Human Rights Legal Support Centre

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About Us


Board of Directors

The Human Rights Code provides that the work of the HRLSC is governed by a Board of Directors appointed by the Government of Ontario. The Board is comprised of seven members, plus the Chair.

Meeting Minutes

Ena Chadha

Ena Chadha was appointed as Chair of the Human Rights Legal Support Centre Board of Directors in February 2018. Ena was Director of Litigation with the Advocacy Resource Centre for the Handicapped (ARCH) Disability Law Centre from 2000 to 2007. Ms. Chadha's litigation background has involved human rights challenges before various administrative tribunals and trial and appellate courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada. Ms. Chadha is actively involved in legal education and writes on equality rights issues. She is a graduate of the College of Law of the University of Saskatchewan, holds a Master of Laws degree from Osgoode Hall Law School and was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1994. Appointment February 21, 2018 to February 20, 2021. 

Patrick Nadjiwan

Patrick Nadjiwan

Patrick Nadjiwan was appointed as Interim Chair of the Human Rights Legal Support Centre in July 2017 until February 2018. Mr. Nadjiwan is a member of the Chippewas of Nawash First Nation. Mr. Nadjiwan has practiced Aboriginal Law for the past twenty-two years, providing general legal counsel to clientele of First Nations Governments, Tribal Councils, Indigenous organizations, and Indigenous individuals. Mr. Nadjiwan operates his own legal firm, Nadjiwan Law Office, and has diverse experience in areas such as litigation, First Nation governance, corporate governance, administrative law, employment law, and constitutional law. Appointment September 17, 2009 to November 24, 2019. 

Nancy Gignac

Nancy Gignac has served as an elementary school teacher, vice-principal, and principal with the Greater Essex County District School Board. She also served as Supervising Principal of Special Education, primarily responsible for special education programs and services in both elementary and secondary schools. Ms. Gignac has been a Program Developer and Sessional Instructor with the Faculty of Education at the University of Windsor, and is currently working as a self-employed education consultant for Queen’s University. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Windsor-Essex Children's Aid Society and the Maryvale Adolescent and Family Services and the John McGivney Children’s Centre as both board member and President. Appointment September 17, 2009 to November 24, 2019.

Mary Gusella

Mary Gusella

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. Appointment September 17, 2009 to November 24, 2019. 

Karen Drake 

Karen Drake

Karen Drake is an associate professor at Osgoode Hall Law School at York 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 previously clerked with the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Federal Court of Canada and currently serves as a Commissioner with the Ontario Human Rights Commission and is on the Board of Directors of the Indigenous Bar Association. Appointment August 17, 2017 to August 16, 2020.

Tamar Witelson

Tamar Witelson is Legal Director of the Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children (METRAC) and former staff lawyer at Women's Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF). Her community involvement includes being a member of the Toronto Police Services Sexual Assault Advisory Committee, member of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board Advisory Committee, and member of the Toronto Region Domestic Violence Court Advisory Committee. Ms. Witelson is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada and she holds a Bachelor of Laws degree from Queen's University and a Master of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Western Ontario. Appointment February 8, 2018 to February 7, 2020. 

Gilles Levasseur

Gilles Levasseur is a university professor in Business, Economics and Law in Ottawa and lectures at six other universities in Canada. He has been lecturing for years abroad in China and France. Over the years, he chaired several provincial and national organizations in law, business, languages issues and health. After graduating from law (JD and LL.L) and in business and economics, Mr. Levasseur completed studies in business and law in four other universities. He is a member of the Ontario and Quebec Bars. During the past 10 years, he has received two Queen Elizabeth Jubilee awards and the Lieutenant Governor's Award of Ontario. Appointment February 21, 2018 to February 20, 2020. 

Kowthar Omar

Kowthar Omar is a Toronto District School Board educator whose pedagogy is grounded in social justice, equity and critical thinking. Her research and interests are focused on understanding and recognizing the attitudinal and systemic barriers that prevent students' equitable participation in their school experience. Ms Omar has served as the elementary teacher co-chair of the Alternative Schools Advisory Committee from 2014 to 2017, and continues to be a member highlighting the significance of Alternative Education within TDSB. As a photojournalist, writer, and community advocate, she uses the power of storytelling to mitigate stereotypes and by nurturing perspective-taking in readers. Appointment February 21, 2018 to February 20, 2020.