka at the Supreme Court of Canada. Before joining the Faculty of Law, she practised law in Toronto with Torys, where she was an associate in the litigation department. 

The Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Law was established in 1993 by then Governor General Ramon John Hnatyshyn to recognize outstanding contributions to the law or legal scholarship in Canada. It takes the form of an engraved medallion designed by the Governor General’s Office of Heraldry.

Prof. Bailey will receive the award on Saturday, Feb. 20 at 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.