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H. Carl Goldenberg

October 20, 1907 – July 22, 1996

Hyman Carl Goldenberg was a Canadian lawyer, arbitrator, mediator and senator, best known for his work as an arbitrator in major labour management disputes. Goldenberg was born in 1907 in Montreal, Que. At age 18, he travelled with his father Maurice to Ottawa to see Parliament—a visit that spurred on his interest in public affairs. Goldenberg received a master of arts degree in economics and political science in 1929, and a bachelor of civil law degree in 1932 from McGill University in Montreal.

Though called to the Quebec bar that same year, law did not hold Goldenberg for long. First, he became a lecturer in economics, then at age 30 he was given his first assignment as a royal commissioner on the municipal finances of Winnipeg, Man.

During the Second World War, Goldenberg served as director-general of the economics and statistics branch of the Department of Munitions and Supply. After the war, he served as impartial chairman and arbitrator in the Montreal garment industries, and as the Canadian Labour Congress’ impartial umpire of jurisdictional conflicts between unions.

Known for his fairness, Goldenberg served as mediator in labour-related conflicts throughout the country. Having established himself as well-respected in Government, academic and business communities, he was chosen as mediator for the Canadian Labour Congress, representing 2 million workers in 1956. Under his new role, Goldenberg advised at least six provinces on a variety of government and legislative matters. In the 1950s, he worked to settle shipping and construction strikes. In the 1960s, he mediated hotel and railway strikes, as well as a major Hydro dispute. In the 1970s, he defused a steel industry strike in Nova Scotia, a transit strike in Toronto, and a hospital staff strike in Newfoundland.

By the 1970s, in addition to being a respected mediator, Goldenberg had become recognized as an authority figure on municipal finance and constitutional law. Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau appointed him to the Senate in 1971 and Goldenberg served until his retirement in 1982. He was a constitutional adviser to three prime ministers: Trudeau, William Lyon Mackenzie King and Jean Chrétien, and he had participated in 20 Royal Commissions and led numerous boards and special inquiries. He was the chairman of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, and a member of the Senate-House of Commons committee on the Constitution of Canada, which at that point he co-chaired. Over the years, Goldenberg also found time to be active in the Canadian Jewish community and has been honoured for his significant contributions to Canadian public service.

Featured Photo: Carl Goldenberg, National Liberal Caucus Research Bureau [ca. 1977], Ottawa Jewish Archives, G-071
Clipping: Bennett, Paula and Ben. (1986, September 19). Jean Chrétien to Bestow Public Service Honour on H. Carl Goldenberg Ottawa Jewish Bulletin, p. 14.