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Appointee Biographies

Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (Tribunals Ontario)


Syed Muhammad Aslam Daud is a healthcare professional, and a humanitarian relief and community service champion with more than 25 years of experience in Humanitarian Aid, Emergency Medical Relief, Food Banks and Refugee Sponsorship and resettlement. He is well-travelled and has led humanitarian missions responding to natural disasters. Dr. Daud is an advocate of diversity and inclusiveness. His relationship with multicultural communities along with extensive experience as a board member in various governmental/non-governmental/non-profit decision-making bodies has made him effective and successful in achieving goals. He has received many awards and recognitions including awards from Prime Ministers, Governor General, Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal, Ontario Volunteer Service and City of Vaughan Awards.


Mario Silva is a Distinguished Fellow at Ryerson University, author and former elected official. He was appointed by the Government of Canada as the 2013 Chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. Dr. Silva is a graduate of the University of Toronto, the University of Sorbonne in Paris and holds a master’s degree in International Human Rights Law from Oxford University as well as a PhD in law from the National University of Ireland in Galway. He has been honored by the governments of Brazil, France and Portugal.


Anthony Tamburro served in the Canadian Armed Forces for 34 years in both the Royal Canadian Artillery and the Office of the Judge Advocate General. He retired in 2019 at the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. Highlights of his military career include flood-relief operations in Manitoba (1997), humanitarian work in Bosnia (1998), 11 years as a military prosecutor, three years as a legal advisor on human rights issues applicable to members of the Canadian Armed Forces, and two appearances in the Supreme Court of Canada. Anthony has a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Military and Strategic Studies from the Royal Military College of Canada as well as Bachelor of Laws (LLB) and Master of Laws (LLM) degrees from Osgoode Hall Law School.


Holly Gomes is a graduate of the University of Guelph and obtained her LL.B. from the University of Western Ontario. Holly commenced her legal practice in social justice law at a community legal clinic where she represented clients before various administrative tribunals. Following this, Holly entered private practice representing both employees and employers in workplace disputes such as contract and severance negotiations, wrongful dismissal actions and human rights claims.


Karen Dawson practiced civil litigation and administrative law in Toronto prior to her appointment to the HRTO. She has represented clients before all levels of Ontario courts and several administrative tribunals. Ms. Dawson holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Toronto and a Master of Laws from York University. Prior to law school, Ms. Dawson obtained a Bachelor of Music (Class I) from Queen's University. She continues to support Ontario's music community through her volunteer work and is a past director of a prestigious summer music school for gifted young musicians.


Karen Mason has been a member of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario since 2019. She holds a master’s in business administration. After over 20 years in senior management in the broader public sector leading organizations human resources and labour relations functions, Karen provided consulting on Workplace Violence and Harassment including investigations and workplace reconciliation. Karen has extensive volunteer service to the community including such activities as restorative justice mediation, working with individuals involved in the criminal justice system to integrate into the community, and chairing review panels as part of the United Way’s citizen review process.


Robert Patchett, of Ottawa, is a Vice-Chair (part-time) of the Landlord and Tenant Board and Lieutenant-Colonel Infantry Officer with the Canadian Armed Forces, and former Senior Strategic Policy Advisor and Senior Military Advisor, Department of National Defence/Canadian Forces Housing Agency. His community involvement includes serving as Branch Service Officer with the Royal Canada Legion.


Aida Gatfield is a graduate of the Faculty of Law, University of Western Ontario. Ms. Gatfield has extensive experience in labour, employment and human rights law and has represented clients before courts and tribunals. She has focused her practice on providing services to organizations as an external neutral conducting investigations into workplace issues.


Leah Simon was a lawyer with Sherrard Kuzz LLP from 2008 to 2021. Leah practiced employment, labour and human rights law and is the co-author of Carswell's "Practice & Procedure Before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario". Leah has taught employment law at the community college level and formerly served on the Board of Directors of the Eastview Neighbourhood Community Centre. Leah holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Dalhousie University and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Queen's University.


Rafeena Bacchus is called to the Bar in Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Prince Edward Island. After law school, she completed a Clerkship for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island. She was a partner at a prominent insurance defence litigation firm in Toronto. She has also served as director and legal counsel for a collaborative health justice program that she developed in partnership with Osgoode law school's student legal clinic. She has lived and worked in Cameroon, Africa, serving as the director of a human rights organization. She is founder/mediator at Bacchus Legal P.C., and is adjunct faculty at Lincoln Alexander School of Law teaching civil procedure and practice.


