Constance Backhouse is a Distinguished University Professor and University Research Chair at the Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa. She is internationally known for her feminist research and publications on sex discrimination and the legal history of gender and race in Canada. Her most recent books and articles, such as Carnal Crimes: Sexual Assault Law in Canada, 1900-1975, profile the fascinating ways in which women and racialized communities have struggled to obtain justice within the legal system.
Professor Backhouse is a graduate of the University of Manitoba, Osgoode Hall Law School, and Harvard University. She became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2004. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honours: an honorary doctorate (2002) and law society medal (1998) from the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Bora Laskin Human Rights Fellowship (1999), the Joseph Brant Award for multicultural history (2002), the Willard Hurst Prize in legal history (1992), the Gustavus Myers award for books about human rights (1993), and research and teaching awards at the University of Ottawa. In 1981, she received the Augusta Stowe-Gullen Medal for her activist work. In 2006, she was nominated a Trudeau Fellow and in 2008, she received the Killam Prize and was named to the Order of Canada. In 2007, she was elected as the President of the American Society for Legal History.
Professor Backhouse served as an adjudicator for the compensation claims arising from the physical, sexual and psychological abuse of the former inmates of the Grandview Training Schoolfor Girls (1995-1998), and continues to adjudicate compensation claims for the former students of Aboriginal residential schools across Canada. She has served as an expert witness and consultant on various aspects of sexual abuse and violence against women and children. She is a member of the board of directors for the Claire L'Heureux-Dubé Fund for Social Justice and the Women's Education and Research Foundation.