Sophie Thériault is an associate professor in the Civil Law section of the University of Ottawa, where she teaches primarily Aboriginal law, environmental law and constitutional law. She has a bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate of law from the Université Laval (LL.B. 2000; LL.M. 2004; LL.D. 2009). She has received many awards, including the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation scholarship, and served as guest researcher at the University of Washington in Seattle (2004-2005) and the University of Victoria (2005-2007). She was also a law clerk under Justice LeBel at the Supreme Court of Canada in 2002-2003.
Her research work, which has been widely published and funded by many research grants, focuses on the extractive industry and the rights of Aboriginal peoples, environmental justice and environmental laws, as well as the issue of food security for Aboriginal peoples.
In 2012, she won the Canadian Association of Law Teachers’ legal essay competition for an article on the environmental rights in Quebec’s Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, which she published in collaboration with Professor David Robitaille in the McGill Law Journal.
She has been called to the Quebec Bar, and she is a member of the Centre interuniversitaire d’études et de recherches autochtones (CIÉRA, Université Laval), the Centre for Environmental Law and Global Sustainability (University of Ottawa) and the Human Rights Research and Education Centre (University of Ottawa). She is also a member of the editorial board of the Canadian Journal of Law and Society.
Experience as a Trudeau scholar
My experience as a Trudeau scholar made a tremendous contribution to my doctoral research and university career. First of all, the Foundation gave me the opportunity to meet passionate researchers with an incredible store of experience and knowledge acquired through the lens of a wide variety of social science disciplines. Through the lasting relationships we established, I had the privilege of discussing my research with other members of the Trudeau Foundation and I encountered perspectives that were completely novel from the point of view of my own discipline. This opened the door for me to knowledge developed in the language of disciplines that rarely penetrate the walls of faculties of law. The funding I received through the Trudeau Foundation also allowed me to make research trips to aboriginal communities in Alaska. These journeys helped me discover the realities of the communities that live in the Arctic regions and expanded my doctoral research on the relationship between territorial rights and food security for the Inuit. The support of the Trudeau Foundation was also indispensable for my prolonged stays at the University of Washington in Seattle and at the University of Victoria, which greatly helped my entry to the vast research networks in Canada and the United States.