Gold Medal: Katherine Lippel

Katherine Lippel

Gold Medal

Katherine Lippel

Faculty of Law

University of Ottawa

SSHRC provided me with funding to build an interdisciplinary team of researchers specialized in occupational health and safety and workers' compensation, on the one hand, and others whose work focused on the rights of people with disabilities. The team worked together over five years to develop research findings and to promote dialogue between communities. The work led to changes in policy and practice in Quebec, and has served as a model for interventions in other jurisdictions.


Katherine Lippel is a professor in the Civil Law Section of the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law, where she has held the Canada Research Chair in Occupational Health and Safety Law since 2006. Her research has significantly advanced knowledge about the effectiveness of occupational health and safety regulation.

Her interdisciplinary work has examined not only the classical legal application of legislation designed to prevent occupational injuries and compensate for work-related disabilities, but the therapeutic and antitherapeutic consequences regulatory frameworks have on workers. Her seminal work is a 2001 SSHRC-funded study showing the effects of different compensation systems when applied to people with disabilities. Her findings have been cited by scholars and policy-makers in Canada and around the world.

Throughout her distinguished career, Lippel has examined issues such as potential systemic discrimination based not only on disability, but also on gender, ethnicity and socio-economic status; employment challenges for geographically mobile workers; doctors’ roles in worker compensation systems; and policies needed to support precariously employed workers injured on the job.

Lippel is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. In addition to her scholarly research, frequently cited in decisions by the Supreme Court of Canada and the Quebec Court of Appeal, she has spoken at many international conferences and workshops.

Since beginning to teach law in 1978, Lippel has mentored thousands of students, many of whom have gone on to leadership roles in the legal profession around the world.

About the award

The annual Impact Awards recognize the highest achievements in SSHRC-funded research, knowledge mobilization and scholarship, as well as the highest achievements resulting from a SSHRC fellowship awarded.

SSHRC’s highest honour, the prestigious Gold Medal is given to individuals whose sustained leadership, dedication and originality of thought have inspired students and colleagues alike.