Larry Swartz serves as member (part-time) for the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) Employee Life and Health Trust. Larry is a Barrister and Solicitor for Lawrence J. Swartz Barrister and Solicitor, and an Adjunct Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School.


Romona Gananathan is a lawyer with a combined Juris Doctor in Law and Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies from Osgoode Hall Law School/York University. She completed a PhD in Education Policy at the University of Toronto and has taught labour, employment, and human rights law at the post-secondary level. She has been an Adjudicator with Tribunals Ontario since 2013. Prior to her appointment, she practiced law in both the private and public sectors, primarily in labour and employment, immigration and refugee, disability, and human rights law. She has an extensive background in the public and not-for-profit sector in Ontario, where she served as an Executive Director, lawyer, volunteer, and board member with various organizations. She is a member of the Law Society of Ontario and serves on its Equity Advisory Group. Her community involvement includes being a Board Member on the Society of Ontario Adjudicators and Regulators and serving on a Patient and Family Advisory Council at Bridgepoint Hospital.


Joseph Tascona is a Lawyer and Principal for Joseph N. Tascona Law Firm, and a former Lawyer and Partner for Weir Foulds.


Kelly Barker resides in Hamilton and previously worked as a lawyer and an Ombudsperson. Kelly obtained her LL.B. from the University of New Brunswick and her LL.M. from the University of Ottawa. Following her call to the Bar in 2010, Kelly began her legal career in policing and has since spent the majority of her career as a child protection lawyer. Kelly began her position as University Ombudsperson at Brock University in 2020.


Caroline Sand is a lawyer and educator who has been working in adjudication and mediation since 2015. She was a Vice Chair at the Workplace Safety Insurance Appeals Tribunal prior to her appointment at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario in 2018. She worked for many years at a legal clinic where she represented low income clients experiencing complex and intersecting legal problems. She also provided public legal education, and oversaw the law student program at the clinic, where she was engaged in teaching, training and mentoring law students. She holds a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Toronto and a master’s degree in Education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE).


Will McNair is a former Justice of the Peace, Regional Supervisor for the Nunavut Court of Justice, and a former Staff Defence Counsel for the Nunavut Legal Services Board. His community involvement has included serving as a volunteer kitchen staff for Qajuqturvik Soup Kitchen.


David Langlois is a bioethicist at the Centre for Clinical Ethics within Unity Health Toronto (a health network composed of Providence Healthcare, St. Joseph’s Health Centre, and St. Michael’s Hospital). As an ethicist, Dave provides ethics consultation services to physicians, hospital staff, patients, and substitute decision-makers. He also provides support in the areas of organizational ethics, staff ethics education, and research ethics. Additionally, he directs the Centre’s post-graduate fellowship program in clinical and organizational ethics. Dave teaches and has faculty appointments (at the rank of assistant professor) in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. Dave was appointed as a part-time member on the Consent and Capacity Board in 2019 (reappointed in 2021) and the Ontario Review Board in 2021. In 2014, Dave completed his PhD in Philosophy, specializing in ethics, at Harvard University.


Denise Ghanam has provided organizational training, strategic planning, and HR expertise through her consulting company. She draws upon thirty years of broad business experience and nearly two decades of university teaching in management. Her educational background includes an Honours Commerce degree in finance, an MBA in business strategy, and doctoral studies in Human Resources. She holds the Certified Human Resource Leader (CHRL) designation and volunteered with the Executive Board of the HR Professionals Association as President and past-President. Community leadership roles include directing her church choir, Naval Veterans Association, Board member of Actors Theatre of Windsor, and founding member of the Windsor-Essex Equity Network. Denise was appointed to St Clair College’s Board for eight years, serving two as Chair and two as VP of the provincial association (ACAATO). She also completed appointments on the Windsor Port Authority Board, the Windsor Police Services Board, and the Justice of the Peace Appointments Advisory Committee.


