In memoriam: Pierre Verge

On 7 February, at the age of 79, our colleague Pierre Verge passed away. He had dedicated his whole career to teaching and research at the Faculty of Law at Laval University.

Professor Verge studied law at the University of Toronto and Laval University. He received his doctorate from the latter. In addition, he held a Master’s Degree in Economics from McGill University and another in arts from the University of Cambridge. He started his career as a professor in the Faculty of Law at Laval University in 1967. He became a full professor in 1972. He was Dean of the Faculty of Law, president of the Canadian Association of Law Professors and a visiting professor at several universities in Canada and Europe.

In 1998, he was appointed member of the independent evaluation committee on the operation and efficiency of the North American Agreement on Labour Cooperation (NAALC). Queen’s Counsel, member of the Quebec bar association since 1961, Pierre Verge was a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

A long-term representative of Canada on the Executive Committee of the International Society for Labour and Social Security Law, he played a major role in it, organising a regional conference for the Americas in Montreal in May 1995. The list of issues covered (right to privacy in the field of labour law; the future of collective bargaining and new forms of employment; healthcare: private and/or public scheme?; regional economic integration from the perspective of labour law) shows the strong awareness Pierre Verge had of problems that were starting to arise in the labour field. With colleagues, he founded the Centre de recherche interuniversitaire sur la mondialisation du travail (CRIMT – Interuniversity Research Centre on Globalization and Work).

Our colleague published a lot, especially on collective labour relations and trade union institutions as well as the transformation and international aspects of labour. His last work, Configuration diversifiée de l’entreprise et droit du travail, written with Sophie Dufour, was published in 2003 and remains topical. Pierre Verge trained high-quality students who are following in his footsteps today. They took the initiative of producing a book Autonomie collective et droit du travail Mélanges en l’honneur du Professeur Pierre Verge (Québec, Presses de l’Université Laval, 2014), edited by Dominic Roux. He had just received it.

Pierre was a brilliant professor and researcher always on the lookout for new issues. He was a man of conviction, a good and kind man. Along with his wife, children and grandchildren, and academic communities in Quebec and Canada, there are many who will miss him.

Jean-Michel Servais