Daniel Normandeau, President of ConversArt Consulting, is a senior management consultant with over 30 years in the private and public sectors, featuring experience in change management, strategic planning, organizational development and learning. Dan left the Executive ranks of the federal public service and became an associate with the University of Ottawa, as an instructor in their Public Service Leadership Development Program. His area of expertise is Strategy.He provides management consulting, leadership development, professional and strategic development support. He works closely with clients to implement strategies to ensure that the policy, program and people potential are fully harnessed to meet organizational goals. He has directed strategic conversations with senior leaders and facilitated challenging national and international conferences, as well as special meetings of senior level task forces examining important issues for their governments and organizations.
Marie-Claude Landry, Ad. E. is the Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, since her nomination in March 2015. Prior to her nomination, she was a founding partner of law firm Landry, Boucher et associés. Ms. Landry is a decorated and sought-after community leader in Quebec’s Eastern Townships where she has advocated for better health and palliative care, stronger local businesses and healthy community development. Her valuable community and legal advocacy have led to numerous positions and awards of distinction, including the title of Lawyer Emeritus and the Merit Award from the Barreau de Bedford. In 2015 Ms. Landry was awarded the keys to the City of Cowansville and named Personality of the Year by the community of Brome-Missisquoi. Always conscious of placing people at the heart of her actions, Ms. Landry now uses her leadership position in human rights to continue protecting people in vulnerable circumstances and to work with her partners in a spirit of collaboration. She lives in Ottawa, Ontario.
Journalist, Transgender Advocate and Media Consultant Tiq Milan has been active in the LGBT community for over a decade. An educator and mentor, he began doing grassroots advocacy in the Bronx and at the Hetrick-Martin Institute, home to the only all LGBT high school in the United States, Harvey Milk High. He is also a writer and journalist who carved a niche for himself as a media advocate and one of the leading voices for transgender equality. He has won several awards for his media advocacy from organizations like The Hispanic Black Gay Coalition, Black Transman Advocacy Inc., The National Trans Latina Coalition and The National Pride Index. He’s also been recognized by BET, Ebony Magazine, and MTV.
Kim is Co-Founder of The People Project & Activist for Justice and Inclusion. Kim’s ‘The People Project’ is an initiative to bring forth local and international community development through alternative education, art activism and collaboration. Her presentations are anchored in a modern version of The Golden Rule. Rather than assuming the way you want to be treated is the standard for all, Kim encourages audiences to treat people the way they want to be treated, which means we have to ask and listen.
Member of the Québec Bar since 2004, Peggy Warolin practices law at the private firm she founded in 2005. She has extensive experience in litigation, civil law, administrative law, family law and child protection. Ms Warolin also works closely with the Aboriginal communities in her region. She has served as President of the Bar of Abitibi-Témiscamingue, member of the General Council of the Quebec Bar, and member of the Board of Directors of the regional Association des avocats de province. Ms. Warolin has been involved in several missions to Inuit communities across Canada’s North and co-authored the report entitled, le Rapport sur les missions du Barreau du Québec auprès des communautés autochtones du Grand-Nord québécois. Following this report, she was nominated by Quebec’s Minister of Justice to the Table socio-judiciaire autochtone. Ms. Warolin is a vocal advocate for the rights and needs of people in minority groups and the most vulnerable members of society.
Acknowledged as one of Canada’s most accomplished NGO CEOs, Bernie Farber’s career spans more than a quarter century focused on human rights, pluralism and inter-ethnic/faith/race relations. Recognized and called upon by the courts, media and law enforcement as an expert in human and civil rights he is one of the few in the field to be accepted by Canadian Courts as an expert in hate crime, white supremacy and anti-racism. His efforts have been documented in numerous Canadian Human Rights publications, books, newspapers and magazines. His work has also been cited for his expertise in a number of academic publications. Mr. Farber has successfully run large NGO’s and Foundations such as Canadian Jewish Congress and the Paloma Foundation all focused on creating a better society. Today Mr. Farber is the Executive Director of the Mosaic Institute dedicated to providing safe platforms dedicated to civil dialogue leading to positive interactions amongst Canada’s diverse communities.
Donna is the founder of Barrier free Canada - Canada sans barrière. She is an entrepreneur, blogger, author, audio mystery writer, podcaster, and law student. Donna is a past president and second vice president of the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians and a past communications director of Canadian Blind Sports Association.Donna lives and works in Toronto Ontario. She has been an entrepreneur since 2000 and the president of her company Sterling Creations since then. Donna has written 3 books: Secrets to financial success, untapped wealth, and untapped wealth discovered. She is also the author of the Detective DJ Crime Crushers series; three seasons and a 12 days of Christmas box set. Donna is the recipient of the City of Toronto's unsung hero award - 2008. She was also honored with the Backbone Magazine Award (2011): in recognition of being one of top 15 Canadian Digital Media professionals and was designated the Canadian Council of the Blind 2017 person of the year award.
John Dick is the Coordinator of the Patient Council at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences (OSCMHS), which provides a consumer’s perspective on systemic issues and of services offered at the Hospital. John is one of the founding members of the Patient Council that was established at the center in 1993. He has been employed at the hospital for the past 8 years. John is a former consumer of the mental health system and has been a public speaker for the past 15 years with the “Talking about Mental Illness” program and has spoken to over 60,000 high students about the Stigma of Mental Illness and addictions. He has been featured in a Documentary about Stigma of mental illness entitled Extraordinary People. As well as a recipient of the Attorney General Victim Services Award of Distinction. John shares his story openly to break down the barriers that are caused by having a mental illness and believes we can all recover as a community if we rid our communities of the negative thoughts of those who suffer.
