Kevin Banks, Law
Kevin Banks knows from personal experience that Canada needs a research centre for workplace law.
“From my time in the federal labour ministry before coming to Queen’s, I am well aware that there are a lot of new developments in this field but there is less and less research being done on these issues,” says Professor Banks, who will serve as the academic director of the Centre for Law in the Contemporary Workplace.
Professor Banks can’t pinpoint exactly why labour and employment law has faded in public profile in recent years. However, as the Canadian workplace evolves because of globalization, shifting workforce demographics, and the judges’ interpretations of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, more attention must be paid to the field.
“That process of renewal really needs to happen and if we can take some leadership in that regard, that will be very satisfying,” he says.
Building a research centre involves a lot of work and planning, but Professor Banks is excited by the opportunity. He will guide the strategic direction of the centre and shape the research agenda in consultation with the advisory committee. And as the face of the centre, Professor Banks will assist in the fundraising effort to ensure its long-term viability.
Since the centre received provisional approval in September, Professor Banks has been hard at work helping the centre realize its immense potential.
“We want to create a research network that reaches other faculties at Queen’s and universities across Canada,” he says. “The goal is not only to strengthen the capacity of the research community, but also to build a national and international community of interest and scholars.”
Judging by the positive response so far from the legal community, the centre is well on its way to training the next generation of labour and employment lawyers and scholars. The honorary chair of the advisory committee is Warren Winkler, chief justice of the Ontario Court of Appeal. Respected members of the practicing bar and government policy makers have also volunteered for the committee.