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List of Commissioners

Chief Commissioner

Keith Norton was appointed Chief Commissioner of the Commission on July 18, 1996. He is an educator and a lawyer by training, having studied law at Queen’s University in Kingston, as well as having received a diploma in education from the Ontario College of Education. He practiced criminal and family law in Kingston, Ontario, and taught at the secondary and post-secondary levels.

Mr. Norton is a former Minister of Community and Social Services and served as Parliamentary Assistant to the Treasurer of Ontario and Minister of Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs. He has also served as Minister of Health, Minister of Education and Minister of Colleges and Universities.

As Minister of the Environment between 1981 and 1983, Mr. Norton became the first Canadian cabinet minister to testify before a Committee of the United States Senate. Throughout his career, Mr. Norton has championed issues related to persons with disabilities, senior citizens and the disadvantaged. He has also been involved in a number of business ventures.

Mr. Norton is a former President of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.


Cheryl Blondell was appointed to the Commission in February 1997. She is an Assistant Crown Attorney in the Ministry of the Attorney General. She formerly served as Criminal Duty Counsel with the Ontario Legal Aid Plan, where she advised and represented accused persons. Ms. Blondell worked for the Commission in the summer of 1989 as part of the team that created the Systemic Investigations Unit.

The Reverend Canon WILLIAM G. CLIFF

Reverend Canon Cliff was appointed to the Commission in February 1997. He is the Rector of the Collegiate Chapel St. John the Evangelist at Huron University College and Anglican Chaplain to the University of Western Ontario in the Diocese of Huron. He is a former member of the University of Western Ontario Senate, a former Padre with the Royal Canadian Legion and Police Chaplain holding the rank of Honourary Inspector, and a Fellow of the National College of Music (U.K.) An active singer and performer, Canon Cliff, with three other colleagues have sung in numerous concerts and released 3 recordings to raise money for the relief of hunger. To that end, he has been made an honourary life member of the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund; the international development fund of the Anglican Church of Canada, for services to the fund. Trained at the University of Western Ontario Faculty of Music, King's College and Huron University College, Canon Cliff has served parishes in London, Simcoe, Hanover, Durham, Strathroy, and Adelaide, Ontario.


Nalin Kanuck was appointed to the Commission in September 1997. He is a Management and Financial Consultant. He is also an advisor on Race Relations to the York Region Board of Education. Mr. Kanuck is a former Justice of the Peace in Sri Lanka, a position that required him, among other judicial functions, to investigate human rights violations. He was also Chairman and Managing Director of the Regional Development Board in the Ministry of Regional Development in Sri Lanka. He also functioned as a Director of the National Youth Service Council in Sri Lanka's Prime Minister's Office. Mr. Kanuck has a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Public Administration from Ryerson University, Toronto, a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Ceylon and an Executive Diploma in Public Administration from the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. The City University of California also awarded him an Honourary Doctorate Degree in Public Administration. He is a graduate of the Canadian Institute of Certified Administrative Managers and a Fellow of the British Institute of Management, England.


Michel Lalonde is Reeve of the East Hawkesbury municipal council, having served over the last 20 years as Councillor and as Deputy Reeve. He was appointed to the Commission in December 1997. In 1993, Mr. Lalonde served as Warden of the Council for the United Counties of Prescott and Russell. He was subsequently elected to the Council's executive, planning and public works committees. He received the Award of Merit for the County of Prescott for the year 1985 and also served as President of the Prescott Mutual Insurance Board and of the Hawkesbury and District General Hospital Board. A farmer by occupation, Mr. Lalonde is an active participant in the local farming community. He served from 1989 to 1996 on the board of directors of the Glengarry, Prescott and Russell Local Agricultural Employment Board and as President of the Prescott Peer Review Committee for Environmental Farm Plan from 1993 to 1997.


Peter Li is the General Manager of Sing Tao Daily News, Eastern Edition. Mr. Li was appointed to the Commission in September 1997. He is a member of the Chinese Canadian Development Committee of the Hospital for Sick Children Foundation and sits on the Asian Business Committee of Metro Toronto and York Region's Junior Achievement. Mr. Li was a member of Canada Trust's Asian Advisory Council. He has also served as a Director of the Chinese Information and Community Services and was a past Vice-President of the Chinese Canadian Advertising, Media and Marketing Association. Mr. Li is a former General Manager of Hotel Victoria and Project Administrator of the Chinatown Centre.