Prior to becoming KAIROS’ Program Manager in 2012, Ed coordinated KAIROS’ Indigenous Rights Program. This involved working with Indigenous peoples and their allies on domestic and international public education and action initiatives towards the recognition and enforcement of Indigenous peoples’ rights. KAIROS’ creation in 2001 brought together 10 social justice ecumenical coalitions, including the Aboriginal Rights Coalition (ARC), which brought together churches, religious organizations, Indigenous peoples and regional groups. Ed was ARC’s National Coordinator from 1995 to 2001. Ed has a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University in Ottawa and is the first student at York University in Toronto to complete a combined-Masters Degree in Fine Arts (Film) and Environmental Studies. While in Toronto, Ed co-founded Friends of the Lubicon, a support group for the Lubicon Lake Cree First Nation in Alberta.
Adam Akpik was born and raised in Iqaluit, Nunavut. He finished his 2nd and final year at Nunavut Sivuniksavut in May of 2016, an Inuit Studies and Advanced Inuit Studies college program affiliated with Algonquin College and located in Ottawa, Ontario. He currently works for the Embrace Life Council, a territorial suicide prevention non-profit organization that encourages Nunavummiut to value and embrace life. Adam is also highly engaged and passionate about Inuit and Indigenous issues, and has interests in Nunavut and Canadian policies.
A recognized leader in both the feminist and disability movements, Bonnie Brayton has been the National Executive Director of the DisAbled Women’s Network (DAWN) Canada since May 2007. In this role, she has proven herself as a formidable advocate for women with disabilities here in Canada and internationally. During her tenure with DAWN Canada, Ms. Brayton has worked diligently to highlight key issues that impact the lives of women with disabilities in regards to health equity, housing, employment and violence. She has strongly promoted the representation of women with disabilities in policy changes from the employment sector to the justice sector, and is at the forefront of addressing systemic barriers at all levels. In 2016, she was appointed as a member of the Federal Status of Women Minister’s Advisory Council on Gender-Based Violence. Ms. Brayton’s commitment to women with disabilities spreads further than her office. She is also the President of Coup de Balai – Clean Sweepers, providing homecare services for people with disabilities and seniors.
Dr. Alexandre Baril’s multidisciplinary training combines ten years in philosophy/ethics and a Ph.D. in Women’s Studies. After working as a visiting professor in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Wesleyan University and as an assistant professor with a limited-term appointment in Feminist and Gender Studies at the University of Ottawa, Dr. Baril received an Izaak Walton Killam Postdoctoral Fellowship to pursue his work on trans* and crip politics in the Department of Political Science at Dalhousie University. His intersectional and interdisciplinary research places gender, feminist, queer, trans*, and disability studies in dialogue with the sociology of the body, health, and social movements.
Ian was appointed Executive Director of Equitas in 2004. Equitas is Canada's oldest and most active human rights education organization. In this role, Ian is responsible for providing leadership in the development and implementation of Equitas’ strategic directions. Prior to this appointment, he was Equitas’ Director of Programs, helping to shape the organization’s programming. He was also responsible for capacity-building projects with national human rights commissions, particularly in Asia. Before his involvment with Equitas, Ian worked for the Coordinating Committee of Human Rights Organizations of Thailand for 16 months in Bangkok, assisting their campaign for the establishment of a National Human Rights Commission. He worked in a number of positions, including Asia Program Officer, at the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development (Rights and Democracy) in Montreal.
Max FineDay is a nêhiyaw activist from the Sweetgrass First Nation and currently Co-Executive Director of Canadian Roots Exchange. Max is known nationally for his work on youth leadership development, and centers efforts on ideas and projects that move Canada toward reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. He is focused on delivering results, building relationships, and speaking to both the challenges and opportunities that exist for Canada and Indigenous peoples today. He is currently based in Toronto and can be found on twitter, @MaxFineDay.
It is my passion to find out how we can challenge ourselves to achieve more as global citizens. In my pursuit of this goal, I have spent the last 15 years exploring global innovations in education, refugee and immigrant settlement, and youth development. I lead the award-winning Engaged Immigrant Youth Program at the Vancouver School Board. As a founding partner of EdMeCo, I support young adults to reach their career goals. I grew up in the East Kootenays to migrant parents from Fiji and find time to reflect when I’m with family and friends, watching live-music, fishing, or travelling. Stay in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter @reddyforchange; Instagram @elkford; Skype jennifereddy
The Honourable Landon Pearson O.C., a long-time child advocate and former senator, is currently chair of the Landon Pearson Resource Centre for the Study of Childhood and Children's Rights at Carleton University. Senator Landon had been involved for many years in activities and issues related to children and young people. With her late husband, Geoffrey, a distinguished diplomat, she represented Canada in France, Mexico, India and the former Soviet Union and worked with local children wherever she could. In the Senate she soon became known as the children's senator and continued to work on international issues related to children as advisor on children's rights to a succession of foreign ministers as well as personal representative of Prime Minister Jean Chretien to the UN Special Session on Children in 2002. Since leaving the Senate, Ms Landon has concentrated on enabling young people to exercise their right to "have a voice" and on building a community of child rights scholars committed to hearing them. She has published two books, co-authored two more and written numerous articles and reports.
Louise Bradley, MS, RN, CHE, has dedicated her professional life to improving the mental health of Canadians. Ms. Bradley’s own deeply personal experience with recovery has informed a leadership style that is both compassionate and courageous. Ms. Bradley has influenced improved patient care through large-scale hospital administration and pioneered recovery. A tireless advocate for workplace mental health, Ms. Bradley has overseen the creation of the world’s first workplace psychological safety standard, which has gained international acclaim. Lauded as a transformational leader by the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA), Ms. Bradley will receive the 2017 Humanitarian Award for her work to enhance the psychological well-being of Canadians. Ms. Bradley is also the recipient of the Innovation Award for Health Care Leadership, bestowed by the Canadian College of Health Leaders, as well as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. Ms. Bradley uses her platform to urge increased mental health funding, and highlight the need to work inclusively to address the mental health needs of vulnerable and at-risk populations.
In her role at the Mental Health Commission of Canada, Nitika Rewari oversees research, evaluation, and knowledge translation activities to identify effective strategies and disseminate knowledge around workplace mental health. More recently, Nitika led a three-year case study project of more than 40 organizations across Canada identifying promising practices in implementing of the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace.
