The Commission operates across Canada with a staff of approximately 290 people.
Browse this section to learn about our senior officials and what they do:
(Interim Chief Commissioner) Deputy Chief Commissioner
Charlotte-Anne Malischewski was appointed Deputy Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission in October 2022. She brings to the position extensive experience in human rights and administrative law, and her commitment to building a more just and equitable society.
Prior to joining the Commission, Ms. Malischewski practiced civil litigation in Toronto, with an emphasis on civil and professional liability, administrative, and public law. She has represented individual in human rights and constitutional law litigation, has acted as prosecution and defense counsel in professional disciplinary proceedings, and has acted in a range of commercial litigation matters.
During her time in private practice, Ms. Malischewski remained dedicated to social justice causes through an active pro bono practice. Her work included acting as a designated representative for unaccompanied minors before the Immigration and Refugee Board, acting as counsel to an intervener in an important privacy case at the Supreme Court of Canada, and in a landmark constitutional challenge to the practice of solitary confinement in federal prisons.
Ms. Malischewski previously served as a judicial clerk at the Federal Court of Appeal, worked in criminal and family law for the Newfoundland and Labrador Legal Aid Commission, and conducted research on human rights approaches to statelessness at the Calcutta Research Group in India.
Her experiences throughout her career deepened her commitment to human rights and access to justice issues.
She holds a BA Honours in International Studies and Music from Earlham College, a Masters with Distinction in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies from the University of Oxford, as well as a Bachelor of Civil Law and Bachelor of Laws (B.C.L. and LL.B.) from McGill University’s Faculty of Law. She was called to the Ontario Bar in 2016 and is a member of the Law Society of Ontario.
She was born and raised in St. John’s, Newfoundland and is a fiddle player with a passion for promoting traditional Newfoundland music.
Sasha Kiran Cragg-Gore
Sasha Kiran Cragg-Gore was appointed as full-time Commissioner at the Canadian Human Rights Commission in October 2022. He brings to the position extensive experience in the areas of the law that intersect with the lives of low-income people including criminal law, family law and immigration law.
Prior to joining the Commission, Mr. Cragg-Gore worked as a Coordinating Board Member at the Refugee Appeal Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada where he adjudicated refugee appeals and coordinated a team of fellow decision-makers. He has played multiple roles including the national lead on professional development and new member training.
Mr. Cragg-Gore also worked as a duty counsel lawyer in the Ontario court system with Legal Aid Ontario and as a staff lawyer at the Centre francophone du Grand Toronto, a francophone legal clinic that provides services to low-income populations. At the Centre francophone, he represented clients mainly in refugee, immigration and family law. He also developed initiatives and programs to support people living with HIV/AIDS and victims of domestic violence.
Mr. Cragg-Gore has assisted in resettling Syrian refugees, sat on the steering committee of the St. James Town Community Corner and provided pro bono legal services to the 2SLGBTQI+ community through the 519 legal clinic. He was also a board member of the Scarborough Community Legal Services clinic that provides legal advice and representation to low-income individuals in Scarborough before joining the Commission.
Mr. Cragg-Gore was born and raised in downtown Toronto by an East Indian mother and a Caucasian father. He holds a Bachelor degree in Political Science and Psychology as well as a law degree from McGill University, with an interest in aboriginal law and aboriginal legal perspectives.
Mr. Cragg-Gore is fluent in English, French, Spanish, and also has a proficiency in Portuguese and Hindi.
Jose Ordonez was appointed full-time Commissioner at the Canadian Human Rights Commission in January 2023. He brings to the position extensive experience in human rights and access to justice for vulnerable and marginalized individuals.
Prior to joining the Commission, Mr. Ordonez worked as a member of the Immigration and Refugee Board where he decided over refugee claims and specialized in gender-based cases. Mr. Ordonez worked domestically and internationally with gender-based violence survivors and people from various backgrounds affected by discrimination, poverty and mental health issues.
Mr. Ordonez has acquired expertise on issues related to gender-based violence, including trauma, intersectionality and sensitive approaches to questioning survivors. At the Immigration and Refugee Board, he took part in a gender taskforce, which heard claims specifically related to domestic violence, sexual violence, forced marriage and female genital mutilation, amongst others. Mr. Ordonez worked for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to assist national authorities to investigate and prosecute conflict-related sexual violence in the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He also trained police officers, judges, prosecutors and social workers on international children’s rights and human trafficking in Costa Rica, Honduras and Azerbaijan.
Mr. Ordonez represented domestic violence survivors and individuals from marginalized communities in their family law and child protection proceedings as a Staff Lawyer at Legal Aid Ontario. While in law school, he interned at Global Affairs Canada and at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
He holds a Master of Laws in Public International Law from Leiden University in the Netherlands, a Juris Doctor from the University of Ottawa and a Bachelor of Science from Western University.
Mr. Ordonez is fluent in English, French and Spanish and lives in Montreal, Quebec.
Dianna Scarth has spent the greater part of her career promoting human rights and addressing issues of discrimination and harassment. She resides in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she obtained her Bachelor of Arts, her Master of Social Work, and her Bachelor of Laws degrees.
Ms. Scarth spent the early part of her career working as a probation officer, as a social worker in an adolescent treatment centre, and as a field instructor for social work students. Those experiences deepened her understanding and personal commitment to issues of human rights and social justice issues.
