Mary Cornish

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Mary Cornish is a senior partner at the Canadian public interest law firm, Cavalluzzo Hayes Shilton McIntyre & Cornish. She "is recognized nationally and internationally as an expert in the field of human rights and labour law, gender equality, pay and employment equity, social protection, judicial reform and alternative dispute resolution. Mary joined the firm in 1994 as a senior partner after 18 years as the founding partner of Cornish Advocates. As a feminist labour lawyer, she continues to chair the Equal Pay Coalition, a broad-based civil society coalition which successfully lobbied for the implementation of Ontario's proactive pay equity laws. Mary has also argued many precedent setting cases which established important labour and human rights principles in Canada. This includes the successful 1997 SEIU Charter Challenge which restored the pay equity rights of over 100,000 Ontario public sector women and the CUPE et al Charter Challenge which obtained up to $414 million government funding for these restored rights. She also won for Jane Doe, a woman attacked by a serial rapist, the right to sue the Metropolitan Toronto police force and the recognition that the Charter applies to ensure police forces act in a non-discriminatory fashion. Certified as a labour law specialist by the Law Society, Mary represents trade unions and employees in many sectors.

"In addition to her domestic legal work, Mary is an international labour and human rights lawyer and past Chair of the Canadian Bar Association International Law Section. She provides strategic policy and consulting advice to international organizations, agencies and governments. This includes work: with the International Labour Organization in the area of pay equity, labour standards, and occupational health and safety, particularly for vulnerable workers; the New Zealand government on pay and employment equity standards and implementation; and the Swedish government and the European Economic Community on pay equity laws. She also acts as a Senior Consultant to the World Bank on justice reform, trade and gender equality and the legal empowerment of women in labour markets. She has also provided expert advice on pregnancy discrimination to NAALC Commission on Labour Co-operation.

"As a recognized expert in human rights reform, Mary headed the Ontario Human Rights Code Review Task Force. Its report, Achieving Equality which recommended transformative changes recently formed the basis for Ontario’s 2006 legislated human rights reforms. As Chair of the Society of Ontario Adjudicators and Regulators Service Equity Committee, Mary co-authored Towards Service Equity, which made recommendations to ensure non-discriminatory access to tribunals and regulatory bodies. She has also advised the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the World Bank in Guatemala and Mexico on innovative alternative dispute resolution mechanisms." [1] CV

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  1. Mary Cornish, accessed March 17, 2008.