Heather Stuart, MA (Sociology), PhD (Epidemiology) is a social-epidemiologist specializing in psychiatric epidemiology and mental health services research. She is a Full Professor and Bell Canada Mental Health and Anti-stigma Research Chair in the Department of Public Health Sciences at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, with cross appointments to the Department of Psychiatry and the School of Rehabilitation. She is Senior Consultant to the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Opening Minds, Anti-stigma program and Past Chair of the Scientific Section on Stigma and Mental Disorders, World Psychiatric Association. Professor Stuart’s main areas of research are in mental health related stigma and discrimination; and mental health system and program evaluation. She has contributed to the peer reviewed scientific literature in the areas of mental health needs assessments; suicide and suicide prevention; stigma and stigma reduction; and workplace mental health.
Dr. Rebecca Gewurtz is an Assistant Professor within the School of Rehabilitation Science at McMaster University. Her research examines employment and community participation for people with disabilities, and the impact of social policy on how benefit systems and employment supports are experienced in practice. Rebecca is leading a SSHRC funded study examining policy strategies for improving employment opportunities for people with mental illness as they enter disability income support systems in Canada. She is also a co-investigator within the Centre for Research on Work Disability Policy (http://www.crwdp.ca/), and involved in projects exploring the experiences of injured workers, people with intermittent work capacity, and workplace accommodation policies and practices. She is currently working with the Mental Health Commission of Canada to develop the business case for recruiting and retaining employees living with mental illnesses.
Lyne Wilson is the Director, Talent Acquisition and Organizational Health for NAV CANADA, the owner and operator of the country’s civil Air Navigation Service. She is responsible for HR based activity within the organization from both an operational and strategic perspective. Since 2000, Lyne has held a number of positions at NAV CANADA. She is currently responsible for Talent Acquisition, Employee Health and Wellness Programs and Employee Relations complaints. Lyne has championed mental health in the workplace by developing a mental health strategy in 2009 and implementing a peer support program, Light the Way, in October 2012. Before joining NAV CANADA, Lyne worked at Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL).
John Packer is Director of the Human Rights Research and Education Centre and an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Ottawa where he is responsible for the overall direction of the Centre’s research, teaching and outreach. Over his 30-year career, he was an inter-governmental official for 20 years (UNHCR, ILO, OHCHR, UNDPA, OSCE), advised the principal regional and other inter-governmental organisations, and counseled numerous governments, communities and others in over fifty countries. The focus of his research and practice is at the inter-section of human rights (including minority rights) and security, notably conflict prevention and quiet diplomacy, international mediation, transitional arrangements, and institutional developments at domestic and multilateral levels. He publishes widely, is on the Boards of several scholarly journals and NGOs, and is a Member of the Expert Advisory Panel for the Shared Societies Project of the Club de Madrid comprising 100 former Heads of State and Government of democracies.
Alex Neve believes in a world in which the human rights of all people are protected. He has been a member of Amnesty International since 1985 and has served as Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada since 2000. In that role he has carried out numerous human rights research missions throughout Africa and Latin America, and closer to home to such locations as Grassy Narrows First Nation in NW Ontario and to Guantánamo Bay. He speaks to audiences across the country about a wide range of human rights issues, appears regularly before parliamentary committees and UN bodies, and is a frequent commentator in the media. He is on the Board of Directors of Partnership Africa Canada, the Canadian Centre for International Justice and the Centre for Law and Democracy. Alex has been named an Officer of the Order of Canada, a Trudeau Foundation Mentor and has received an honorary Doctorate of Laws degree from the University of New Brunswick.
Farida Deif is the Canada Director at Human Rights Watch. Based in Toronto, she monitors human rights abuses in Canada and advocates for a rights-respecting Canadian foreign policy. Deif also worked at the United Nations with UNICEF, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and UN Women where she recently served as the Deputy Manager of the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women. She is a gender-based violence expert with over 13 years of experience in documenting violence against women and girls and in developing targeted programs to address abuses. Earlier in her career, she was the Middle East and North Africa Researcher in the Women’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch, where she researched a range of issues from the arbitrary detention of women and girls to gender-related killings. She participated in Human Rights Watch’s first fact-finding missions to Libya and Saudi Arabia and has published extensively on human rights abuses. She speaks Arabic, English, and French.
Shahina Siddiqui moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba from Pakistan. Shahina is a freelance writer, author, spiritual counselor, speaker and educator. She co-founded Islamic Social Services Association (ISSA) and continues to serve as president and volunteer executive director of ISSA- Canada. Shahina has been working for decades to build bridges between communities, to help preserve human rights develop cultural competency and mutual understanding. She has organized several events focused on bringing interfaith and cultural groups together to build bridges of understanding between them and develop a sincere appreciation of multiculturalism. She has been profiled and recognized in magazines, newspapers and books and is the recipient of numerous awards. She founded the Canadian Muslim Women’s Institute and is one of the founding members of Canadian Muslim Leadership Institute. She serves on the National Advisory Board for the Canadian Association for Muslims with Disabilities.
Shaheen Azmi has been with the Ontario Human Rights Commission for more than 18 years in a number of senior positions. As Director of the Policy, Education, Monitoring and Outreach Branch, he has supervised the development of several major human rights policies and publications including the Commission’s 2012 Policy on Competing Human Rights which includes a detailed framework to identify, analyze, and respond to competing human rights. He has also published articles on this policy work and co-edited the book: Balancing Competing Human Rights Claims in a Diverse Society: Institutions, Policy, Principles released by Irwin Law. His academic research focused on dilemmas and challenges of diversity in human services and social welfare, with particular focus on the needs of ethnic, racial, and religious minorities in Canada.
