Labour rights activist and scholar Winnie Ng has joined Ryerson University as the CAW-Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice and Democracy. The CAW-Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice and Democracy is the first union-endowed chair at a Canadian university.
In her role, Ng will build upon the work of inaugural chair Judy Rebick, a well-known journalist, author and activist who was first appointed in 2002. The chair’s mandate is to create a hub of interaction between social justice activists and academics at Ryerson. It is a cross appointment between the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Community Services, and Ng will begin her three-year term in January 2011.
“Winnie’s reputation for building broad alliances across different sectors and sites of social justice will serve her well in this role,” said Usha George, dean, Faculty of Community Services. “Her contacts and networks are a real asset to Ryerson, and we anticipate students benefitting from meaningful interaction with external stakeholders in the social justice arena.”
“Winnie was selected not only for her extensive experience in the social justice field but for her research interests in anti-racism, equality, and coalition and capacity building,” said Mark Lovewell, interim dean, Faculty of Arts. “Winnie will be well positioned to direct the chair’s mandate.”
For over three decades, Ng has championed the rights of workers through her involvement with various labour organizations and networks. She is currently the acting executive assistant to the president of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council. Prior to that, Ng was the acting executive director of the Labour Education Centre, and for eight years, she was the Canadian Labour Congress’ Ontario regional director. She is the labour co-chair of Good Jobs for All Coalition, an executive member of the Asian Canadian Labour Alliance and a board member of Labour Community Services.
Recognized for her leadership in the Canadian labour movement, Ng is the recipient of numerous distinctions including the Urban Alliance on Race Relations’ Leadership Award, the United Farm Workers’ Cesar Chavez Black Eagle Award and the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award. She is a sought-after speaker and contributor on women’s rights, labour equity and anti-racism issues.
Ng holds a MA and PhD from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. Her doctoral studies focused on re-imagining the labour movement from an anti-racism perspective. She graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor of Sociology.
The CAW-Sam Gindin Chair was launched in 2002 and is made possible with a significant leadership gift from the Canadian Auto Workers union. It is named in honour of Sam Gindin, an economist and activist who was the assistant to the first CAW president, Bob White, and past president, Buzz Hargrove, who is a distinguished visiting professor at Ryerson’s Ted Rogers School of Management.