Ailsa M. Watkinson, BA, BEd, MEd, PhD

Professor Emerita


Research interests
Human rights including women and children's rights, fundamental freedoms, prisoner rights, anti oppressive praxis, globalization and Policy analysis.

Ailsa M. Watkinson received her Ph.D. in educational administration from the University of Saskatchewan in 1992. Her research was on the Courts' interpretation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the possible consequences of their interpretation on social policy and the decision-making role of administrators.

Ailsa is co-editor, along with two other University of Regina scholars, of a book entitled Contesting Fundamentalisms. She has co-edited two other books and is the author of Education, Student Rights and the Charter. Ailsa’s academic interests are in the area of human rights. She has published a number of journal articles which focus on child sexual abuse, corporal punishment, sexual harassment, employment equity, the Charter as policy advocate, religion and public services, globalization, women prisoners and the administration of equality rights.

Ailsa is a Board Member of the Saskatoon Sexual Assault and Information Centre. She was a long time Board Member of the Saskatchewan Elizabeth Fry Society and was the President of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies (CAEFS) for five years (2002-2007).  Ailsa was instrumental in instigating a systemic human rights investigation filed with the Canadian Human Rights Commission into the treatment of women prisoners.  The final reports, Protecting their rights: A systematic human rights investigation of human rights in correctional services for federally sentenced women can be found at and at

Ailsa Watkinson began the legal process of challenging the use of corporal punishment on children.  She argued that section 43 of the Criminal Code, which allows for the use of force to correct a child's behavior, discriminates against children on the basis of their age, violates their right to security and is cruel and unusual punishment and thus was a violation of their rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  The case was eventually heard by the Supreme Court of Canada.  They issued their decision on January 30, 2004 ruling in a 6-3 split decision that s. 43 does not violate the Charter rights of children (See Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth and the Law v. Canada) (2004) 1 S.C.R. 76 available at

Ailsa is the mother of three sons and a Professor with the Faculty of Social Work, University of Regina located on the Saskatoon Campus.

Recent Journal Articles and Book Chapters

  •  Watkinson, Ailsa M. (submitted). Childhood, human rights and corporal punishment in Canada.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
  •  Watkinson. Ailsa M. & Rock, Letnie (2016) Child physical punishment and international human rights: Implications for social work education. International Social Work, 59 (1), 86-98. DOI: 10.1177/0020872813503861                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
  •  Watkinson, Ailsa M. (2015). The second coming: Faith based organizations and public service delivery. Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work, 30 (4), 476-488. DOI: 10.1177/0886109915574578 pp. 1-13.                                                                                                    
  •  Watkinson, Ailsa M. (2012). Constructing the criminal: Deconstructing the crime. The International Journal of Human Rights, 16(3), 517-532. DOI:10.1080/13642987.2011.583765                                                                                                                 
  •  Watkinson, Ailsa M. (2009). Corporal punishment and education: Oh Canada! Spare us! In Michael Manley-Casimir (Ed.), The Courts, the Charter and the Schools: The Impact of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms on Educational Policy and Practice. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
  •  Watkinson, Ailsa M. (2009). Physical punishment in childhood: A human rights and child protection issue. In Sharon McKay, Don Fuchs and Ivan Brown (Eds.), Passion for Action in Child and Family Services: Voices from the Prairies. Regina: Canadian Plains Research Center, University of Regina.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
  •  Watkinson, Ailsa M. & Chalmers, Darlene (2008). Disability, professional unsuitability and the profession of social work: A case study. Social Work Education 27 (5), 504-518.

 Recent OpEds:

  • It’s time to eliminate separate school system in Saskatchewan” editorial published in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix and Regina Leader Post, August 22, 2016.


  • Dr. Letnie Rock & Dr. Ailsa M. Watkinson “Lashes not the way to go” opinion editorial published in The Nation Barbados, WI, March 2, 2015.                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
  • “Outlaw parents hitting children” opinion editorial published in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix November 21, 2014.                                                                                                                                                                                                           
  • “Uphold the spirit of Charter Rights” opinion editorial published in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix and the Regina Leader Post July 7, 2014.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
  • “Jailing non-violent women prisoners poor public policy” opinion editorial published in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix May 3, 2013 and the Regina Leader Post.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
  • “Canada’s Version of Arab Spring” opinion editorial published in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix and Regina Leader Post January 3, 2013.                                                                                                                                                                                       
  • “Commission changes weaken protection” opinion editorial published in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix and Regina Leader Post March 8, 2012.                                                                                                                                                                             
  • “The exploitation of women and children” Saskatchewan Association of Social Worker’s Newsletter, February 2012.                                                                                                                                                                                                             
  • “Omnibus bill’s results ominous” opinion editorial published in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix, September 2, 2011.                                                                                                                                                                                                               
  •  Alex Neve (Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada) and Ailsa Watkinson “Backward step in human rights” opinion editorial published in the Regina Leader Post March 18, 2011 and the Saskatoon Star Phoenix March 21, 2011.                                        
  • "Poverty ranks ahead of stadium" opinion editorial published in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix, October 22, 2010; “Stadium: Poverty is a bigger priority” opinion editorial published in the Regina Leader Post, October 29, 2010.                                                                                                                                                                                           
  • “Mandatory terms offer few benefits while hiking costs” opinion editorial published in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix, April 1, 2010.