The University of Toronto alumna, who has served on Canada's Supreme Court since 2004, was the youngest and first pregnant person appointed to the judiciary in Canada. Born in a displaced persons camp in Stuttgart, Germany the year after the Second World War ended, her family came to Canada as refugees.
She received her bachelor's degree from U of T in 1967, followed by her law degree in 1970. She was one of just five women in her law class.
Her path-breaking work on the Supreme Court bench includes a decision she wrote in the 1990s striking down a tax-law provision barring people from leaving their pension benefits to a spouse of the same sex.
The Times quotes U.S. Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as saying she's “proud to count [Abella] among dearest sisters-in-law.”
Abella will receive the Rose Wolfe Distinguished Alumni Award on Oct. 2.