05/12/2015 09:20 EDT | Updated 05/12/2016 05:59 EDT

Alan Borovoy, Toronto lawyer and civil rights activist, dead at 82

Alan Borovoy, a longtime Toronto lawyer and civil rights activist, has died according to the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA). He was 82.

He studied law at the University of Toronto and then continued to work in the city representing several minority groups before joining the CCLA as its general counsel in 1968, a role he held until 2009.

In a statement, the CCLA said it was deeply saddened by the loss.

"For over forty years, he made countless contributions to civil liberties in Canada," said Sukanya Pillay, CCLA executive director and general counsel.

"We will greatly miss him — his brilliance, his generosity, his irreverent humour, and the passion and dedication to equality and justice that was his life's work. Canada and the CCLA owes Alan Borovoy an immense debt."

In addition to his legal work, Borovoy was the author of several books including Categorically Incorrect: Ethical Fallacies in Canada's War on Terror, When Freedoms Collide: The Case For Our Civil Liberties and Uncivil Obedience: The Tactics And Tales Of A Democratic Agitator.

In 1982, Borovoy was named an officer of the Order of Canada. His citation reads: "It has been said of Alan Borovoy that he belongs to society, lives for society and has society's good at heart."

Borovoy was also known for maintaining a sense of humour while doing his civil rights work, something he expanded on in a 1970 interview with the CBC's Barbara Frum.