Mary Cornish has devoted her career to advancing equality rights.  A human rights lawyer, she was a central figure in the Jane Doe case which exposed discriminatory police practices in Toronto and was a leading voice in the fight to create Ontario’s Pay Equity Act. She has devoted countless hours to the most important pay equity challenges of our time and has successfully obtained fair pay for hundreds of thousands of women workers. As the Chair of the comprehensive review of Ontario’s Human Rights Code, she was also called upon to craft the recent modernization of the province’s human rights system.
— Member, Order of Canada citation August 25, 2017

Ms. Cornish graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1974, and has blazed a trail of social justice success ever since. Her achievements as a scholar, lawyer and advocate are nationally and internationally renowned, especially in employment and labour law.

As Equal Pay Coalition co-founder and spokesperson, Ms. Cornish mobilized more than a million people from legal, union and community groups devoted to improving pay for women…

The court cases she has won on pay and employment equity have translated into real benefits for women in the workplace for generations to come. Her work has extended beyond our borders, informing the equal pay standards of other nations, and she has also been called to consult internationally with governments and organizations such as the World Bank, the International Labour Organization and the European Economic Community.

She has made a significant difference in the lives of the marginalized, particularly those with disabilities. She fights to implement practical changes in making the world around us more accessible. ……

Today, we recognize a human rights champion.
— York University Honorary Doctorate citation: October 14, 2015, excerpts