Can't Get There from Here: Thoughts on the Idea of Labour Law Reform in the 21st Century | 2023 Sefton-Williams Memorial Lecture (HYBRID EVENT)

When and Where

Thursday, November 30, 2023 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm
Debates Room
Hart House
7 Hart House Cir, Toronto, ON M5S 3H3


David J. Doorey, Associate Professor, York University


Join us for our 2023 Sefton-Williams Memorial Lecture, Can't Get There from Here: Thoughts on the Idea of Labour Law Reform in the 21st Century, delivered by David J. Doorey, Associate Professor at York University, and a leading labour and employment law scholar in Canada. We will also present the Sefton-Williams Award for Contributions to Labour Relations to Deena Kumari Ladd, the Executive Director of the Workers' Action Centre, with a reception to follow.

This is a free, hybrid event and everyone is welcome to attend. Seating is limited, so ensure you RSVP early to attend in person. Alternatively, you can PDF iconlive-stream the event via Zoom.

Abstract | Private sector collective bargaining coverage in Canada has halved over the past 60 years, from a high of near 34% in 1961 to just 15% today.  Collective bargaining under the Canadian Wagner model that has governed since the 1940s is entirely out of reach for Canada’s most vulnerable workers. The age of the Wagner model is past. And yet, that model holds such a normative grip on Canadian labour law psyche that governments and the labour relations community alike struggle to imagine what comes next. Should we move on, and if so how? Every century develops its own labour laws and a quarter way into the 21st century, we remain tied to a World War II era legal relic. Recognizing this reality is the easy part. Deciding where to go next is the central labour policy question of our time.

The Sefton/Williams Memorial Lecture series presents topics of interest to scholars and practitioners of labour-management relations, and is jointly delivered by Woodsworth College and the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources at the University of Toronto.