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New members appointed to Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission

by HR Law Canada

In a significant reshuffle, the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission (SHRC) will see seven new members joining its ranks, including a chief and vice-chief commissioner, announced Justice Minister and Attorney General Bronwyn Eyre.

This change comes as the terms of the current members, including that of Interim Chief Commissioner Barry Wilcox, are set to expire.

Barry Wilcox, who has been a part of the SHRC since 2011 and assumed the role of Interim Chief Commissioner in 2021, is slated to retire at the end of January 2024. Minister Eyre expressed her gratitude towards the outgoing commissioners for their service, particularly highlighting Wilcox’s dedicated leadership. “Interim Chief Commissioner Barry Wilcox, who has diligently served and led the SHRC,” Eyre said, acknowledging his contribution.

The incoming members are poised to infuse new perspectives into the Commission’s work. The appointees include:

  • Treena Sikora from Saskatoon, taking on the role of Chief Commissioner. A lawyer with a diverse background, Sikora has previously chaired the Saskatchewan Police Commission, served as a hearing officer with the Office of Residential Tenancies, and lectured at the University of Regina. Her international experience includes work in Namibia with the Canadian Lawyers Association for International Human Rights.
  • Rish Malhotra, also from Saskatoon, appointed as the Deputy Chief Commissioner. Malhotra, the President and CEO of International Road Dynamics Inc., brings his experience as a professional engineer and board member of various organizations, including Hope Restored Canada. He is notably active in combating human trafficking and sexual exploitation.
  • Judy Desjarlais from the Northern Hamlet of Michell, representing the Buffalo River First Nation. Desjarlais, who is Dene, serves as the town administrator for Michell Village and brings extensive knowledge of the justice system from her time as a justice worker.
  • Darlene Cooper of Saskatoon, currently employed at Express Employment Professionals. Cooper has served on several boards, including Global Gathering Place and St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation, demonstrating her diverse experience in community service.
  • Melissa Ong from Casa Rio, a prominent member of the Filipino community in Saskatoon. Ong’s experience spans roles as a coach, board member, and executive director of the non-profit Saskatchewan Elocution and Debate Association, emphasizing her commitment to civic engagement.
  • Mubarik Syed, also from Saskatoon, a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat community. Syed has been instrumental in the construction of North America’s largest Ahmadiyya Muslim mosque and brings experience from serving on various boards, including the Saskatchewan Police Commission.
  • Alan Thomarat from Thode, holding a Masters degree in political science/public administration. Thomarat’s extensive experience includes chairing Saskatchewan Polytechnic and founding Galt Resources Strategy Group. He has also served on various boards and in municipal government.

The SHRC plays a critical role in promoting and enforcing human rights in Saskatchewan. The introduction of these new members marks a fresh chapter in the Commission’s ongoing efforts to address and uphold human rights issues in the province.

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