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 December 11, 2020. 

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 20, 2022.

Mary Joe Freire

Mary Joe Freire’s career and community involvement has been focused in areas that improve people’s lives. Early in her career, she was the Executive Director of The Portuguese Information Centre in Cambridge, Ontario. Later, as an employee in the Ontario Public Service, she progressed in various roles and eventually retired as a Regional Director from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. As a Regional Director, she worked in the Northern and South-Western regions of Ontario. Her community contributions have included board memberships in the not for profit sector, volunteering in the long-term care sector, and, most recently with the Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Centre. Mary Joe holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wilfrid Laurier University, and a Master of Public Administration degree from Queen’s University. She also completed an Executive Leadership program at The Rotman School of Management. Her combined employment, community service and education has contributed to her understanding of, and commitment to social justice issues, governance and accountability. Appointment February 21, 2020 to February 20, 2021.