The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) congratulates Patricia DeGuire on her reappointment as Chief Commissioner, effective August 19, 2023.
Chief Commissioner DeGuire is a Black public servant leader committed to meaningful change. She has been a mediator, adjudicator, and arbitrator in human rights and many other areas of law for more than 30 years. She was called to the bar in 1993, and, before her appointment, served as a deputy judge on the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, and on various provincial and federal boards and tribunals.
Chief Commissioner DeGuire is known as an impactful mediator. She has played a leading role in many equity organizations, particularly related to racism, anti-Black racism, gender equality and equity, and the well-being of youth. She is a constitutional law scholar, and an avid mentor and coach for young people and adults in several professions.
In her two years leading the OHRC, she has spearheaded several major projects, some of which include releasing the Right to Read report on human rights issues affecting students with reading disabilities, developing an Action Plan to tackle anti-Black racism in Ontario’s publicly funded school system, the launch of the Daniel G. Hill Human Rights Awards, ongoing work with Peel Regional Police to address systemic racism in policing, and the Human Rights @ 60 conference marking the 60th anniversary of Ontario's Human Rights Code.
Chief Commissioner DeGuire was recently honoured with a Toronto Metropolitan University Viola Desmond Award for her outstanding achievement as a Black woman, a positive role model, and an advocate of Black/African-Canadian communities. Since its inception, she has been an avid participant in the Honourable Julius Alexander Isaac Diversity Moot, the only credit-based moot, which is run by students (the Black Law Students’ Association – Canada). As well, she served as an inaugural member of the board of Black North Initiative and the co-chair of the Mentorship Committee.
The OHRC looks forward to continuing to work with Chief Commissioner DeGuire to promote, protect and advance human rights.