Ms. Scarth served as Executive Director of the Manitoba Human Rights Commission from 1996 to 2012. It was a period of growth and change for the Commission,during which mediation options were expanded, a systemic approach to complaint resolutions was adopted and a number of new education programs for employers and youth were created under her direction. It was in this role as Executive Director for the Commission that Ms. Scarth received the Government of Manitoba Service Excellence Award for Leadership in 2008.
After leaving the Manitoba Human Rights Commission, Ms. Scarth took on various other roles including Visiting Professor in the Global College and Human Rights and Diversity Officer at her alma mater, the University of Winnipeg.
In 2017, she was appointed a member of the Manitoba Accessibility Advisory Council which has the responsibility to make recommendations to the minister regarding the development of standards under the Accessibility for Manitobans Act.
Ms. Scarth has always remained involved in community roles, including most recently as board advisor for the Legal Help Centre from 2012-2017.
Ms. Scarth was appointed part-time Commissioner to the Canadian Human Rights Commission in July 2018.
Julie Lassonde (she/they) is a bilingual lawyer, a member of the Law Society of Ontario and the Barreau du Québec, and an accredited mediator. She holds a joint Bachelor of Civil Law and Bachelor of Laws from McGill University, and a Master of Laws with interdisciplinary studies in visual arts from the University of Victoria.
Over the past few years, Me Lassonde has developed a business focused on social justice, in particular in the areas of harassment, discrimination and violence, including domestic violence. Her work has spanned training, mediation in workplaces, universities, and communities, as well as legal work in family law, mainly in the public and non-profit sectors.
From 2018 to 2020, they were a part-time member of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board of Ontario. They have been a member of several committees and boards of directors, including the Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Ontario (AJEFO). Their previous work also includes heading a family law research project at the Law Commission of Ontario, and managing the construction of the first Francophone women’s shelter in Toronto.
Me Lassonde is passionate about art. She won the Innovative Electronic Theses & Dissertations Award for her master’s thesis at the University of Victoria titled « Performant le droit », which combined the domains of law and performance art.
Valerie Richer is a lawyer, mediator, and former Chief of Atikameksheng Anishnawbek.
Ms. Richer has dedicated her career to working in human rights and on social justice issues. She was previously legal counsel at the Indian Claims Commission and the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and also served as a former member of the Human Rights Tribunal for Ontario.
Ms. Richer has also served as Strategic Advisor to the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN). She worked closely with stakeholders and First Nation governments when they first became included the Canadian Human Rights Act as a result of the repeal of Section 67 of the Act.
She is a graduate of the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa and has a Bachelor of Arts from Laurentian University. She is also a current member of the Indigenous Bar Association and the Law Society of Ontario.
As part-time member of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, Ms. Richer is now part of the team of Commissioners who render decisions on how to treat human rights complaints in federal jurisdiction.
Michael Gottheil is Canada's first Accessibility Commissioner, appointed under the Accessible Canada Act.
Mr. Gottheil brings many years of leadership experience in the Administrative Justice sector, having previously served as Chief of Commission and Tribunals of the Alberta Human Rights Commission, Chair of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario and Executive Chair of both the Environment and Land Tribunals Ontario and the Social Justice Tribunals Ontario. A graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School, he also practiced labour, employment and human rights law for close to 20 years. He is a frequent presenter at conferences and seminars, and has written widely on human rights, accessibility and inclusion, administrative law, institutional design and alternative models of dispute resolution.
Mr. Gottheil is a experienced adjudicator and mediator. He has contributed to the rich body of human rights and administrative law jurisprudence in Canada. He has also successfully resolved complex, multi-party matters in the private, public and broader public sectors. His various senior executive roles within the public sector has provided him with acute insights into the challenges and opportunities for creative resolutions of disputes involving important public policy issues.
Mr. Gottheil is committed to fostering collaboration between government, the private sector, community organizations and across civil society more broadly. He always seeks to find opportunities for practical, positive change across diverse interests. Mr. Gottheil understands that we all have both legal and civic responsibilities, as well as a moral obligation to make justice accessible and meaningful for those who need it most.
As a person with a disability, Mr. Gottheil has always been open to sharing his experiences, and to be inquisitive about other's differences, challenges and insights. He is a firm believer that by listening and hearing diverse perspectives, we all grow stronger, individually and as a community.
Pay Equity Commissioner
Lori Straznicky was appointed as the Pay Equity Commissioner in November 2022. She brings to the position extensive public and private sector expertise in proactive pay equity, workplace and industrial relations, and human rights.
Ms. Straznicky has dedicated her career to advancing workplace equity and fairness in a variety of contexts. Prior to joining the Commission, she was a Senior Executive in the federal public service, where she provided strategic policy advice and recommendations to the Minister of Labour. She played a key role in the creation of Canada's Pay Equity Act and has extensive experience working with stakeholders in the federal jurisdiction. She has spoken on the importance of pay equity as a tool to close the gender wage gap at national and international events.
Ms. Straznicky values the role that administrative bodies play in providing access to justice and believes in the power of alternate dispute resolution, particularly mediation, to resolve differences and bring about lasting change between workplace parties. It was through this lens that she provided practical advice as legal counsel to the Canadian Industrial Relations Board. As a lawyer in private practice, she advocated for clients before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal and was active in negotiating and signing what was then known as the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement in 2005 to ensure Nunavut Inuit were included in the agreement.
With this background, Ms. Straznicky approaches the role of Pay Equity Commissioner with sensitivity to the perspectives of all workplace parties.
She is a member in good standing of the Law Society of Ontario. She holds a B.A. in English Literature from McGill University and a LL.B from the University of Ottawa. She lives with her family in the Ottawa Valley.
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