(Kasari Govender/Photo by West Coast LEAF)

After 17 years as Canada’s only province without a Human Rights Commission, BC has appointed Kasari Govender as the first independent human rights commissioner.

A practicing lawyer, Govender serves as executive director of the non-profit organization West Coast LEAF (Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund).

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“Ms. Govender brings a wealth of expertise and experience to this role,” said David Eby, Attorney General, noting Govender’s long-standing commitments to equality rights and marginalized people.

“She is among Canada’s leading voices on human rights and I am confident her passion and dedication will lead to great success in her work as commissioner.”

Her appointment to the legislative assembly was unanimously approved by a special committee chaired by Nanaimo MLA Sheila Malcolmson.

Govender holds a law degree from the University of Victoria and a Master’s degree in international human rights law from the University of Oxford.

The position of ‘human rights commissioner’ was established as a result of amendments the BC’s Human Rights Code made after an eight-week consultation with the public in 2017.

As a non-partisan officer of the legislature, Govender will be responsible for promoting and protecting human rights, educating British Columbians on those rights, with particular regards to gender equity and LGBTQ+, as well as addressing issues of discrimination.

She will be serving a term of 5 years, starting September 3rd, 2019.

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