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Meet our Commissioners

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Commissioners have in-depth knowledge and expertise in human rights issues and issues relating to vulnerable populations, public policy, social values, and concepts of fairness, justice and public service. 

Chief Commissioner Patricia DeGuire

Patricia DeGuire is a Woman-of-colour who pushes boundaries to ensure access to justice, equality and equity. She has a passion for the rule of law, and a commitment to public service, mentoring, coaching and legal education.

A member of the Ontario bar since February 1993, she is a professional adjudicator/arbitrator/mediator/coach, and was a Deputy Judge with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice – SCC Division. For over 25 years, she has served on provincial and federal tribunals, including Vice-Chair at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, the Immigration Appeal Division/IRB, and the OLRB/Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal. She has also held senior leadership roles with JusticeNet, Legal Aid Ontario, the Ontario and Canadian Bar Associations, and the WLAO. Patricia was a member of the CABL, OBA, LSUC and WLAO mentorship programs and is an avid mentor and coach for many youths and adults in the legal and other professions. She is a constitutional law scholar; holds a Fellow of Chartered Insurance Professionals of Canada – Claims Major; and is co-author and co-editor of the first Canadian Insurance Dictionary.

Patricia served in leading roles with Black North Initiative and is a founder of the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers and the Black Law Student Association Canada. She also was a frequent lecturer at the Organization of Commonwealth Caribbean Bars Association International Law Forum, and with the Faculty of Society of Ontario Adjudicators and Regulators. She is the founder of the Forum for Education for At-Risk Youths, and speaks often to students at all levels of schools. Patricia’s many career honours include the BLSA-C 2021 Impact Award, Canadian Bar Association 2020 Touchstone Award, CBA Rare-Find in April 2012, and the OBA’s Distinguished Service Award in 2020. She also received Legal Aid Ontario’s 2007 GEM Award for outstanding public service for providing access to justice access for low-income individuals and communities, the 2006 Law Society of Upper Canada Lincoln Alexander Award, and the BLSAC named the cup for the Julius Alexander Diversity Moot in her honour – the Patricia DeGuire Diversity Moot Cup.

Appointment: August 19, 2021 – August 18, 2023; August 19, 2023 - August 18, 2026

Commissioner Jewel Amoah

Jewel Amoah is a Canadian-Trinidadian human rights lawyer, activist and academic. Jewel has facilitated organizational change in various domestic and international public sector entities by raising awareness of harassment, discrimination, human rights and equity in teaching, learning and working environments. These environments have provided an opportunity to apply and expand her academic analysis of intersectionality and its impact on attaining equitable outcomes based on race, gender, gender identity and disability identities, among others.

Jewel is committed to research, advocacy and activism to inspire and produce systemic change, enhance access to justice and the full enjoyment of rights. She is a graduate of McMaster University, the University of Ottawa and the University of Cape Town. She lectured for four years at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and is currently the Human Rights & Equity Advisor with the Halton District School Board.

Appointment: May 28, 2020 – May 27, 2025

Commissioner Randall Arsenault

Randall Arsenault is a 19-year veteran of the Toronto Police Service. Randall has experience in Youth Services, the Community Response Unit, Street Crime Unit, Criminal Investigative Bureau, Primary Response and has worked with the Aboriginal Peacekeeping Unit for over 20 years. Randall was also the Service's first Community Engagement Officer. An early adapter of social networking, Randall uses his global reach to engage and educate. Randall speaks at numerous conferences and has facilitated workshops on cyber bullying, effective engagement strategies and modern day policing.

Randall has taken leadership roles in many grassroots initiatives, and local and national charities. He is the recipient of awards and recognition for community outreach and engagement, and is an advocate for mental health awareness. Randall is a licensed carpenter, and in his spare time enjoys the outdoors.

Re-appointment: January 9, 2023 – January 8, 2025

Commissioner Brian Eyolfson

Brian Eyolfson is a lawyer who practices alternative dispute resolution, providing independent investigation, mediation and adjudication services, primarily in the area of human rights.

He was a Commissioner with the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, from September 2016 to June 2019. Before that, Brian served as Acting Deputy Director with the Legal Services Branch of Ontario’s Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. From 2007 to 2016, he was a full-time Vice-Chair with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, where he adjudicated and mediated many human rights applications. Brian was a Senior Staff Lawyer with Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto (ALS) where he practiced human rights, Aboriginal and administrative law. He also represented ALS at the Ipperwash Inquiry. Brian also previously served as Counsel to the OHRC.

Brian has a B.Sc. in psychology and an LL.B. from Queen’s University, and an LL.M., specializing in administrative law, from Osgoode Hall Law School. He was called to the Ontario Bar in 1994. Brian is a member of Couchiching First Nation in Treaty #3 territory.

Appointment: November 12, 2022 – November 11, 2025

Commissioner Violetta Igneski

Violetta Igneski is a professor in ethics and political philosophy at McMaster University. For more than 18 years, her teaching and research have been focused on human rights, global justice and collective responsibility. She is a published author in leading journals and has presented her work at international conferences. In addition to her academic contributions, she has demonstrated a commitment to promoting an environment of respect and inclusion in various professional and administrative capacities, currently serving as Chair of the McMaster Research Ethics Board and Equity Officer in her department. She was awarded her PhD from the University of Toronto.

Re-appointment: January 9, 2023 – January 8, 2025

Commissioner Gary Pieters

Gary Pieters is an educator and has served as a member (part-time) of the Minister of Education's Advisory Council on Special Education since 2017, and as a member (part-time) of the Toronto Islands Residential Trust Corporation since 2020. He is a principal with the Toronto District School Board, and is a commissioner and past president of the Urban Alliance on Race Relations. He attended the University of Toronto and earned his Bachelor of Arts (BA) in African Studies and Political Science as a member of New College; and his Bachelor of Education (BEd) and Master of Education (MEd) at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/University of Toronto (OISE/UT).

Appointment: March 25, 2023 – March 24, 2026

Commissioner Sandi Bell

Sandi Bell identifies as a Black Indigenous woman with disabilities.  Her passion to rid society of and prevent racism, discrimination, and oppression is more than a topic or research project; it is a way of life.

Sandi’s work in disability rights has been extensive and in many different areas. In the late seventies and eighties, as a school Trustee in Hamilton, she spearheaded initiatives including advocacy flowing from Bill 82 to ensure that children with disabilities previously denied public education were welcome with needed supports. She was a member of the Mental Health & Law Advisory Committee of the Canadian Mental Health Commission. More recently, she was appointed Chair of the AODA Health Care Standards Development Committee, which was tasked to recommend accessibility standards to the Ontario Minister of Seniors and Accessibility and the Minister of Health to reduce and prevent barriers in health care in Ontario hospitals.  She also served for two terms as part-time Commissioner for the Canadian Human Rights Commission. In her roles as a rights educator, mediator, Commissioner, and a member of the Appeal Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board, she gained a more fulsome understanding of the access to justice barriers that many individuals who experience discrimination routinely face.

The entirety of Sandi’s professional and volunteer endeavours have, in one way or another, been in pursuit of equality, human rights, social justice and inclusion for diverse and marginalized communities. With well over 30 years of experience in the areas of human rights, anti-racism, anti-oppression, and equity, she has worked closely with many different equality-seeking communities. The totality of her experiences offers her great insight into the experiences and impacts of discrimination based on one, multiple and intersecting protected grounds, and also on the larger context and the systemic barriers and issues that contribute to ongoing systemic discrimination.

Appointment: March 23, 2023 – March 24, 2025


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