THUNDER BAY – Ontario has appointed five new part-time commissioners to the Ontario Human Rights Commission:
Commissioner 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 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 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 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 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.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission was established in 1961 to administer the Ontario Human Rights Code. Its mandate includes developing public policy on human rights, conducting public inquiries and promoting a culture of human rights in the province. The commission may also monitor and report on anything related to the state of human rights in Ontario.
Appointments to the Ontario Human Rights Commission are made by the Lieutenant Governor with the advice of the Executive Council of Ontario, in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code.