Roy Adams

Professor Emeritus
Human Resources and Management
McMaster University 1280 Main Street West Hamilton, ON, Canada L8S 4M4

905-525-9140, x23965

Dr. Adams is a globally recognized expert in international and comparative industrial relations and international labour and human rights law. He has written extensively on public policy regarding labour issues, industrial relations theory and freedom of association as a human right.


  • M.A., Ph.D., Industrial Relations, University of Wisconsin
  • B.A. (summa cum laude) Pennsylvania State University

Selected Publications and Presentations

Recent Publications

Adams, Roy J., “Bringing Canada’s Wagner Act Regime into Compliance
with International Human Rights Law and the Charter,” Canadian Labour and Employment Law Journal (under review).

Adams, Roy J., “Constitutional Labour Rights in Canada, Farmworkers and the Fraser Case,”
Industrial Relations/Relations Industrielles, vol. 69, no. 2, Spring 2014.

Adams, Roy J., “Bewilderment and Beyond: Comment on Fraser vs. Ontario (Attorney General),”
Canadian Labour and Employment Law Journal, Vol. 16, No. 12, 2012, pp. 313-329.

Adams, Roy J., “The Right to Strike in Canada: Comment on a recent court decision in Saskatchewan,”
E-journal of International and Comparative Labour Studies, Vol. 1, No. 1-2, March-June, 2012, pp. 135-138.

Adams, Roy J., “Collective Bargaining as a Minimum Employment Standard,
Economic and Labour Relations Review, Vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 153-164, 2011.

Adams, Roy J., “Liberalism versus Civic Republicanism: Alan Bogg’s
The Democratic Aspects of Trade Union Recognition and its Implications for Canadian Labour Policy,”
Canadian Labour and Employment Law Journal, vol. 16, no. 1, 2011, pp. 155-168,

Adams, Roy J., “Prospects for Labour’s Right to Bargain Collectively After BC Health Services,”
UNB Law Journal, Vol. 59, pp. 85-94, 2009.

Adams, Roy J., “Fraser v. Ontario and international human rights,”
Canadian Labour and Employment Law Journal, 14 (3) 2008, pp. 377-392.

Adams, Roy J., “The Supreme Court, Collective Bargaining and International Law: A Reply
to Brian Langille,” Canadian Labour and Employment Law Journal, Vol. 14, no. 1, 2008, pp. 111-121.

Adams, Roy J., “From Statutory Right to Human Right: The Evolution and Current Status of Collective Bargaining,”
Just Labour, Volume 12, Spring 2008, pp. 48-67.

Professional Activities

Professional Activities and Honours

Professor Adams has authored or co-authored over 150 publications including seven books, thirty four book chapters, and more than 50 articles in peer-reviewed journals.

He has conducted research and lectured at universities around the world including Oxford (England), INSEAD (France), Tribhuvan (Nepal) and Thammasat (Thailand).

A past president of the Canadian Industrial Relations Association, Adams served as Canadian Pacific Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Toronto in 1990, Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Western Australia in 1996 and in 2009-2010 as Sallows Chair of Human Rights at the University of Saskatchewan’s Faculty of Law. In 1997 he received the Gérard Dion Award for outstanding contributions to knowledge of Canadian and international industrial relations and in 2015 was named a Fellow of the U.S.-based Labour and Employment Relations Association for his lifetime “contributions of unusual distinction to the field.” In 2016 Adams worked with the Canadian Industrial Relations Association to establish a Canadian Freedom of Association Award which will also be known as the Roy J. Adams Freedom of Association Award.

He has served on the editorial board of professional journals in several countries including the United States, England, Australia and Italy.

A consultant to international agencies such as the International Labour Organization, in 1997 Adams founded the Society for the Promotion of Human Rights in Employment whose mission is to promote awareness, understanding and respect for core labour rights as human rights.

In recent years his work on freedom of association has frequently been cited by the Supreme Court of Canada.

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