Peter A Allard School of Law

Janis Sarra

Professor Emeritus
B.A., M.A., LL.B., LL.M., S.J.D. (Toronto)


Dr. Janis Sarra served as UBC Presidential Distinguished Professor from 2014 to 2019, an appointment by the President to recognize a faculty member that has made outstanding contributions as a scholar and academic leader. Prior to this appointment, Dr. Sarra served as Director of the Wall Institute for Advanced Studies at UBC. Dr. Sarra is Professor of Law at the Peter A. Allard School of Law and founding Director of the National Centre for Business Law. She served as Associate Dean of the Allard School of Law until 2007, with oversight of development, strategic planning, alumni relations and communications. Dr. Sarra is the Principal Co-investigator of the Canada Climate Law Initiative, a research collaboration between UBC and York University and is Canadian investigator of the Commonwealth Climate and Law Initiative at Oxford University.

Dr. Sarra’s research and teaching interests are in the areas of corporate finance,  climate-related financial risk and corporate governance, banking law, securities law, contracts, commercial insolvency law and law and economics. In 2004, she was awarded the title of Distinguished University Scholar for her scholarship in corporate and securities law.  She has published ten books and more than one hundred refereed articles in climate governance, corporate finance, corporate governance and management, securities law and commercial insolvency law. 

Dr. Sarra also served as Senator of the University of British Columbia from 2003 to 2008. She is a board member of the International Insolvency Institute and a director of Assuris. She was previously Director of the Canadian Insolvency Foundation,  a director of the Canadian Insolvency and Restructuring Professionals Association and on the board of the British Columbia Law Institute.  For more than twelve years, Dr. Sarra served as a commercial arbitrator and labour mediator/arbitrator.  Dr. Sarra previously served as Vice-Chair of the Ontario Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal, as well as Vice-Chair of the Canadian Social Assistance Review Board. She holds five degrees from the University of Toronto in Political Science, Economics and Law.  She pre. Iviously taught at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and the Ryerson University School of Business. Former posts also include Board Member, Ontario Labour Relations Board, Senior Research Associate Ontario Legislative Assembly and Executive Assistant, Metropolitan Toronto Municipal Council, and Research Associate, Health Advocacy Unit.

Dr. Sarra’s contributions to public policy development include: member of the Canadian delegation of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Working Group V, 2008-2020, Vienna and New York; World Bank Insolvency and Creditors Rights Task Force, Working Group on Insolvency of Non-Bank Financial Institutions, 2009, Washington, DC; Experts Committee, Expert Witness, Senate Committee on Banking Trade and Commerce, Review of Insolvency Legislation, February, 2008, Ottawa; Member, Ontario Attorney General's Interministerial Task Force on Administrative Tribunals.

Recent books include From Ideas to Action: Governance Paths to Net Zero (forthcoming Oxford University Press, 2020); Predatory Lending and the Destruction of the African-American Dream, with Cheryl Wade (Cambridge University Press, 2020); Rescue! (Carswell Thompson, 2014); The 2020 Annotated Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, (Carswell Thomson, 2020); Securities Law in Canada, Cases and Commentary, with M. Condon, A. Anand and S. Bradley (Emond Montgomery, 2017); Director and Officer Liability in Corporate Insolvency, with R.B. Davis (Butterworths, 2010); The Treatment of Employee Wage and Pension Claims in Insolvency, A Comparative Study of 62 Jurisdictions (Thomson Reuters, 2008), Business Organizations: Principles, Policy and Practice (Emond Montgomery, 2008), with R. Yalden et al; Creditor Rights and the Public Interest, Restructuring Corporations (University of Toronto Press, 2003). Dr. Sarra was editor and contributing author of An Exploration of Fairness: Interdisciplinary Inquiries in Law, Science and the Humanities (Carswell, 2013) and A Voice for Many (2012). She served as Editor in Chief of the Annual Review of Insolvency Law, Canada’s leading refereed annual volume of insolvency law theory, policy and practice for 16 years; and was editor in chief and contributing author of Corporate Governance in Global Capital Markets (UBC Press, 2003). 

Recent Webinars

Virtual Colloquium on Resolution of Financially Distressed Financial Institutions

Time for Hope: Developing Innovative Ideas for Moving to a Net Zero Carbon Economy

