Social Justice in the Contemporary World of Work
“Universal and lasting peace can be established only if it is based upon social justice.” So declared the International Labour Organization’s 1919, post-war constitution. Almost a century later, the challenges involved in making social justice a reality are somewhat different, but no less daunting.
Consider the young women factory workers toiling in precarious buildings, producing brand-name shoes they can ill afford to buy—or temporary migrant workers in agriculture or domestic work, filling labour market “shortages” but risking expulsion if they protest poor working conditions. There are also countries whose laws may be contested at the World Trade Organization if they seek to ban the import and use of hazardous materials like asbestos to protect workers’ health.
These are the kinds of “decent work” challenges that Dr. Adelle Blackett, Canada Research Chair in Transnational Labour Law and Development, examines. She is particularly keen to explain how labour regulation in Canada is intricately linked with the world of world beyond. Her research emphasizes the intimate relationship between social and economic policy.
Blackett and her research team are exploring how legal institutions and international players may shape the quest for social justice in the world of work. They are leading research that explains why labour law in the contemporary, global economy must pay close attention to development and labour market informality.
Blackett’s research could lead to creative regulatory initiatives to help make social justice a reality for workers transnationally.