Samuel Singer is an Assistant Professor at Thompson Rivers University. During his legal studies, Samuel co-founded and coordinated a legal information clinic for non-profit organizations and charities . Most recently, Samual has worked as a sole practitioner in tax, charity, non-profit and LGBTQ law. Samuel is a long-time advocate for trans people, including through legal advocacy and capacity building work. In 2014, he founded the Trans Legal Clinic in Montreal and has since served as its supervising lawyer. He is a member of Egale's Legal Issues Committee. Samuel's research interests also include trans people and the law, as well as the role of discretionary decision-makers in regulating trans people's lives. He is a member of both the Québec and Ontario Bars. Samuel also has a passion for tax law and policy, particularly related to charities and charitable giving.
Ms. Neshama Nicole Nussbaum serves as the past-Chair of the Canadian Bar Association’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Conference and is a Past-President of the Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health. Nicole instructed the first course in Canada solely focused on Gender Identity and the Law, offered by the Department of Women’s Studies & Feminist Research at the University of Western Ontario, and acted as a legal consultant for the LGBTQ Parenting Network's Trans Family Law initiative. Neshama Nicole Nussbaum is a London, Ontario, based lawyer and advocate with experience in the areas of employment, human rights, and family law. She also is project lead for Transforming Justice: Trans* Legal Needs Assessment Ontario, which is administered by the HIV & Aids Legal Clinic Ontario (HALCO).
Françoise Susset is a clinical psychologist and couple and family therapist with over 25 years of experience working with LGBT populations. Her clinical work centers on trans adults and teens, during transition and beyond. She also focuses on supporting gender creative children, helping families and schools challenge notions regarding sexuality, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Françoise is a member of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health and is past president of the Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health. Working with LGB and trans advocacy groups, Françoise has contributed briefs and testified at Quebec parliamentary commissions for causes such as same sex marriage and parental rights for same sex families. More recently, she testified in support of eliminating the minimum age required for changing a minor’s gender marker.
A renowned speaker, consultant and thought-leader, Nora Spinks has spent more than 25 years working with leaders across Canada and abroad to strengthen families, create productive and supportive work environments, and build healthy communities. Nora has earned a reputation as one of Canada’s top authorities on work–life quality, families and family life, providing information, insights and inspiration to diverse organizations and individuals across Canada. Since 2011, in her role as CEO of the Vanier Institute of the Family, Nora has engaged the research community to mobilize knowledge, build research communities and connect those who study, serve and support Canada’s diverse families. She has played a key role in major research initiatives such as Caregiving and Work, the Military Families in Canada Initiative, On the Move and the Family and Changing Gender Roles Research Project. Nora has received numerous accolades, including the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Canada 125 Award for Exemplary Community Service, the Workplace Wellness Pioneer of the Year Award and the Learning Partnership Volunteer of the Year Award.
Sheila Osborne-Brown is Senior Counsel and Team Leader in the Legal Services Division of the Canadian Human Rights Commission. She does both litigation and legal advisory work. She is a member of the Bars of Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, and California. She has appeared before many courts and tribunals including the Supreme Court of Canada, the Federal Court of Appeal and Federal Court, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, and the California Superior Court. Sheila has been involved with the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) throughout her legal career, and as a former teacher, has a special interest in lawyers' professional development. She serves as the Chair of the CBA Standing Committee on Professional Development, and is a member of the CBA's International Initiatives Committee.
Ms. Farhat Rehman is a member of Mothers Offering Mutual Support (M.O.M.S) — a support group she co-founded with women who, like herself, have a son or a close relative in Canada’s Justice/Correctional system. In addition to Support and Education, Farhat is part of the Advocacy group in M.O.M.S. She has participated in advocacy efforts by speaking out about her experiences as a mother of a son affected by mental health issues and incarceration. She supports reform and rehabilitative provisions in the Criminal Justice System of Canada with programs to reduce the burden of incarceration on families and inmates. Farhat is the Ottawa Chapter lead of a national women’s organization, The Canadian Council of Muslim Women where she has participated in the planning and organizing of national conferences focused on women’s equality, social justice, civic engagement, and gender justice for women. In 2016 she was awarded the “Women who inspire” award. Farhat is a mother of three grown children, grandmother of one, and lives in Ottawa.
Natasha Bakht is an associate professor of law at the University of Ottawa where she teaches family law, criminal law and multiculturalism issues in the law. She was called to the bar of Ontario in 2003 and served as a law clerk to Justice Louise Arbour at the Supreme Court of Canada. Her legal scholarship explores religious freedom and equality issues faced by Muslim and other marginalized women in Canada. Natasha’s legal activism includes involvement with the National Association of Women and the Law, the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund, and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Together with her friend and colleague Lynda Collins, she recently stretched the legal boundaries of family by becoming legal co-mothers of their son, though they are not in a conjugal relationship. She is the current English Language Editor of the Canadian Journal of Women and the Law and an Indian contemporary dancer and choreographer.
Kelly is a social entrepreneur who is internationally recognized as one of Canada’s foremost innovators of workplace inclusion and partnership building. His dynamic communications style and social entrepreneurial success has earned him the reputation as an engaging thought leader, facilitator, and effective bridge-builder between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people and companies creating trusted partnerships for new social and economic capital across Canada and abroad. A proud indigenous leader of Canadian of Cree, Métis, and European ancestry, with an unwavering passion for an inclusive society, he moves seamlessly between both worlds fostering a spirit of trust, relationship and healthy partnerships. He was honored by the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) as one of their “100 Alumni of Influence” whose accomplishments have been recognized for influencing the growth and development of the university, the province, and the world. He has served on over a dozen corporate, crown, and non-profit boards in Canada and addressed more than 300 audiences in conferences, forums and workshops.
Ms. Renée Vaugeois is currently the Executive Director of the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights and current President of the Alberta Hate Crimes Committee; a coalition of law enforcement and organizations working to address hate in the province. Renée is the founder and current Treasurer of Ainembabazi Children’s Project, an organization committed to strengthening children’s rights in East Africa through building self reliant families and communities. Renée also serves as a Director for Women in International Security Canada, a professional network of women in the peace and security field. She has spearheaded work to strengthen human rights advocacy and systemic change through the Edmonton Coalition for Human Rights. Renee is also part of a national committee of the Catherine Donnelly Foundation working towards Righting Relations; building critical learning hubs of adult educators for social change at local and national levels. Renée is also a Director for Women in International Security Canada.
