- BOROVOY, A. ALAN
- BOROVOY, A. ALAN (1932– ), Canadian lawyer, human rights activist. Borovoy was born in Toronto, and educated at the University of Toronto, where in 1956 he completed a degree in law. Active in campus Jewish life, he was vice president of the Hillel Foundation and founding editor of its journal. He personally experienced the antisemitism that tarnished Canadian democracy during his childhood. Deeply committed to the struggle against antisemitism, Borovoy became convinced that "the best way to protect the Jewish people was to promote greater justice for all people." In 1959 he became director of the Toronto Labour Committee for Human Rights, established by the Jewish Labour Committee of Canada, and later of the Ontario Labour Committee for Human Rights and the Canadian Labour Congress's National Committee for Human Rights. He also participated in the Jewish community's Joint Community Relations Committee, the body that pioneered Canada's earliest human rights coalitions. In 1968 he joined the Canadian Civil Liberties Association as general counsel, serving as its chief spokesperson and earning a reputation as Canada's foremost champion of human rights and civil liberties. An eloquent speaker with an engaging sense of humor and abiding commitment to exposing injustices, he campaigned tirelessly for the "bedrock liberal principles" of freedom of expression, equality, and procedural fairness. He was prominent in exposing conditions on Native reserves, racial discrimination in employment and accommodations and battled to halt police misconduct, the involuntary treatment of psychiatric patients, religious instruction in public schools, invasion of personal privacy, and other abuses of authority and human rights. Abjuring violence or even civil disobedience, Borovoy designed, in his words, tactics "to raise hell without breaking the law." Through public rallies and marches, briefs and delegations dispatched to governments, appearances before public inquiries, and above all research and presentation of factual evidence documenting unfair practices, his efforts led to improved legal protections for all Canadians. He appeared regularly on television, wrote three books and numerous articles, and contributed columns to the Jewish Standard, the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, and other Canadian journals. He was visiting lecturer at Dalhousie, Windsor, York, and Toronto law schools and the Toronto Faculty of Social Work. He received honorary degrees from Queen's, York, Toronto, and the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Order of Canada (1982), the Lord Reading Society Human Rights Award (2003), and Carleton University's Kroeger Award for Ethics (2003). His book When Freedoms Collide was short-listed for the prestigious Governor General's Award in 1988. (James Walker (2nd ed.)
Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.