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Chief Commissioner Renu Mandhane – Appointed October 2015

Renu Mandhane is the former Executive Director of the International Human Rights Program at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law. She has an LL.M in international human rights law from New York University, and is a recognized expert. Renu sits on the Canada Committee of Human Rights Watch, and has appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada and the United Nations. She has also trained Canadian and foreign judges through the National Judicial Institute of Canada. Renu has worked at several domestic and international organizations to advance women's human rights, and has represented survivors of domestic and sexual violence and federally sentenced prisoners.

Renu was appointed Chief Commissioner of the OHRC in October 2015.

Commissioner Karen Drake – Appointed June 2016

Karen Drake is an assistant professor at the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law at Lakehead University and a citizen of the Métis Nation of Ontario. Her teaching and research interests include Canadian law as it affects Indigenous peoples, Anishinaabe law and Métis law. She is the co-editor-in-chief of the Lakehead Law Journal and a commissioner with the Métis Nation of Ontario's Commission on Métis Rights and Self-Government. She previously clerked with the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Federal Court of Canada and currently serves on the board of directors of the Indigenous Bar Association. Commissioner Drake resides in Thunder Bay.

Commissioner Ruth Goba – Appointed October 2006

Ruth Goba is a lawyer who has worked both domestically and internationally on issues related to economic and social rights (ESR), with a particular focus on women’s rights.  Before joining the OHRC, Ruth worked for an international NGO in India on women’s housing, land, property and inheritance rights and with the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing. Upon her return to Canada, she worked with the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA), a human rights organization that advocates for housing and the elimination of poverty. From 2007 to 2009, she held the position of Executive Director at CERA.

Ruth also worked in private practice focusing primarily on issues of gender, disability and racial discrimination in education and employment. Ruth served on the board of the National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL) and was a member of LEAF’s Legal Committee. She has also taught Disability Studies at Ryerson University. Ruth was appointed Interim Chief Commissioner of the OHRC beginning February 28, 2015. Her term ended in October 2015.

Commissioner Mary Gusella – Appointed February 2016

Mary Gusella has served as the Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, Canadian Chair of the International Joint Commission of Canada and the United States, a member of the Public Service Commission, President of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and Chair and President of Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation. In addition, she was a board member and President of the Institute of Public Administration of Canada and a member of the Canadian Human Rights Museum Advisory Committee. Ms. Gusella holds a membership with the Law Society of Upper Canada and the International Commission of Jurists – Canadian Section. She has a Certificate from the Canadian Securities Institute and holds undergraduate degrees from the Universities of Toronto and Ottawa. Ms. Gusella also serves on the Board of Directors of the Human Rights Legal Support Centre (HRLSC).

Commissioner Rabia Khedr - Appointed September 2016

Rabia Khedr is a dedicated volunteer and advocate for diverse communities, women and individuals with disabilities. She is a human rights consultant with diversityworX, founder of the Canadian Association of Muslims with Disabilities and a member of the Mississauga Accessibility Advisory Committee, which she chaired for eight years. Commissioner Khedr has also been on the board of directors for the Ontario Women's Health Network and a member of the Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee.

Commissioner Raja Khouri – Appointed September 2006

Raja Khouri is president of the Canadian Arab Institute, a policy think tank he co-founded in 2011. Raja is co-founder of the Canadian Arab/Jewish Leadership Dialogue Group, and an international consultant in organizational development and capacity building.

Raja formerly served on several government and civil society bodies, such as Ontario’s Hate Crimes Community Working Group (for the Attorney General and Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services), the Minister of Education’s Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy Roundtable, the Pride Toronto Community Advisory Panel, the Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs, and as advocacy co-chair of Human Rights Watch Canada. He served as president of the Canadian Arab Federation in the period following the events of 9/11.

Raja’s earlier career included a senior management position at CIBC and management consulting tenures in Europe and the Middle East. He has designed and chaired conferences, given and moderated lectures, numerous media interviews, and published commentaries in journals and major Canadian dailies. He’s the author of Arabs in Canada: Post 9/11.

Commissioner Fernand Lalonde – Appointed May 2005

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, Human Resources, 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, dispute/conflict resolution, workplace assessments, training and executive coaching.

Commissioner Julie Lee – Appointed September 2009

Julie Lee is a lawyer, practicing family law in St.Thomas, Ontario. Julie clerked for the Honourable Mr. Justice Iacobucci at the Supreme Court of Canada in 1999 – 2000. Before 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.

Commissioner Kwame McKenzie - Appointed June 2016

Kwame McKenzie is the medical director of underserved populations at Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. He is also a professor and the co-director of the Equity Gender and Population Division at the University of Toronto's department of psychiatry. Dr. McKenzie is chief executive officer of the Wellesley Institute and a member of the Mental Health and Addictions Advisory Council to Ontario's Minister of Health. He serves on the boards of the United Way Toronto and Ontario Hospitals Association.

Commissioner Errol Mendes – Appointed September 2009

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 11 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. He recently completed a Visiting Fellowship at Harvard Law School.

Commissioner Bruce Porter - Appointed June 2016

Bruce Porter is a leading advocate for the rights of people living in poverty and the homeless. He is currently serving as the executive director of Canada's Social Rights Advocacy Centre and is a senior advisor to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on adequate housing. Commissioner Porter recently co-directed a 10-year collaborative research project on social rights in Canada and has co-edited two books on social rights, in addition to writing many articles on the subject. Commissioner Porter lives and works outside of Huntsville, Ontario.

Commissioner Maurice Switzer - Appointed June 2016

Maurice Switzer is the principal of Nimkii Communications, a public education firm which focuses on the treaty relationship between First Nations and the Canadian government. A citizen of the Mississaugas of Alderville First Nation, he has served as the director of communications for both the Assembly of First Nations and the Union of Ontario Indians. Commissioner Switzer was also the first Indigenous publisher of a daily newspaper in Canada and currently resides in North Bay.

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