Judith-Ann Manning was appointed to the Commission in February 2000.   Ms. Manning is President of Manning Consultants, a barrier-free consulting company specializing in accessibility and disability issues. She majored in Criminology and Law while at university. A lifelong volunteer, she is currently Co-ordinator of the University of Toronto's Wheelchair Access Committee and has held the positions of Chair of the North York Advisory Committee For Persons With Disabilities, co-Chair of the Board of Directors of the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation, and vice-Chair of the Toronto Transit Commission's Advisory Committee on Accessible Transportation.  As well, she is a friend on Transport Canada’s Accessible Transportation: A1E09 – Committee on Transportation Accessibility and Mobility.


Marnie Paikin was appointed to the Commission in September 1996. She is a past President of the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews, and a recipient of the Province of Ontario's "Outstanding Woman Award" and of the Human Relations Award of the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews. She has been inducted into the Hamilton Gallery of Distinction and has been appointed a Member of the Order of Canada. Ms. Paikin is currently a Director of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.


Abdul Hai Patel was appointed to the Commission in April 1999.  Mr. Patel received his primary education in India, secondary education in Barbados and post-secondary education at York University.  He is currently employed with Ontario Hydro as a Systems Technical Specialist. 

Mr. Patel is a recipient of the Canada 125 commemorative medal from the Governor General for Community Service.  He is a recipient of the Volunteer Service Award from the Ministry of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation, a member of the South & West Asian consultative committee of the Toronto Police, and a coordinator of the Islamic Coordinating Council of Imams-Canada.  Mr. Patel is also the Vice-Chair of the Association of Employees for Employment Equity  with New Horizon Solutions Inc., a division of Ontario Power Generation Company and serves as a member of the Provincial Committee of Power Workers Union on Employment Equity and Diversity.


Christiane Rabier was appointed to the Commission in April 1999.  Ms. Rabier received her PhD from the University of Nice-Sophia-Antipolis; she received her Masters from the University of Montreal and studied public law at the University of Montpellier in France.  She is currently Chair of the Department of Political Science and Vice-Dean of Social Sciences and Humanities at Laurentian University in Sudbury. 

Ms. Rabier is active within the francophone community in Sudbury and has worked on a program for francophone women to attend post secondary studies, as well as served as a consultant with TV Ontario on Continuing Education.  She also served as a volunteer with Canada’s Special Olympics in 1998 and Operation Red Nose in 1999.


Mae Radford was appointed to the Commission in April 1999.  Ms. Radford received a diploma in nursing from the Toronto Western Hospital and a Bachelor of Arts in health administration from York University.  She is currently the manager of volunteer services, overseeing operations of a team of 1700 volunteers who deliver friendly visiting, palliative care volunteer visiting, transportation, and Meals on Wheels for the VON Hamilton-Wentworth.

Ms. Radford is a member of the Coalition of Community Health and Support Services, which advocates for community-based health care.  She is a member of the Ontario Community Support Association and the Chair of District B.  Ms. Radford is the vice-chair of the Citizen Committee for Violence Against Women for the City of Burlington.


Claudette Robinson was appointed to the Commission in March 1998. She studied at the University of Ottawa and McMaster University. Ms. Robinson is the French Coordinator at Sheridan College and a language consultant for corporate clients. She has co-authored a series of French readers for elementary and secondary schools. She was the author and co-author of three national French television series for TVO educational programs one of which she hosted. She has been consultant for the Halton Board of Education, has taught at the University of Ottawa summer school and has been Principal of the Teaching French as a Second Language course for the Ministry of Education.


Richard Théberge was appointed to the Commission in February 2002.  He is a lawyer, policy analyst and communications consultant.  He has held senior posts in the federal government analyzing and developing policies in connection with business and corporate law.  He has volunteered with many organizations that work with the youth and disability communities.  He has been recognized as a patron of deaf youth by the Jules Leger Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, as well as awarded a lifetime honourary membership in the Canadian Council of Independent Laboratories for his years of work on behalf of the independent testing industry.


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