Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall
Barbara Hall was appointed Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission on November 28, 2005, after more than 30 years as a community worker, lawyer and municipal politician. She served three terms as a city councillor from 1985 on and as Toronto's mayor from 1994 to 1997. From 1998 to 2002 she headed the federal government's National Strategy on Community Safety and Crime Prevention.
Ms. Hall has also practised criminal and family law, been a member of the Ontario Health Ministry's Health Results Team, and lectured nationally and internationally on urban and social issues. She has extensive experience on non-profit boards and committees, and has a strong record of bringing diverse groups together to build safe and strong communities.
Ruth Goba is Women's Program coordinator and staff lawyer for the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA). She has taught disability issues at Ryerson University, and she clerked at ARCH: A Legal Resource Centre for Persons with Disabilities.
Ms. Goba also worked in India on housing and land rights with both the Habitat International Coalition and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing. She was appointed to the Commission in October 2006.
Raja G. Khouri joined the Ontario Human Rights Commission in 2006. He is managing consultant at The Knowledge Centre, established in 1995 and specializing in organizational development and capacity building in the non-profit sector. Raja is co-chair of the advocacy committee and a member of the executive committee of Human Rights Watch Canada, and co-founder of the Canadian Arab-Jewish Leadership Dialogue Group.
He formerly served on Ontario’s Hate Crimes Community Working Group and the Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy Roundtable. Raja is a former president of the Canadian Arab Federation and board member at the Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs. His earlier career included senior management and consulting tenures in corporations in Canada and oversees. Raja has chaired conferences, given and moderated lectures, given numerous media interviews, and published commentaries in journals and major Canadian dailies.
Fernand Lalonde retired from the federal public service in 2001 after serving in many roles including General Secretary of the National Joint Council, Executive Director of Appeals and Investigations for the Public Service Commission of Canada, and Director of Personnel Services, Parks Canada.
Mr. Lalonde is a former President of the Canadian Public Personnel Management Association, and is currently a consultant providing services in union-management relations and dispute resolution. He was appointed to the Commission in May 2005.
Julie Lee is a lawyer, practicing family and criminal law in St. Thomas, Ontario. Julie clerked for the Honourable Mr Justice Iacobucci at the Supreme Court of Canada in 1999/2000. Prior to her legal education, she worked in the anti-violence movement as an educator, administrator and advocate.
She is the co-founder of second stage housing in Huron County and the past executive director of the London Abused Women’s Centre in London, Ontario. Julie’s advocacy has also been directed at achieving equity and dignity for same-sex families.
Paul Lefebvre is a partner at Weaver Simmons, where he practices corporate and tax law and is also a business owner. Currently he is President of the Sudbury District Law Association, and former Board Chair of the Centre de Sante Communautaire du Grand Sudbury.
Mr. Lefebvre sits on various boards in his community.
A member of Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nation, Larry McDermott served as an Ontario municipal politican for 28 years including as the first national rural chair of FCM.
He is currently Executive Director of Plenty Canada, a non-profit organization devoted to environmental protection and healthy communities, and Co-chair of the Canadian Environmental Network Biodiversity Caucus.
Professor Mendes is a lawyer, author and professor, and has been an advisor to corporations, governments, civil society groups and the United Nations. His teaching, research and consulting interests include public and private sector governance, conflict resolution, constitutional law, international law and human rights law and policy. He has authored or edited seven leading texts in these areas. He has been a Project Leader for conflict resolution, governance and justice projects in China, Thailand, Indonesia, Brazil, El Salvador and Sri Lanka.
Since 1979, Professor Mendes has taught at Law Faculties across the country, including the University of Alberta, Edmonton, the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario and the University of Ottawa from 1992 to present.
Mark Nagler, Professor Emeritus, taught sociology, race and ethnic relations, native studies and disability studies for 29 years at the University of Waterloo. He is credited with authoring the first text in Disability Studies which was adopted by 169 universities internationally. He has also authored 10 other books in Native Studies, Race Relations, and Disability Studies. A past president of ARCH, he has served on many volunteer boards and has advised the Federal and Provincial Governments on a variety of aspects related to disability issues.
He was awarded the Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation in 1993. He lectures widely to diverse groups, including the US Census Bureau in Baltimore, MD. He is renowned internationally as a motivational speaker, having spoken to audiences in Canada, the US, Western Europe and Israel. He is recognized by Canadian courts as an expert in disability issues.
Fiona Sampson is the Executive Director of 'the equality effect', a non-profit organization that uses human rights law to transform the lives of women and girls. Fiona has worked as counsel for the Ontario Human Rights Commission and as the Director of Litigation at the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF). Fiona has appeared as counsel before the Supreme Court of Canada on many occasions representing women’s NGO’s in different equality rights cases. She has worked as a legal consultant with, amongst others, the Ontario Native Council on Justice, the DisAbled Women’s Network (DAWN) of Canada, Education Wife Assault, and the Ethiopian Muslim Relief and Development Association.
Fiona has published numerous articles on women’s equality and disability rights, and has her Ph.D. in women’s equality law from Osgoode Hall Law School, York University.
Bhagat Taggar is a Chartered (UK) and Professional (Ontario) Engineer with diverse international community experience. He served as a vice chair of race relations, and a city and regional Councillor in England, and as an Engineer in Zimbabwe. In Canada, he was the chairperson of Panorama India, Lion's club member, Professor of Engineering at Centennial College and a business owner.
Mr. Taggar was appointed by the Governor General of Canada (1996) as chairperson of the Employment Insurance Board for the Ontario regional division (Scarborough). He was awarded the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal for community service 2002. Mr. Taggar was appointed to the Commission in May 2005.
Maggie Wente is a partner with Olthius Kleer Townshend, representing First Nations and Band Councils. She has also worked with the Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres and the University of Toronto Community Legal Clinic. Currently she is a Board member of the Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto and formerly Board Co-Chair of the Women's Counselling, Referral and Education Centre.
She is a member of both the Canadian Bar Association and the Indigenous Bar Association. She was appointed to the Commission in October 2006.