For several years, Odélie Joly has been involved with Amnesty International. Within this human rights organization, she runs training courses particularly among youth, as well as being a member of the board of directors of the francophone chapter in Canada. Her commitment was reinforced in 2012 during the student movement in Quebec against the increase in tuition fees. Odélie is currently completing a Bachelor of Criminology and Women's Studies at the University of Ottawa.
My name is Tammy Robinson. I come from an isolated reserve called Oxford House First nation. I am currently 20 years old. As of now, I am currently finishing up my Grade 12 in our local high school at age 20. Prior to this, I have dropped out several times due to being bullied and mistakes I have made on my own. In my isolated reserve i have seen things happen and people being treated in such ways I believe is not right, and I would like to make a change in my community and beyond. To do this, I attend conferences in and out of my province to not only let my voice be heard in various places of the country, but to also bring what I have learned back to my reserve to share with the youth and motivate them to do these things as well and show them it is possible. My main goal is to make not only my community, but also the world a better place, and fight for indigenous/human rights.
Professor Mendes is a lawyer, author, professor and adviser to NGOs, corporations, government and the United Nations. His teaching, research and consulting interests include corporate law and governance, global governance, international business and trade law, constitutional law, international law including anti-terrorism laws and policies and human rights law and policy. He has been a Project leader for, conflict resolution, governance and justice projects in China, Thailand, Indonesia, Brazil, El Salvador, Sri Lanka and India. Professor Mendes is a frequent speaker and media commentator on corporate governance, international trade, business and government ethics, constitutional and human rights topics across Canada and the world. In recognition of his work on business ethics in Canada, the Office of the Secretary General of the United Nations invited him to be an adviser on the Global Compact initiative of the Secretary General. Since 1979, Professor Mendes has taught at Law Faculties across the country. He was appointed as a member of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal Panel and was reappointed after his first term. He also has extensive experience as a Human Rights Adjudicator under the Ontario Human Rights Code.
Me Michèle Rivet served, from 1990 to 2010, as first President-Judge of the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal. She is a Member of the Quebec Bar and a visiting professor at University of Sherbrooke. Michèle Rivet is serving as Vice President of the International Commission of Jurists, in Geneva. She has been President of the Canadian Section of the ICJ and was also President of the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice.In 2011, the Quebec Court honored her with the Gold Medal for her outstanding career. In 2015, the Quebec Bar gave her its Mérite and the title Advocatus Emeritus and she was also honored by the Quebec Human Rights Commission. Michèle Rivet got a Master in Museology at Université de Montreal in 2015, taking an in-depth look at questions related to First Nations and Museums. Me Michèle Rivet has published extensively on Human Rights, both in Canadian and International Legal Journals, namely on the Right to Equality and on the Independence of the Judiciary.
Janine Lespérance is a human rights lawyer. In her current position with Lawyers Without Borders Canada, her work focuses on creating change through strategic litigation and transitional justice initiatives. She is the former Executive Director of the International Commission of Jurists Canadian Section, and has been a Project Coordinator at the Human Rights Research and Education Centre, and Part-time Law Professor for the University of Ottawa. She has a broad range of experience and has done public interest and human rights-focused work in private practice, government, and civil society, both in Canada and abroad. She holds a law degree from the University of Ottawa and a Masters from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs of Carleton University.
Ihsaan Gardee has been involved with the National Council of Canadian Muslims for several years. Ihsaan joined as Community Relations & Operations Director and later took the helm of the organization as Executive Director. Ihsaan regularly appears on local and national news media and programs on issues related to Canadian Muslims, Islam and civil liberties and his writings have appeared in major Canadian dailies as well as international publications. He has provided expert testimony to several Parliamentary and Senate committees on how proposed legislation, including national security laws, could adversely impact civil liberties and diverse communities. Ihsaan has a background working in both the public and private sectors primarily in marketing, communications and management roles and has worked, lived and travelled extensively across Canada, Europe, the Middle East and South Africa.
Kim Samuel has over two decades of leadership experience in business, philanthropy, development of multi-stakeholder partnerships and academic research. As a Director of The Samuel Group of Companies, Ms. Samuel has advanced corporate leadership within Canada and internationally and in particular with regard to corporate social responsibility. A pioneer in the field of social isolation and connectedness, her work on social isolation as a critical component of multi-dimensional poverty underscores the importance of social connectedness to human dignity and human rights struggles globally. Ms. Samuel works with the Synergos Institute, Nelson Mandela Children’s Foundation and the Foundation for Community Development advancing advocacy and programming that supports social connectedness for children. Ms. Samuel plays an active role with Special Olympics International with regard to the Family Support and Unified Sports programming initiatives. Ms. Samuel is also engaged in partnership with Indigenous communities in northern Canada including Misipawistik Cree Nation, supporting community driven strategies for strengthening education and employment.
Misty Giroux is Manager, Legislative Programs at NAV CANADA. She is responsible for the leadership and management of NAV CANADA’s three national legislated programs – Privacy, Official Languages and Employment Equity, Diversity & Inclusion. Misty is also a peer supporter in a peer-oriented mental health support program, Light the Way, and actively promotes the de-stigmatization of mental health issues in the workplace. As the mother of two children with chronic life threatening medical conditions, the daily emotional challenges of facing something like this with the ones we love most creates what can seem like unbearable stress. When you add in the normal demands of daily living: work, school, social events, the stress can seem completely unmanageable at times. Misty has been finding her way forward with the encouragement of family and friends, a supportive manager and colleagues, and exceptional mental health care. She looks upon Light the Way as her chance to pay it forward and extend a hand to a colleague who needs support.
