Dr. Cecilia Benoit, of Mi’kmaw and European ancestry, holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Toronto. She is currently a Scientist at the Canadian Institute for Substance Research and Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Victoria, BC.
Over the past three decades, Dr. Benoit has pioneered academic inquiry on intersections of gender, class and Indigeneity. She conducted ground-breaking research showing the contributions of midwifery as a profession and to the care of pregnant women and families. Her research has identified structural barriers for urban Indigenous women and young people confronting stigmas linked to obesity and asthma, social inequities faced by street-involved youth transitioning to adulthood, complex life challenges confronting pregnant women, and determinants of social exclusion faced by sex workers.
Dr. Benoit holds numerous awards, including the Royal Society of Canada Ursula Franklin Award in Gender Studies, Paz Buttedahl Career Achievement Award from the Confederation of University Faculty Associations of BC, Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case, BC Community Achievement Award, Killam Prize for the Social Sciences and senior researcher CIHR Trailblazer Award in Population and Public Health Research. She has received fellowships from the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation, Royal Society of Canada and Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.
Benoit’s steadfast commitment to transforming our understanding of Canadians traditionally outside of social categories is evident in her work as expert witness for the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights examining Human Trafficking in Canada and as expert witness in the 2021 constitutional challenge of Canada’s prostitution criminal laws. Her work is highly valued nationally and internationally, and is reflected in her recent contributions as Associate Editor of five academic journals, Scientific Officer and Reviewer to CIHR, reviewer for SSHRC and the CRC program, and as academic advisor to the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada.