Professors Deckha and Parmar awarded SSHRC Insight grants

Congratulations to UVic Law Professors Pooja Parmar and Maneesha Deckha, who were both recipients of SSHRC Insight grants for their respective research. The awards were announced on July 17th, with UVic researchers receiving a total of $6 million dollars in SSHRC grants.

Professor Parmar received an Insight Development Grant for her project "Indigenous Laws as Sources of Ethical Lawyering and Professionalism in Canada." Her research will be conducted in collaboration with John Borrows and Sarah Morales and will focus on Indigenous legal traditions as sources of ethics and professional competence for legal professionals. The project will identify specific principles of ethical lawyering within Indigenous legal systems and assess ways of incorporating these principles in the existing codes of conduct for lawyers.

This project recognizes the plurality of Canada’s legal landscape and is premised on the idea that competence in the context of reconciliation includes not only training in Indigenous laws, but also training in ethics and professionalism that reflect Indigenous perspectives. One of the goals of this research is to create resources for training future lawyers. 

Professor Deckha received an Insight Grant for "The Rule of Law, Animal Vulnerability, and Animal Agriculture." The grant will fund her research from 2019-2023, and will examine the following:

Over 700 million farmed animals are raised for human consumption in Canadian land-based animal agriculture every year in conditions of extreme confinement and natural behaviour deprivation. Despite the extreme suffering that animals in farming experience from intensive farming methods, in Canada, this sector is largely able to govern itself in terms of how farmed animals are raised. The animal-based agriculture industry (i.e. meat, egg, and dairy farming) is mostly governed by non-enforceable industry codes for animal welfare, not law.

This research project asks whether this system of self regulation is illegal. Animals are vulnerable to the harms of agriculture due to their legal status as property. Do governments have an obligation to vulnerable animals in agriculture to mitigate the harms that flow from their legal status as property? Can government inaction to protect vulnerable animals be understood as violating the constitutional principle of the rule of law?

This project will examine Canadian and international court decisions and government discourse to see whether there is precedent that may persuade lawmakers in Canada to see government inaction in the face of extreme vulnerability as a violation of the rule of law.  Moreover, it will look at the extent to which courts and legislators have attempted to mitigate or bring awareness to the negative externalities of animal-based agriculture for farmed animals. Finally, it seeks to generate knowledge and advance theory about the rule of law and its application to vulnerable populations. This project is important because it assesses the legality of mainstream food production that touches the lives of all Canadians.