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Rosalie Silberman Abella was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada in 2004 after serving on the Ontario Court of Appeal for 12 years. She practised civil and criminal litigation until she was appointed to the Ontario Family Court in 1976. She subsequently chaired the Ontario Law Reform Commission and the Ontario Labour Relations Board. Justice Abella was the sole Commissioner and author of the 1984 Royal Commission on Equality in Employment, creating the term and concept of “employment equity” She was the Boulton Visiting Professor at McGill Law School from 1988-1992, teaching jurisprudence, administrative law, and constitutional law. She is a specially-elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as a graduate of the Royal Conservatory of Music in classical piano. She was a judge of the Giller Literary Prize, and has written over 90 articles and written or co-edited four books on a wide variety of legal topics. She has 35 honourary degrees.
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Justice Abella is married to Canadian historian Irving Abella and they have two sons, both lawyers.