Book Launch and Panel Discussion


  • Policy-making for the 99%: A Modular Approach to MSME Insolvency, with R. Davis, S. Madaus, A. Mazzoni, I. Mevorach, R. Mokal, B. Romaine and I. Tirado (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2018).
  • Fiduciary Obligations in Business and Investment: Implications of Climate Change (Oxford CCLI, 2018).
  • Time to Act: Response to Questions Posed by the Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance on Fiduciary Obligation and Effective Climate-Related Financial Disclosures, with C. Williams (CCLI 2019).
  • “Bad Moon Rising – New Dawn Ahead? Climate Change and Solvency Risk”, Annual Review of Insolvency Law 2019, J. Corraini and B. Nixon, eds (Toronto: Carswell, 2020), 277-243.
  • “Crypto-claimants and Bitcoin Bankruptcy: Challenges for Recognition and Realization”, with L. Gullifer, 2019  28 International Insolvency Review, UK 233.
  • “The European Commission’s Proposals for Distressed Financing”,  with J. Payne, in J. Grant, ed, The Rise of Preventive Restructuring Schemes: Challenges and Opportunities, (Paris, Academic Forum Press, 2019).
  • “The Anthropocene in the Time of Trump, Financial Markets, Climate Change Risk and Economic Vulnerability”, (2018) 51:2 UBC Law Review 489.
  • “Flotsam, Financing and Flotation: Is Canada “Resolution Ready” for Insurance Company Insolvency?”, Annual Review of Insolvency Law 2018 (Toronto: Carswell, 2019) at 973-1068. Also in French, “Épaves, financement et flottement : le Canada est-il prêt pour la résolution des sociétés d’assurance insolvables?, Annual Review of Insolvency Law 2018 (Toronto: Carswell, 2019) at 1069-1180.
  • “Tripping the Light Fantastic: A comparative analysis of the European Commission’s proposals for new and interim financing of insolvent businesses”, with J. Payne, 2018 International Insolvency Review, London UK 1-45.
  • Changing Our Worlds: Art as Transformative Practice, co-editor with M. LeBaron, and co-authored with M. LeBaron, K. Berman, K. Magak, F. Meintjies, (South Africa: Sun Press, Stellenbosch University, 2018).
  • “A Bridge Over Troubled Waters — Resolving Bank Financial Distress in Canada”, Annual Review of Insolvency Law 2017 (Toronto: Carswell, 2018) at 255-341.
  • “The Oscillating Pendulum: Canada’s Sesquicentennial and Finding the Equilibrium for Insolvency Law”, Annual Review of Insolvency Law 2016 (Toronto: Carswell, 2017) at 9 – 35.
  • “An Opportune Moment — Retooling the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act to Address Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) Insolvency in Canada”, Annual Review of Insolvency Law 2016 (Toronto: Carswell, 2017) at 1193 -1303.
  • « Rectifier la trajectoire - L’équité, les marchés financiers et l’adaptation au changement climatique », in Bruylant, ed, (2017) Revue internationale des services financiers 44-55.
  • « Assumer notre responsabilité financière en matière de changement climatique » in A. Supiot, ed Prendre la responsabilité au sérieux", (Paris : Presse Universitaires de France, 2015) 223-248.
  • “La bonne foi est une considération de base - Requiring Nothing Less than Good Faith in Insolvency Law Proceedings”, in Annual Review of Insolvency Law 2014 (Toronto: Carswell, 2015), 145-186.
  • “Bank Groups and Financial Conglomerates, Retooling Resolution Regimes”, in Ann Wardop. Ed., Banking and Finance: Perspectives on Law and Regulation”, 7-50 (Federation Press, Australia, 2014).
  • “Imhotep’s Ingenuity, Developing Canada’s Capacity to Address Corporate Group Insolvency”, in Annual Review of Insolvency Law 2013 (Toronto: Carswell, 2014) at 193-232.
  • Externalities in Financial Decision Making” in J. Nofsinger, and H.K. Baker, eds., Socially Responsible Finance and Investing, (London: J. Wiley, 2013).
  • “Of Paramount Importance: Interpreting the Landscape of Insolvency and Environmental Law”, in Annual Review of Insolvency Law 2012 (Toronto: Carswell, 2013) at 453-508.
  • “Reflections on a Decade of Financing Insolvency Restructurings”, in Annual Review of Insolvency Law 2012 (Toronto: Carswell, 2013) at 59-82.



Publications listed on the Law Library Faculty Research Publications Database.

Op Ed Articles

“Climate Change isn’t Pausing for the Pandemic”, Canadian Underwriter, 7 May 2020  (1000 words),

“Ontario court’s decision on pollution pricing act clears skies for business, markets”, The Globe and Mail Newspaper Report on Business, 1 July 2019, (802 words),

“Businesses want certainty on carbon pricing – not constitutional challenges”, The Globe and Mail Newspaper Report on Business, 14 April 2019, (860 words),

“Why the Supreme Court put provincial regulators first in the Redwater oil wells case”, The Globe and Mail Newspaper, 1 February 2019,

“Securities regulators need a bolder approach to climate change”, The Globe and Mail Newspaper, 12 April 2018,

“Institutional investors must lead our transition to long-term sustainability”, The Globe and Mail Newspaper, 2 April 2016;

“Canada must finance economic strategies, solutions to climate threat”, The Globe and Mail Newspaper, 13 October 2015,

“The Nortel judgments were fair. Uncontrolled legal costs are not”, The Globe and Mail Newspaper, 15 May 2105,


janis profile

Organization Affiliations

  • Centre for Business Law
  • Centre for Feminist Legal Studies
  • Centre for Law and the Environment

Research Interests

  • Banking and finance law
  • Business, corporate and commercial law
  • Contract law
  • Environmental law, natural resources, and climate change

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