Derek J. Jones is the Director, Mental Health, Privacy & Equality in the Workplace Project at McGill University. A graduate of Harvard and Yale Universities, he works at the interface of human rights, health sciences and ethics. He has worked at health law or health policy institutes in Boston, San Francisco and Paris. He is member of the Centre for Human Rights & Legal Pluralism, a member of McGill’s Research Group on Health and Law, and has taught psychiatry and law, AIDS law, health law in bioethics, comparative medical law, nursing law and ethics. His studies and reports focus on ethico-legal and medical riddles confronting modern society, like health privacy and confidentiality, genetic testing and human rights, end of life law, health status discrimination, regulating therapeutic products, human experimentation, rights to health, global bioethics and comparative health law. Current research projects include mental health and human rights in the workplace; conflicts of interest in health sciences; human rights and disability.
Fran Odette has been a disability rights activist for over 25 years, with a focus on the intersections between gender, disability and sexualities. As Program Manager at Springtide Resources, she provides prevention, intervention and educational programs to end violence against women and their children. Fran has been involved with issues related to disability and sex-positivity, providing training to sexual health providers and people with disabilities. Much of Fran’s activist work has been with agencies dedicated to marginalized communities, including SexAbility, the Centre for Independent Living in Toronto, Rainbow Health Network, the Institute for Research and Development on Inclusion and Society, women’s shelters, legal and counseling services in the GTA and across the province. Fran co-authored with Cory Silverberg and Dr. Miriam Kaufman, a book entitled The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability - "For All of Us Who Live with Disabilities, Chronic Pain and Illness”. Fran teaches in the Assaulted Women and Children Counselor Advocate Program, and co-teaches a critical disability course entitled Disability Discourse: The Experienced Life.
Harriett McLachlan is the immediate past-President of the Board of Directors of Canada Without Poverty (CWP) and currently the Interim Deputy Director of CWP. She has presented at numerous Treaty Body reviews of Canada to the Human Rights Committee at the United nations in Geneva. Presentations to various Parliamentary Committees have brought the first voice experience of poverty and the human rights perspective to the discussion. She has been working in her field for over 25 years. Her early life of childhood violence and sexual abuse, and subsequent 33 years of poverty, 19 years as a single parent, has inspired her to effect positive change within the community and for those living in poverty across the country.
Valérie is a registered professional forester who specializes in Indigenous issues, forest ecology and ecosystem-based management and planning. She is a member of the Innu community of Mashteuiatsh, located on the shore of Peikuakami, or Lac-St-Jean.
Courtois holds a degree in forestry sciences from the Université de Moncton. She has served as a forestry advisor for the Assembly of First Nations of Québec and Labrador, forestry planner for the Innu Nation, and as a consultant in Aboriginal forestry, including certification and spatial planning, and caribou planning. In 2007, she was awarded the James M. Kitz award from the Canadian Institute of Forestry for her early-career contributions to the forestry profession.
Courtois has been the Director of the Indigenous Leadership Initiative since 2013. In addition to her work in conservation and planning, Courtois is an avid photographer. She is also on the Board of Directors of the Corporation du Mushuau–nipi, a non-profit that encourages cultural and professional exchanges on the George River. She lives in Happy Valley—Goose Bay, Labrador.
John Millar has a background in human development and policy; he has 12 years experience in non-profit program design & management, and has led multiple organizations through significant growth while addressing critical community needs. His teaching and consulting work at the University of Guelph focused on civil society, degree program design and institutional partnerships.
In 2009, John founded Water First, a registered Canadian Charity. Water First addresses First Nations water challenges through local education and training initiatives. With a focus on drinking water treatment training and environmental water projects, Water First's programs are designed with significant First Nations input, weaving together water science expertise with First Nations values, customs and traditions.
When a project is complete, the outcomes keep giving for years to come through local skills and professional experience, empowering communities to address water challenges independently. Water First has collaborated with over 30 First Nations communities in Ontario & Quebec.
Chelsea Thacker is the Executive Director for the Rainbow Coalition of Yellowknife, providing outreach services and information for communities across the Northwest Territories, as well as other organizations across Canada. She is a Child and Youth Counsellor by profession and has a well-versed background of working with homeless, Indigenous youth in the North, as well as in Ontario. Chelsea is working with the Rainbow Coalition of Yellowknife to raise awareness about LGBTQ+ issues and identities and advocating for a safer, more equitable territory for LGBTQ+ youth.
Neil Belanger is the Executive Director of the British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society (BCANDS). Neil has worked in the fields of disability and health for over the past 20 years within both British Columbia and Saskatchewan. Through his and his various teams work within the disability sector, organizations he has served have been noted widely for their work, most recently being the 2016 Canadian Medical Association’s Excellence in Health Promotion National Award and the 2015 March of Dimes Canada’s – Judge George Ferguson National Award. In 2014 / 2015, BCANDS was profiled nationally by the federal government as a “best practice” in Indigenous disability services. In April 2017 Neil travelled to Geneva to present to the International CRPD Committee on Indigenous disability during Canada’s five year CRPD review.
Neil serves on a variety of local, regional, provincial and national disability and health related Boards and committees. Neil is a member of the Lax Se el (Frog) Clan within the Gitxsan First Nation.
Dr. Hardie is the Executive Director of the Canadian Centre on Disability Studies (CCDS) and former National Coordinator of the National Network for Mental Health. She has worked in the cross-disability field for over thirty years in various capacities (i.e. educator, researcher, community organizer, advocate, clinician, service provider) in her community, nationally and internationally. Dr. Hardie became aware of the importance of systems change as a national community organizer in the mental health and cross-disability fields. She refined her knowledge, skills and practice through academic studies in social work (1997-2009) and as a Mental Health Commission of Canada Strategy Team member responsible for writing Canada’s first mental health strategy (2012). Most recently, Dr. Hardie has been immersed in what she describes as one of her greatest life experiences, serving as the CCDS Executive Director. In this capacity, Dr. Hardie is leading CCDS through transformative organizational change process with a mission to “serve as a knowledge hub to support the use of high quality evidence in disability policies, programs and practices to help create an inclusive and accessible society for all. All CCDS work is guided by, and furthers the social justice intent of the Universal Declaration of Human Right and other complementary social justice frameworks” (CCDS Mission, June 2017).
Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, O.B.C. is a Hereditary chief of the Gwawaenuk First Nation who has dedicated his life to bridging the differences brought about by intolerance, lack of understanding and racism at home and abroad.
As one of the last few speakers of the Kwakwaka’wakw language, Chief Joseph is an eloquent and inspiring Ceremonial House Speaker. He is currently the Ambassador for Reconciliation Canada, a member of the National Assembly of First Nations Elders Council and an Honorary Witness to Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).
He has served as the Executive Director of the Indian Residential School Survivors Society. As Chairman of the Native American Leadership Alliance for Peace and Reconciliation and the Ambassador for Peace and Reconciliation with the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace (IFWP), Chief Joseph has sat with the leaders of South Africa, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Mongolia and Washington, DC to learn from and share his understanding of faith, hope, healing and reconciliation.
Marni Panas is a Senior Advisor Diversity and Inclusion with Alberta Health Services where she is co-leading the development and implementation of a provincial diversity and inclusion plan aimed at creating safe, welcoming and inclusive environments for AHS’s staff, patients and families.
Marni was invited as a witness to provide testimony to the Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs regarding Bill C16 (An Act to amend Canada’s Human Rights Act and Criminal Code) which received Royal Assent on June 19, 2017. She was also part of the work that led to Gender Identity and Gender Expression being added as protected grounds from discrimination to Alberta’s Human Right’s Act. Marni has been invited to share her experiences and expertise inclusive health and cultural safety for LGBTQ* people locally, nationally and internationally. She often appears in local and national media discussing a variety of topics that affect the community in which she lives. Marni has also been asked to share her views and experiences internationally on CNN and The BBC.
Marni is also a transgender woman who has completed her transition socially and professionally in April, 2014. She has been very transparent throughout her journey in the hopes of fostering acceptance through education and respectful dialogue.
Arif Virani, Member of Parliament (Parkdale-High Park)
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage (Multiculturalism)
Arif Virani, a former Ugandan Asian refugee, has spent the past fourteen years as a constitutional litigator, advocating for human rights and access to justice.
Arif earned an Honours Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science from McGill University in 1994, and completed his Bachelor of Laws at the University of Toronto in 1998, where he graduated as Valedictorian.
Arif lives and volunteers in Parkdale–High Park, supporting entities like the Redwood Shelter, the Parkdale Food Bank, Roncyworks, and the Friends of Sorauren Park. He has also led community efforts to address mental health stigma. As the MP for Parkdale-High Park since October 2015, Arif has been active in reaching out to his constituents through canvassing and hosting town halls on everything from Climate Change to Medical Assistance in Dying.
He was honoured to have been named by Prime Minister Trudeau as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship in December, 2015. He was heavily involved in the resettlement of 40,000 Syrian refugees to Canada in 2015-16. In January 2017 he was asked by the Prime Minister to serve as the Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism to the Minister of Canadian Heritage. In his new role, Arif has been active in promoting the values of inclusion, tolerance and diversity that define Canada, and in confronting Islamophobia in the wake of the Quebec mosque shooting.
A career PR executive, Carlos A. Godoy L. joined TD Bank Group in April 2016 as Regional Manager of LGBTA Business Development for Eastern Canada and Quebec Regions.
Prior to joining TD, Carlos was Vice-President of a national Ottawa-based Public and Government Relations firm where he provided clients with comprehensive public affairs expertise on numerous multidisciplinary files. Carlos previously was also Senior Aide to the Speaker of the Quebec legislature, International Media Relations Advisor and Spanish language Spokesperson for the 1st World Outgames Montreal 2006 and Director of Corporate Affairs at multinational PR firm Hill + Knowlton Strategies.
Carlos is a former Vice-President of the Quebec LGBT Chamber of Commerce, former Vice-President of the Quebec government's Regional Youth Council for the Island of Montreal and currently is the President of Ga'ava・גאווה the Jewish community's LGBTQ Advisory Committee.
In August 2015, Carlos was recognized as one of 60 Global LGBTQ Jewish Leaders and Allies by the Schusterman Foundation. In January 2016, Carlos was named to the MédiaMosaïque National Bank's Diversity Top 20 Personalities for his business and community leadership. In 2016 and 2017, Carlos was also nominated for the prestigious Exceptional Professional/Exceptional Career award at the Quebec LGBT Chamber of Commerce's 12th and 13th annual business excellence awards gala the Phénicia Gala. In June 2017, Carlos was also a panelist at the WorldPride Madrid 2017's Madrid Summit human rights conference.
Haroon Siddiqui is Editorial Page Editor Emeritus of the Toronto Star, Canada's largest newspaper, and at present Distinguished Visiting Professor, Faculty of Arts as well as the Faculty of Communication and Design, Ryerson University, Toronto.
He has reported or supervised coverage of Canada for 50 years, through eight prime ministers and eight premiers in two provinces. He has written extensively on the Canadian multicultural model, and spoken about it across the country and around the world.
He has also reported from nearly 50 countries.
Winner of numerous journalistic awards, he was given the Order of Canada “for advocating fairness and equality of opportunity;” the Order of Ontario for “crafting a broader definition of the Canadian identity;” and an honourary doctorate by York University for being a contemporary Bruce Hutchison, who in his 1943 book The Unknown Country “described Canada and its people as few Canadians knew it.”
Siddiqui is the author, among others, of Being Muslim, a bestseller about the post-9/11 politics of fear and paranoia, following his travels across the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, South Asia and the Far East.
He describes himself as “an incurably optimistic Canadian.”
