Commissioners have in-depth knowledge and expertise in human rights and issues relating to vulnerable populations, public policy, social values, and concepts of fairness, justice and public service.
The Commissioners are appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council for a 5 year term. One member is designated as Chair.
- Judy White Q.C., Chair
- Kimberly J. Mackay, Vice-Chair
- Smita Joshi, Commissioner
- Ray McIssac, Commissioner
- Madelyn Kelly, Commissioner
- Gobhina Nagarajah, Commissioner
- Victor Lundrigan, Commissioner
- Lauren Carter, Commissioner
- Karen Chaisson, Commissioner
Judy White Q.C. is a Mi’kmaq grandmother and member of the Flat Bay Band. She currently resides in Conne River, NL. Ms. White completed a Bachelor of Laws degree from Dalhousie Law School with particular emphasis upon Aboriginal Law. Ms. White also completed the Intensive Program of Lands, Resources and First Nations Government at Osgoode Hall Law School. Ms. White has recently completed the Leading Peoples and Investing in Sustaining Communities, an Indigenous certificate program at Harvard Business School. Ms. White has completed the Chartered Directors Program at McMaster University. Ms. White has served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Assembly of First Nations and a partner with the law firm of McDonald White located at Conne River, Newfoundland Labrador, specializing in aboriginal law. She has served as the Self Government Advisor for Miawpukek First Nation. Judy White has served as a Policy and Planning Specialist for Women’s Policy Office on Aboriginal Women’s Issues. She has vast board and governance experience and has served many agencies and in various capacities including the National Centre for First Nations Governance, the First Nations Statistical Institute, Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, Board of Regents for Memorial University. Ms. White is currently the Assistant Deputy Minister of Indigenous Affairs and Intergovernmental department with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.
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Kim Mackay is a lawyer with over eighteen years of experience as a civil litigator in Newfoundland and Labrador. Currently, Ms. Mackay is an Area Director working in child protection and criminal defence work with the Newfoundland and Labrador Legal Aid Commission. Ms. Mackay has advised clients on issues of human rights, employment law, privacy, personal injury, and wills and estates. Ms. Mackay teaches undergraduate courses in the Law and Society faculty at Memorial University. Ms. Mackay has been the Vice Chair of the Human Rights Commission since 2015 with a particular interest in human rights as it impacts corrections and persons living with mental illness. Ms. Mackay was born and raised in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador where she lives with her two sons.
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Dr. Smita Joshi, a Newfoundlander by choice, is a graduate of, Memorial University of Newfoundland and holds a doctoral of education from the University of Toronto.
Smita has worked for the provincial government of Newfoundland and Labrador for over 32 years and has held various leadership positions with the Department of Education and the provincial Office of Immigration and Multiculturalism. Nationally, and provincially, Dr. Joshi is known for her contributions to Social Studies, Human Rights education Enterprise Education and Multicultural Education in the K-12 school system. In 1994, Smita chaired the provincial Education Committee that developed the policy on Multicultural Education to guide and shape provincial school curriculum.
In 2007, she was appointed as the Director of Multiculturalism of the newly established Office of Immigration and Multiculturalism. Smita was responsible for the development and implementation of the policy on multiculturalism.
Smita believes in partnerships and has served on several provincial and national committees including the Conference Board of Canada’s Leaders table on Immigration. She was the co-chair of the Federal-Provincial- Territorial network of Officials Responsible for Multicultural Issues and the chair for the Multicultural Committee for the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. She is the author of several publications and a frequent conference speaker.
She was the co-chair of the Federal-Provincial- Territorial network of Officials Responsible for Multicultural Issues and the chair for the Multicultural Committee for the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. She is the author of several publications and a frequent conference speaker.
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Madelyn Kelly is a resident of Happy Valley Goose Bay, NL. She is a graduate of MUN and holds a BA, major in Psychology and English Literature, and a BAED major in Education. Her professional career spans 30+ years in the provinces educational system, teaching high school English and Literature. Her career also includes 6 years of teaching at the College of the North Atlantic as an instructor in the Aboriginal Cadet Program and the Women in Trades and Technology Program.
Madelyn served on the Town Council of HVGB for two terms. During that time she had many and various opportunities to serve her town and the province on committees and boards. She has held board positions on the following: Town Council HVGB, Tourism Board HVGB, Economic Development Board, Legal Aid Commission, MMSB, Combined Councils of Labrador, Wellness Coalition of NL and the Labrador Winter Games.
While on the Town Council of HVGB she served as Labrador’s Rep on the Municipalities NL Board of Directors. In that capacity she chaired the Community Cooperation Committee and served as the Labrador Rep on the Urban Municipalities Committee.
Encounters with Canada, a student focused career organization, nominated her for the Queen’s Jubilee Medal which she received for 25 years of service to the placement of Labrador youth in the program. As a town councilor, she was awarded the Wayne Earle Award for community service. Madelyn remains committed to her community, province and country.
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Gobhina Nagarajah was admitted to the Newfoundland and Labrador Bar in 2015 and works as a lawyer in private practice. She practices civil litigation, administrative law, family law, wills, estates, immigration law and real estate. Gobhina has previously sat on the Board of Directors of Eastern Edge Gallery, a non-profit artist-run centre, and is also an active member of Amnesty International Canada.
Gobhina grew up in Ontario and moved to St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador in 2015.
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Victor has both a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree of Social Work from Memorial University of Newfoundland. A career spanning over forty years, he worked in various fields of human services and has extensive experience in working with individuals and families with complex needs. In 2017, he ended his professional social work career working with Adult Community Corrections.
In addition, Victor is a valued volunteer in his community. As dedicated volunteer, he has devoted many hours with a multitude of government and non-profit organizations, both provincially and nationally. His volunteerism includes: Violence Awareness and Action Trainer, Canadian Parents for French, Burin Heritage Committee, Mental Health Interagency Committee, Child Protection Team, Board of Eastern Community Health, Complaints Committee – Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Social Workers, Board and founding member of Burin Peninsula Voice Against Violence. Victor‘s volunteer efforts have been recognized by the community, winning NAPE’s 2017 Community Volunteer Award. Victor enjoys working as a team member and working through complex issues with respectful discussion with the hope of arriving at a more just society.
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Lauren Carter is 18 years old and from Harbour Breton. She is currently studying at Memorial University to complete a Bachelor of Commerce Co-op degree. She is an avid volunteer and member of the Premier’s Youth Council. Lauren very much enjoys all sports and is an experienced public speaker.
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Karen graduated from Memorial University of NL in 1990 with a Bachelor of Social Work degree and returned to her hometown of Burin NL to accept work as a Community Corrections Social Worker. After 11 years in this field, she relocated to Nova Scotia and assumed the role of a frontline worker and later as a district casework supervisor in child protective services.
In 2004, Karen returned to Burin NL and for three years worked as a Mental Health Social Worker at Eastern Health. Since 2007, she has been with the Department of Justice and Public Safety as a Family Court Counsellor where her primary duties include providing co-parenting information and mediation services to families experiencing separation and divorce.
In addition to a very rewarding social work practice to date, Karen has volunteered with local and provincial citizen’s crime prevention organizations, assisted with family violence committee work , was a member of a local Jumpstart sports funding program and currently serves as a volunteer mediator with alternative measures program.
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