PhD Candidate and Teaching Fellow, Queen's University, Ontario

Debra M Haak is a Teaching Fellow and PhD Candidate in the Faculty of Law at Queen's University in Kingston, Canada.

Debra researches at the intersection of public and private law. She spent two decades as a commercial litigator at Gowling WLG, one of Canada's largest law firms. During that time, she appeared regularly before all levels of court in Ontario on matters of corporate restructuring and insolvency. Debra's research now focusses on applying legal problem solving skills to intractable debates in contested policy spaces. Her PhD project offers insights into the debate over the role of criminal law in prostitution and sex work. In particular, she closely examines the nature of the debate itself and the problems reflected in it, as well as how Canada's existing liberal legal constitutional framework may constrain the range of potential solutions.


  • 2016–present
    Adjunct Professor/Visiting Scholar, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Canada
  • 2014–present
    PhD Candidate/Teaching Fellow, Queen's University, Canada
  • 1993–2016
    Partner/Associate, Gowling WLG


  • 1996 
    Law Society of Upper Canada, Called to the Ontario Bar
  • 1995 
    University of New Brunswick, LLB
  • 1993 
    University of St Andrews, MPhil
  • 1990 
    University of Western Ontario, BA (Hons)


  • 2019
    Re(de)fining Prostitution and Sex Work: Conceptual Clarity for Legal Thinking, Windsor Rev Legal Soc Issues (forthcoming)
  • 2017
    The Initial Test of Constitutional Validity: Identifying the Legislative Objectives of Canada's New Prostitution Laws, 50:3 UBC L Rev 657