Jeremiah Ellis is a member of the Youth Advisory Group for the Canadian Commission for UNESCO. In December of 2015, he launched a social media anti-discrimination campaign called the World Mosaic Project to take a stand against rising Islamophobia and xenophobia on social media and in politics. The idea of the campaign is to counter online and political rhetoric with messages of love and acceptance by using social media as a mass means of communication. The #worldmosaic campaign has garnered support from people and politicians all over the world from Mayors all across Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and to England. Many Members of the Canadian Parliament have joined the campaign as well as several Cabinet Ministers and the National Defence Committee. Ellis is going into his third year of a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Alberta. A journalist and blogger, Ellis's interests include anti-racism, diversity, mental health, youth empowerment, human rights, gender equality and social justice.
Myriam joined the Equitas team in October 2016, as an Educational Specialist for the Canadian programs. Prior to joining Equitas, Myriam worked for a national girls’ programs organization, where she was responsible for coordinating publications and online trainings and fostering partnerships with youth organizations across Canada. Her work and volunteer experience with diverse non-profits in Montreal focused on issues of human rights and social justice, more specifically on youth and women’s empowerment through popular education. She is currently completing her MA in Educational Studies at Concordia University.
Jasmin Roy is a well-known Quebec actor, host, director, speaker and writer, who has gravitated in cultural circles for more than 25 years. He’s a jack-of-all-trades with boundless curiosity who’s also a tireless defender of freedom of speech and a judicial activist on a mission to ensure a brighter future for society. Recognized for his plain speaking and energy, he is also a commentator and producer. Jasmin Roy trained at the National Theatre School of Canada and boasts an impressive filmography. Today, as founder and president of Fondation Jasmin Roy, he wants to make sure Quebec schoolchildren can grow up and learn in a healthy and safe environment by supporting community initiatives that fight against discrimination and violence in schools.
Randy Boissonnault is the Member of Parliament for Edmonton Centre and the Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on LGBTQ2 Issues. Prior to his election, Randy was a successful entrepreneur, community leader, and philanthropist. He has a strong record of leadership in business, in public service, and in the not-for-profit sector.
Randy discovered his passion for leadership and public service at the University of Alberta, where he served as President of the Students’ Union. Since studying at the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, Randy has worked as a lecturer at the University of Alberta’s Campus Saint-Jean, and as a journalist and political commentator for CBC Radio-Canada and Les Affaires. Randy also owned and led a consulting business that helped small- and medium-sized businesses overcome their strategy and management challenges.
A proud Rotarian, Randy has a long history of charitable work, both locally in Edmonton and abroad. He founded Literacy Without Borders, an international NGO devoted to promoting literacy for both children and adults in the developing world and in Canada. He has also served as Vice Chair of TEDx Edmonton and Chair of the Board of Directors of the Francophone Economic Council of Alberta, the Francophone Sport Federation of Alberta, and the Canadian Francophone Games. He was one of the 50 founders of Startup Edmonton and was a finisher of the Ironman Canada Triathlon.
The one-of-a-kind Dandelion Dance Performance Company exists to show that every girl - regardless of background, body type and ability - has a valuable perspective to share with the world.
Every year, a group of young women come together to create and share their own works on the social issues that matter most to them, such as women’s and children’s rights, inclusion, stereotypes, body image and poverty. Works often evolve from the personal stories and experiences of Company members themselves. The Company performs approximately once per month in venues large and small, including schools, community centres, universities, and national conferences. Members also participate in monthly leadership and social justice workshops, volunteer in the community, and work on special projects of their choosing. The Company has been invited to share its work at distinguished venues such as the Senate Chambers at Parliament, and its members have been invited to sit on panels at respected university to share their views on issues such as children’s rights.
A model for equity and inclusion in every respect, Dandelion’s Performance Company challenges traditional notions of who can be a “dancer”, calls out stereotypes about young women from all walks of life, and showcases the power of art as a tool for social change. To learn more and to support Dandelion’s Performance Company, visit dandeliondance.ca/performance-company/.
Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, represents the riding of Calgary Centre
Kent Hehr represented the residents of downtown Calgary in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta for more than seven years.
Born and raised in Calgary, Kent’s life drastically changed when, just shy of his twenty-second birthday, while riding in a friend’s car, he was hit by a drive-by shooter leaving him paralyzed. The life-altering injury did not quash his ambitions—while still re-learning to use his fingers, Kent studied at the University of Calgary, earning his Bachelor of Canadian Studies, followed by his Bachelor of Law in 2001.
Kent has practised law at the prestigious national firm, Fraser Milner Casgrain, and became an active community leader, working with the United Way and heading the Alberta branch of the Canadian Paraplegic Association. In 2008, Kent was named one of the "20 Most Compelling Calgarians to Watch" by the Calgary Herald. Later that year, he won the race to represent Calgary-Buffalo in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, a seat he successfully defended in 2012. As shadow minister of justice, finance, education and other portfolios, Kent held the government to account while taking an active role in creating legislation for the future of Calgary and Alberta.
Claudette Commanda is an Algonquin from KITIGAN ZIBI ANISHINABEG First Nation located in the province of Quebec. Claudette is an alumni of the University of Ottawa Faculty of Common Law and Faculty of Arts.
She has dedicated the last 30 years promoting First Nations people, history, culture, language, traditional knowledge and rights in various capacities: University of Ottawa student, professor, member and chair of the aboriginal education council; and in the public forum via speaking engagements.
She is a professor for the University of Ottawa’s Institute of Women’s Studies; Faculty of Education; Faculty of Law; and the Aboriginal Studies Program, teaching courses on First Nations Women; Native Education; First Nations People and History; Indigenous Traditions; and Decolonization.
In addition, she is the Executive Director for the First Nations Confederacy of Cultural Education Centres, a national organization with the mandate of protecting, promoting and revitalizing First Nations languages and cultures.
She is inducted into the Common Law Honour Society; served two appointed terms as a Board of Governor for the First Nations University of Canada; and served three elected terms on the Kitigan Zibi Band Council.
Most recently appointed as the first “Elder in Residence” for the Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa; and to the University of Ottawa Board of Governors.
She is the mother of four children and grandmother of ten grandchildren.
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