SFU School of Public Policy welcomes new Director, Professor Genevieve LeBaron


In January, Simon Fraser University’s School of Public Policy (SPP) welcomed Professor Genevieve LeBaron as its new director.

She joins SFU from the University of Sheffield, where she was Professor of Politics and served as Director of the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI).

LeBaron is an internationally recognized expert on global supply chains, public policy, and labour and human rights. She is especially known for her research on the business of forced labour and the effectiveness of government and industry efforts to combat it. This research has attracted over $5 million in grant funding including from SSHRC, ESRC, Ford Foundation, British Academy, and Leverhulme Trust, as well as several awards and prizes. She was elected to the College of the Royal Society of Canada in 2020 and has served as an editor for Review of International Political Economy.

LeBaron’s latest books are “Combatting Modern Slavery: Why Labour Governance is Failing and What We Can Do About It” (Polity Press, 2020, Winner of the Academy of Management SIM Division’s Best Book Prize) and “Fighting Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking: History and Contemporary Policy” (Cambridge University Press, 2021, co-edited with David W. Blight and Jessica Pliley).

Over the last decade, LeBaron has worked closely with governments, United Nations agencies global companies and worker organizations to build policies aimed at preventing forced labour in business. She currently serves on the U.K. Parliament’s Modern Slavery and the Supply Chain Advisory committee, is supporting Canadian parliamentarians developing legislation on modern slavery and supply chains, and has been an expert witness before the United States Congress.

She is co-founder and principal investigator of Re:Structure Lab, a research and policy lab that reimagines supply chains to be more equitable and fair. The Lab involves researchers from Stanford, Yale, and SFU, and will create new opportunities for SFU faculty and students with interests in labour and business and human rights. Over the past year, Re:Structure Lab has released five issue briefs that identify key trends and patterns that lead to forced labour accompanied by evidence-based recommendations to address them.

LeBaron’s teaching areas include corporate social responsibility, global political economy, business and human rights, qualitative research methods, and the relationship between social movements and political change.

LeBaron’s collaborative approach to leadership will help SPP continue and expand its mission of creating high-impact scholarship through rigorous research on public policy and move that work forward through engagement with the public, advocacy organizations and policymakers who implement change.

"In a world rocketing towards 8 billion people—and challenged by overlapping and complex crises including climate change, a global pandemic, and rising economic inequality— the role of public policy is essential in determining people’s life chances. Public policy can either address and ameliorate inequities and exclusion, or it can reinforce and deepen these. Now more than ever, we need institutions like the School of Public Policy to equip leaders with the research and practical skills to shape policy in the public interest.  I am deeply honoured to serve as its director and look forward to connecting and collaborating with colleagues and students across SFU and beyond who share our mission.” 

Read more on Professor LeBaron’s website and follow her on Twitter: @glebaron.