Barbara Jackman’s legal career has centered on championing the rights of the less fortunate, particularly those of immigrants and refugees.
She earned an undergraduate degree at the University of Windsor in 1972 before completing her law degree at the University of Toronto in 1976 and being called to the Bar in 1978. She has had a successful career as a litigator, including as counsel in cases involving immigration and refugee issues that have appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada.
As a lecturer at several Ontario law faculties, including those of Queen’s University, the University of Toronto, and Osgoode Hall at York University, she has contributed significantly to legal education, in addition to authoring various papers and articles, and contributing to four books. She has also very actively contributed to the professional development of members of the Canadian Bar Association and the Law Society of Upper Canada, and has helped shape the law practices of her peers on issues related to migration, national security, and domestic and international human rights.
Moreover, she has put these ideals into practice by exercising leadership in several national associations concerned with human rights, including the Immigration Section of the Canadian Bar Association and Defence for Children International. Her engagement in such issues has crossed national borders, and led her to become a delegate in the Trans-Atlantic Legal Exchange on Refugee Law from 1986 to 1987 and on the Northern Ireland Peace Process Fact-Finding Mission in 1995.
These efforts on behalf of human rights for non-citizens have not gone unnoticed, and have earned her several awards, ranging from The Vince Kelly Award from the Centre for Refugee Studies at York University in 1993, to the Law Society Medal in 2003, to the Law Union of Ontario Annual Award in 2013.