Debra Steger is a professor (ret.) at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, where she teaches and conducts research in the areas of international trade and investment, governance of international organizations and dispute settlement.
She received her B.A. from the University of British Columbia, her LL.B. from the University of Victoria, and her LL.M. from the University of Michigan. Debra is the founder and leader of the EDGE Network global economic governance projects, including a project on institutional reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO). One of the architects of the WTO as a senior negotiator for Canada during the Uruguay Round, Debra was the founding director and first chief legal adviser to the WTO Appellate Body from 1995 to 2001. As general counsel to the Canadian International Trade Tribunal during the implementation of the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement (CUSFTA), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, she helped craft dispute settlement procedures and argued the historic first cases before binational panels under the CUSFTA and the NAFTA.
A frequent writer and commentator, Debra is the editor of the five-volume collection The World Trade Organization: Critical Perspectives on the World Economy (Routledge, 2014). She is the author of Peace Through Trade: Building the WTO, and has been invited by Oxford University Press to author a book on the international regulation of the use of subsidies. She is the editor of Redesigning the World Trade Organization for the Twenty-first Century, published by Wilfrid Laurier University Press, CIGI and International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in 2010 and in Chinese in 2011.
Debra is a member of the editorial advisory board of the Journal for International Economic Law, published by Oxford University Press. She serves on the program advisory committee of the Canadian Ditchley Foundation, and as a member of the International Scientific Review Committee, National Centre of Competence in Research Trade Regulation, Swiss National Science Foundation. She also serves on the board of advisers to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) project on Building Capacity through Training in Dispute Settlement in International Trade, Investment and Intellectual Property, and she is often called upon to carry out technical assistance and training missions on the WTO in developing countries. Debra is a member of the executives of the Canadian Council on International Law and of the Trade Law Committee of the International Law Association. In addition, she is an associate expert with the Institute for International Business, Economics and Law at the University of Adelaide, Australia. She is fluent in English and French.