Charles D. Gonthier Research Fellowship

About the Fellowship

Created in 2009 and named in honour of the late Mr. Justice Charles D. Gonthier of the Supreme Court of Canada, a former President of the Institute, The Charles D. Gonthier Research Fellowship of $7,500 is awarded annually to an academic selected by the jury who will present the best research on CIAJ’s annual conference topic. Each conference focuses on a specific aspect of the Institute’s themes: 

  • Justice as a humanistic and social value
  • Justice as a public service
  • Justice in a global economy and interdependent world 

Memorial Lecture : It is now time to register for the Charles D. Gonthier Memorial Lecture – 2nd Edition organized by the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL). The event will take place on Friday, June 23, 2017, in Montreal. Guest speakers : Ms. Irene Khan, Director General of the International Development Law Organization and Hon. Guy Canivet, Vice-Chair of the IOC Ethics Commission, former member of the Constitutional Council of France and former President of the Cour de Cassation.

To Apply

  • The fellowship competition is open to faculty and graduate students at Canadian universities.
  • In addition to submission of a completed research report, the Institute expects to receive a complete account of expenditures.
  • Applicants should complete the application form below and submit it by email to ciaj@ciaj-icaj.cano later than March 15, 2017.

The recipient of the Charles D. Gonthier Research Fellowship is encouraged to seek publication of the paper in a reputable scholarly publication and to indicate, in an introductory note, that financial support for the research was provided by the CIAJ.

Charles D. Gonthier Research Fellowship – Printable Details
Charles D. Gonthier Research Fellowship – Application Form
Press Release “Call for Applications” – Issued on November 16, 2016

Applicants are invited to research a subject related to the 2017 Annual Conference main theme:

Canada at 150: Cultural and Religious Diversity in the Administration of Justice

Since Confederation, there has been a transformation of Canadian society toward inclusiveness and equality. This has been a path of achievement and aspiration but not without conflict and controversy. Hence the topic proposed for the annual conference of CIAJ is diversity in the administration of justice in Canada. There is no feature of the administration of justice that has not been transformed to reflect the values of inclusiveness and diversity. This is evident in all aspects of private and public law. Public institutions and their mandates have been reformed to realise and strengthen these values. Perhaps no more conspicuous expression of this transformation can be found than in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The recognition and realisation of inclusiveness and equality in the administration of justice since Confederation has not always been progressive. Many examples can be given to demonstrate resistance or opposition, including the experience of aboriginal communities and the treatment of minorities during world conflicts. Notwithstanding waves of immigration in an increasingly globalised community, it cannot be claimed that the administration of justice in Canada has an unbroken history of respect and accommodation. These shortcomings cannot be ignored.

But there can be little doubt now of Canada’s commitment to inclusiveness and equality. This commitment is a companion to the recognition, entrenchment and application of rights since the latter half of the twentieth century. There are demonstrable effects of this commitment in the administration of justice and there are future effects that may be sought and anticipated.

For these reasons the aim of the annual conference in 2017 will be to present a critical appraisal of diversity in the administration of justice with a focus on cultural and religious diversity.

An overarching question in this theme is definitional. It is commonplace to speak of Canada as a multi-cultural or multi-ethnic society and these characteristics must figure in any consideration of diversity in the administration of justice. Diversity is an encompassing term that allows for multiple forms of social groupings but also multiple themes that cross between and among social groupings. Diversity is thus a preferable term with which to examine the manner in which public institutions serve (or fail) the interests of inclusiveness and equality in the administration of justice.

An important dimension of this appraisal will thus be the examination of the manner in which public institutions have evolved to advance values of inclusiveness and equality, including an assessment of their shortcomings. Another broad dimension will focus on substantive issues concerning complementarity and contradiction between values of diversity and equality.

It would also be possible to bring to the fore more contentious (even divisive) facets of the same theme. The current controversy around the wearing of a hijab/niqab/tchador/burqua at citizenship ceremonies, its sudden surge during the electoral campaign of 2015 and the Federal Court’s response to it are examples of how delicate matters involving facets of diversity are picked up in the public space. So are several other aspects of full-fledged diversity (the antinomy between fundamentalist proselytism and religious tolerance or freedom of conscience, the practices of polygamy or arranged marriages, creationism, dietary requirements, the implications of the State’s religious neutrality or secularism, etc.).

Administration of Funds

The funds are administered by CIAJ on behalf of the successful applicant and are available to support research assistance or other out-of-pocket expenses, but may not be used as an honorarium. It is expected that the completed research will be presented to the Institute’s annual meeting in October 2017 in Montreal.

The maximum amount of the Fellowship is $7,500. The selection of the project for the research fellowship will be made by a committee composed of the President of the CIAJ (or his/her nominee), the CIAJ Academic Advisor, one of the Co-Chairs of the Education and Research Planning Committee, and one other person selected by the Executive Committee.

2016 Recipients

Prof. Heather Heavin, Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Studies and Prof. Michaela Keet, Associate Professor, both of the University of Saskatchewan College of Law, are the co-recipients of the 2016 Charles D. Gonthier Research Fellowship. They have presented the results of their research project entitled “Risk Analysis: A Methodological Approach to Early Case Assessment in Litigation and Settlement” at the CIAJ Annual Conference on “Civil Justice and Economics: A Matter of Value,” which took place in Ottawa, October 5-7, 2016. Press release (PDF)


Prof. Heather Heavin
Associate Dean,
Research and Graduate Studies
University of Saskatchewan
College of Law


Prof. Michaela Keet
Associate Professor,
University of Saskatchewan
College of Law

All Research papers