Juanita Westmoreland-Traoré

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Juanita Westmoreland-Traore, OQ (born March 10, 1942)[1] is the first appointed black judge in the history of Quebec.[2] She also holds the distinction of being the first black dean of a law school (the University of Windsor Faculty of Law) in Canada’s history.[2]

Westmoreland-Traoré, was born in Verdun, now part of Montreal, Quebec, in 1942, the daughter of immigrants from Guyana.[2][3] She studied at Marianopolis College, and subsequently obtatined a law degree from the Université de Montréal (1966) and a doctorate from the University of Paris.[1][2] She was called to the Quebec Bar in 1969,[3] and began practising law in 1970 with the law firm of Mergler, Melançon.[1][2] She has also been a member of the Ontario Bar since 1997.[3] During the 1970s, Westmoreland-Traoré taught at the Université de Montréal, and from 1976 to 1991 at the Université du Québec à Montréal.[3]

Westmoreland-Traoré was a member of the Office de protection des consommateurs du Québec from 1979 to 1983.[1] From 1983 to 1985, she was a Commissioner for the Canadian Human Rights Commission. In 1985, she became the first chair of Quebec's Conseil des communautés culturelles et de l’immigration.[2] From 1991 to 1995, she was Employment Equity Commissioner of Ontario.[3] From 1996 to 1999 she was the dean of the University of Windsor's law faculty.[2] She was appointed a Judge of the Court of Quebec for the District of Montreal in 1999.[3]

In 1991, she was made an Officer of the National Order of Quebec.[1] Westmoreland-Traoré has received other awards, including from Canadian Jewish Congress, the Montreal Association of Black Business Persons and Professionals, and the Canadian Bar Association.[3] In 2008, she was awarded the Quebec Human Rights Commission's Rights and Liberties Prize for her career-long fight against discrimination. [3]

In March 2013, Université du Québec à Montréal's Département des sciences juridiques founded the Juanita Westmoreland-Traoré scholarship.[4] The $3000 scholarship is to be awarded annually to a single undergraduate law student who uses their training to promote human rights, social justice and equality.[4] Sameer Zuberi, a human rights advocate of ten years, was the bursary's first recipient in April 2014.[5][6]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Juanita Westmoreland-Traoré". Secrétariat de l'Ordre national du Québec. Retrieved 16 February 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Juanita Westmoreland-Traoré". Black History Month- Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Retrieved 28 December 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Judge Westmoreland-Traoré to be honoured". The Montreal Gazette. November 13, 2008. Archived from the original on 9 November 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "Nouvelle bourse Juanita Westmoreland-Traoré". Actualités UQAM. Retrieved 10 June 2014. 
  5. ^ "Un boursier engagé". Actualités UQAM. Retrieved 10 June 2014. 
  6. ^ "L'engagement social récompensé". Journal Métro. Retrieved 10 June 2014.