2020 Speaker and Panelists


Jo Littler


Jo Littler is a Professor in the Department of Sociology and Director of the Gender and Sexualities Research Centre at City, University of London, UK. Her work on in/equality and cultural politics is wide-ranging and includes Against Meritocracy: Culture, Power and Myths of Mobility (2018), Radical Consumption? Shopping for Change in Contemporary Culture (2008), and with Roshi Naidoo The Politics of Heritage: The legacies of ‘race’ (2005). She is a co-editor of the European Journal of Cultural Studies and part of the editorial collective of Soundings: A Journal of Politics and Culture. She is currently working on a book of interviews with left feminist academics and, as part of ‘The Care Collective’, The Care Manifesto (Verso, 2021).

Carl James


Carl James teaches in the Faculty of Education at York University, where he also holds the Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community & Diaspora, and currently serves as the university’s Affirmative Action, Equity & Inclusivity Officer. His scholarly interests include accessible schooling with a focus on the issues and concerns of marginalized and racialized communities using a framework of equity, inclusivity, and social justice. In his work, he explores how race, ethnicity, gender, class and immigrant status/citizenship intersect and mediate schooling opportunities and educational outcomes for racialized students. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, James holds a PhD in Sociology.

Rupa Banerjee


Rupa Banerjee is an Associate Professor in the Department of Human Resource Management and Organizational Behaviour at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University. Dr. Banerjee is interested in exploring the employment experiences of immigrants and racialized Canadians. She examines this issue both from the perspective of highly skilled immigrants and temporary foreign workers. Dr. Banerjee is motivated to understand the factors that pose barriers for immigrants and the potential avenues for them to overcome their disadvantage. To that end, she has undertaken a number of recent studies examining the labour market experiences of immigrants. Currently, Dr. Banerjee is working on a 5-year study, funded by a SSHRC Insight Grant, examining recent changes in skilled immigrant selection policy in order to uncover how these changes affect employers and newly arrived immigrants, and their ability to integrate into Canadian society. In another recent project, funded by the CIHR, Dr. Banerjee collaborated with the largest immigrant service provider in Toronto to develop a digital tool to improve integration for newcomers.

Wayne Lewchuk


Wayne Lewchuk is a founding member of the School of Labour Studies at McMaster University. He is a Professor Emeritus in the School of Labour Studies and Department of Economics. In 2011, he completed a project examining the health effects of precarious employment titled Working Without Commitments: Precarious Employment and Health. He was the co-director of a multi-year joint university community research program on Poverty and Employment Precarity in Southern Ontario (PEPSO). This was a joint initiative of the School of Labour Studies at McMaster University and United Way Greater Toronto. PEPSO released its first major report titled It’s More Than Poverty: Precarious Employment and Household Wellbeing in 2013. A 2018 report titled Getting Left Behind examined the effects of an improving labour market by gender and race. He also published in 2018 with Jeffrey Martin a report titled The Generation Effect which explores the experience of millennials in the labour market. These reports can be downloaded at www.pepso.ca. A collection of papers from the PEPSO project were published by Fernwood press in 2017 titled Precarious Employment: Causes, Consequences and Remedies. He is currently working on a report on the impact of the Basic Income Pilot in Hamilton. He holds a BA and MA in economics from the University of Toronto, and a Ph.D in economics from the University of Cambridge.

Trish Hennessy


Trish Hennessy is the Director of the Think Upstream project and Senior Communications Strategist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. She was the founding director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ (CCPA) Ontario office, which focuses on income inequality, decent work, and the role of government from a provincial and municipal perspective. She co-founded and directed the CCPA’s national project examining income inequality in Canada. She also co-founded the Ontario Living Wage Network. Trish is a former newspaper journalist, originally from Saskatchewan (RIP Moose Jaw Times Herald), but she now lives in Toronto. She has a B.A. Sociology from Queen’s University, B.S.W. from Carleton University, and M.A. in Sociology from OISE/University of Toronto.

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