Our People

The Commission operates across Canada with a staff of fewer than 200 employees.
Browse this section to learn about our senior officials and what they do:

Chief Commissioner Marie-Claude Landry, Ad. E.
Deputy Chief Commissioner Geneviève Chabot
Commissioner Sheila M. MacPherson
Commissioner Dianna Scarth
Commissioner Rachel Leck
Commissioner Joanna Harrington

Marie-Claude Landry, Ad.E.
Chief Commissioner

Marie-Claude Landry, Ad.E. was appointed as Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission in March 2015, marking a new phase in a career defined by community involvement. Native of Mont-Joli, QC, she obtained her Bachelor’s of Law from the Université de Sherbrooke in 1988, and founded her own law firm located in Cowansville, QC in 1993.

Ms. Landry’s desire to contribute to the well-being of her community has guided her towards many leadership positions, including President of the Centre de santé et de services sociaux La Pommeraie and President of the local Chamber of Commerce. She has worked to improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable members of her community, in particular by providing support to the United Way of Haute-Yamaska, as well as Au Diapason, a regional center for palliative care. Ms. Landry has also presided over the administrative body of the pediatric center “Main dans la main”, inspired by the works of Dr. Gilles Julien.

In 2005, the newspaper La Voix de l’Est presented Ms. Landry with the “Voix de l’Excellence” award, and in 2008 she received the Leadership award from the Association québécoise d’établissements de santé et de services sociaux. To recognize Ms. Landry’s important and long-standing contribution to the community, the City of Cowansville made her a city ambassador in October 2015, and presented her with the keys to the municipality. That same year, she was also named Personality of the Year by the community of Brome-Missisquoi.

In addition to her active law practice, Ms. Landry has held numerous positions of distinction, including bâtonnière of the Barreau de Bedford, member of the Barreau du Québec general council, and first President of the Disciplinary Tribunal in Federal Prison Institutions for the Quebec Region. In addition, Ms. Landry has served as member of both the Inquiry Committee for the Canadian Judicial Council, and the Review Committee of the Ordre des dentistes du Québec on recommendation by the Office des professions du Québec. From 1991 to 2001, Ms. Landry was member of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.

In recognition of her outstanding work, community outreach and engagement, Ms. Landry was awarded the distinction Avocat émérite from the Quebec Bar, in 2009. In September 2015 she received the Merit Award from the Barreau de Bedford for her leadership, her exceptional contribution to the community, her leadership in advocating for the recognition of regional institutions, as well as her career in defending public justice.

Always conscious of placing people at the heart of her actions, Ms. Landry, as Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, intends to continue protecting people in vulnerable circumstances by working with communities across Canada in a spirit of engagement and collaboration. She lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

 

Geneviève Chabot
Deputy Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission

Geneviève Chabot was appointed Deputy Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission in December 2017. A native of Québec City, she holds a B.A. in Psychology from Laval University, a combined LL.L./J.D. degree from the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, and a Master of Laws (LL.M.) from Harvard Law School. In 2009-2010, she clerked for the Honourable Justice Louis LeBel at the Supreme Court of Canada. She is called to the Law Society of Ontario, the New York Bar, and was a member of the Law Society of Yukon from 2013-2017.

Prior to joining the Commission, Ms. Chabot practiced civil litigation, both in the private and public sector. As an associate in the litigation department of a prominent national law firm, she had the opportunity to work on complex commercial litigation and class action files. In 2013, she moved to the Yukon to join the Department of Justice Canada, where she developed an expertise in the areas of Aboriginal law, constitutional law, administrative law, and Crown liability. She also had the privilege to listen and learn from the experiences of local Aboriginal people through her participation in the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women and Girls and the Independent Assessment Process for Former Students of Indian Residential Schools. These experiences have had a profound impact on how Ms. Chabot approaches her life and work.

In 2016, Ms. Chabot was appointed Deputy Chair of the Yukon Human Rights Commission. In that role, she contributed to the promotion of human rights in the Yukon and the resolution of complaints filed under the Yukon Human Rights Act. In order to further her knowledge in the area of human rights law, she completed a certificate in Human Rights Theory and Practice from Osgoode Hall Law School.

Very involved in her community, Ms. Chabot has held a number of leadership positions, including President of the Canadian Bar Association - Yukon Branch, member of the Canadian Bar Association’s National Board of Directors, and member of the boards of the Yukon Legal Services Society and the Yukon Public Legal Education Association. In 2016, she was appointed to the Federal Judicial Advisory Committee for Yukon.

