Roland Penner of Winnipeg named winner of 2016 CBA SOGIC Ally Award

  • February 19, 2016

OTTAWA – The Canadian Bar Association (CBA) has announced that Roland Penner, OC, OM, Q.C. of Winnipeg, has won the 2016 Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Community (SOGIC) Ally Award.

Former politician, faculty member and Dean of the University of Manitoba Faculty of Law, and former chair of Legal Aid Manitoba among many other roles, Professor Penner is well known for his tireless efforts as an activist, author and community leader.

“A truly remarkable individual, Professor Penner’s career has spanned more than four decades. He has already made an outstanding contribution to our legal history and it is obvious that his influence will continue to be felt well into the future,” says Nicole Nussbaum, chair of SOGIC.

Nominated primarily for his work as Attorney General of Manitoba from 1981 to 1987, he introduced human rights legislation in Manitoba and championed the inclusion of sexual orientation as a prohibited ground of discrimination, despite an unwelcoming political and social climate. The Human Rights Code came into force in 1987.

“It is efforts such as his that have helped shape the legal and social acceptance that LGBTT people have today,” adds Nicole Nussbaum.

Throughout his career, Professor Penner has demonstrated a commitment to human rights and equality. He is a Senior Scholar at the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Law. He joined the faculty in 1968 as a professor where he taught criminal law, constitutional law, evidence, labour law and clinical law.

He served the government of Manitoba for six years where he was instrumental in the reorganization of the court system to include the Family Division of the Court of Queen’s Bench with its emphasis on mediation.

Author of three books, he is currently writing a biography of Hugh Amos Robson, founder of the Manitoba Law School in 1914.

The SOGIC Ally award is open to lawyers, professors, law students or retired judges who are not members of the LGBTT communities, who have advanced the cause of equality of the LGBTT communities through either a single important action or series of actions or through a career contribution.

Roland Penner will receive the award on Saturday, Feb. 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.