Ms. Chabot has taught courses on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Evidence at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law. She has presented at legal education conferences and is the author of several publications in the areas of human rights, constitutional law, and private international law.

 

Sheila MacPherson
Commissioner

Ms. MacPherson is partner and the most senior civil litigator at Lawson Lundell LLP in Yellowknife.

She has been practicing law since 1988 and has experience at all levels of court throughout Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. Some of her specific areas of expertise include administrative law, constitutional law and human rights law. She also has extensive litigation experience in child protection law, family law, adoption cases and cases involving same-sex rights.

In addition to her legal work in the private sector, Ms. MacPherson serves as Law Clerk of the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories. In this role she is responsible for reviewing all legislation before the Assembly to ensure it is constitutional and for providing advice to the Speaker and Members of the Assembly.

She has served as counsel for the Government of the Northwest Territories on child protection cases and is currently responsible for the legal conduct of child protection matters in Nunavut. As such, she appears before the courts of both jurisdictions on these and other civil litigation matters on a regular basis.

Ms. MacPherson is a member of the Canadian Bar Association and a Council Member with the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. She is also a Fellow with the Litigation Counsel of America and has been recognized by Best Lawyers in Canada for her litigation in both family law and personal injury. She generously donates much of her personal time to various organizations in her community.

 

Dianna Scarth
Commissioner

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.

 

Rachel Leck
Commissioner

Ms. Rachel Leck was appointed part-time Commissioner to the Canadian Human Rights Commission in September 2018.

Ms. Leck was born in Timmins, Ontario, and grew up in Midland, Ontario. She began her legal career in Southern Georgian Bay, before relocating to Ottawa, and has represented clients all across Ontario. She has experience at all levels of court in Ontario.

Her specific areas of expertise include employment law, human rights law, and insurance law. She also has experience in family and child protection law. She appears in court for civil litigation matters on a regular basis. Ms. Leck’s litigation practice focuses on early assessment and resolution of matters though negotiation and mediation. She is currently a civil litigator at McCague Borlack LLP’s Ottawa office

For the last 20 years, Ms. Leck has volunteered on various boards in Toronto, Simcoe County, and Ottawa. She currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Youville Centre and the Orchestre des jeunes de l’Ontario français. She is also deeply committed to the development of a diverse and ethically robust legal profession. To that end, Ms. Leck speaks annually to first year students at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, and mentors a number of law students and articling candidates, both formally and informally.

Ms. Leck obtained her J.D. from the University of Ottawa, and an honours degree in media studies and journalism from the University of Guelph-Humber. Called to the bar of Ontario in 2010, Ms. Leck is also a member of the Canadian Bar Association and the County of Carleton Law Association.

 

Joanna Harrington
Commissioner

Joanna Harrington is a published and award-winning scholar who has served as a law professor for almost 20 years. She has taught at the University of Nottingham, Western University and the University of Alberta, where she currently serves as Full Professor with the Faculty of Law. She has taught law all over the world as an invited professor at institutions in Australia, China, Japan, Puerto Rico and Suriname.

Her teaching and research activities focus on topics at the intersection of constitutional law and international law, with her published work examining matters of foreign relations law, the law of international organizations, the interplay between national bills of rights and international human rights law, and issues of international and transnational criminal law.

Dr. Harrington has also worked as an adviser on international human rights law, serving a two-year term as the Scholar-in-Residence with the Legal Affairs Bureau of Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (now Global Affairs Canada). She also participated in the negotiation of new international instruments at the United Nations, the Organization of American States, and the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and served in New York as a member of Canada’s official delegation to the United Nations General Assembly.

From 2010 to 2015, Dr. Harrington served as an Associate Dean at the University of Alberta with cross-disciplinary responsibilities for the quality and standards of graduate education. At a university with over 7000 graduate students, she gained extensive experience in collaborative decision-making, formal and informal dispute resolution, and university policy development to meet the needs of graduate students.

Dr. Harrington received the Canadian Association of Law Teachers Prize for Academic Excellence in 2018. She has also worked as a consultant with international and national institutions, participated in outreach programs with NGOs, and contributed to training programs in international law for judges, diplomats and military officers.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of British Columbia, a Juris Doctor from the University of Victoria, an Academy of European Law diploma in human rights law from the European University Institute in Italy, and a Ph.D. in Law from the University of Cambridge.

Dr. Harrington was appointed a part-time Commissioner at the Canadian Human Rights Commission in November 2018.