Amanda Connolley is a full-time member of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO). Prior to her appointment to the HRTO, Amanda was employed with the federal public service as a senior advisor in the field of labour relations. During this period, she was also appointed to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada as a member of the Refugee Appeal Division. Before joining the federal public service, Amanda worked as a practicing lawyer, in both the private and public sectors, focusing on the fields of criminal and police law. Amanda’s community involvement includes serving as a member of the Board of Directors of Total Communication Environment, a non-profit charitable organization providing residential support, day services, and outreach to long term care homes, for adults with multiple disabilities and special communication needs. She also volunteers her time as a driver for Meals on Wheels, and as a secretary for a local school council. Amanda holds a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) from the University of New Brunswick and a Bachelor of Science (Honours in Biology) from Queen’s University. She is a member in good standing with the Law Society of Ontario.


Lavinia lnbar is a lawyer who has practised primarily in the areas of administrative and criminal law and has taught law at the college and university levels. She has worked in the community legal clinic system as well as in criminal defence and has written and edited several legal book chapters, articles and informational blogs. Her community work has included being the Chair of the Board of Directors of a women's shelter and being part of a group of members of the legal community who prepare and serve meals to low-income people. She lives in mid-eastern Ontario.


Simon Dann is a self-employed Regulatory and Compliance Consultant and Strategy Advisor. He is a former Arbitrator for Tarion Builder Arbitration Forum, and a former Director of Government & Corporate Relations for Luxell Technologies Inc.


Marinus Lamers has Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws degrees from Queen’s University. He was called to the bar of Ontario in 1981 and since then has practiced law in Southwestern Ontario. Since 1991 he has been a partner at Lerners LLP where he conducted a varied practice focused primarily on serious personal injury, wrongful death, disability and insurance claims from both a plaintiff and defense perspective. From 1991 until 2005 he was an instructor in civil litigation, professional liability and practice management and legal writing at the Bar Admission Course, Law Society of Upper Canada. He was a trustee and past-president of the Middlesex Law Association. He has volunteered with various community and charitable organizations including being a member and past chairperson of the London Family Court Clinic (formally the Centre for Children and Families in the Justice System).


Thomas Elliot is a lawyer with extensive experience in civil litigation and administrative law. Mr. Elliot began his legal career fighting for the rights of injured individuals at a top tier New York State medical malpractice firm until he moved back to Toronto to represent large institutional clients before administrative tribunals. Currently, Thomas is the principal lawyer at Elliot Law, a Toronto-based civil litigation firm representing clients at all court and tribunal levels. Thomas obtained his Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Toronto and his Juris Doctorate, cum laude, from the University at Buffalo Law School. He has been called to both the Ontario and New York bars and is a member of the Law Society of Ontario.


Joelle Malette is the founder of Malette ADR | RED, a bilingual, advanced dispute resolution practice based in Timmins and serving all of Ontario. Her areas of mediation include personal injury, breach of contract, institutional sexual assault liability claims, medical malpractice, employment law, and more. As well, she provides workplace conflict consultation and investigations, mediation-arbitration, and negotiation training. Before founding her practice in 2021, Joelle practiced at Wallbridge Wallbridge for 16 years. Over her career, she has appeared before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, the Ontario Court of Appeal, and several administrative tribunals. Joelle is an adjudicator for the Transport Appeal Tribunal of Canada, The Law Society Tribunal, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, and the Social Benefits Tribunal. She is an adjunct Professor at the University of Ottawa’s law school. Joelle was awarded a Bachelor of Arts and LL.B. by the University of Ottawa and is currently completing a Masters in Dispute Resolution at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University.


Elisabeth Campin has acted as part-time instructor of Administrative and Employment Law at Seneca College. She was employed at General Motors of Canada for 31 years with responsibility for support, advice, training, and education in all aspects of employment law, including human rights, employment standards, wrongful dismissal, health and safety, and had responsibility as counsel in collective agreement negotiations. She has contributed to papers and made presentations in her area of expertise. Prior to General Motors, she was employed by General Electric and articled with Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt. Ms. Campin received her Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Toronto and her Bachelor of Laws from Osgoode Hall Law School.


Fiona Keith is Senior Counsel of Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise for Global Affairs Canada, and a former Senior Counsel for Canadian Human Rights Commission. Her community involvement includes serving as a volunteer cook for Shepherds of Good Hope.


Mary MacNeill holds an undergraduate degree in science from the University of Western Ontario, and received her law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School. She is a member of the Law Society of Ontario. She works as senior legal counsel at Synaptic Vision Inc. Mary is actively involved in her community giving her time to volunteer work and community service, where she serves in capacities as a volunteer, and director, with several community organizations. She is currently appointed to the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, as a part time member and cross appointed to the Ontario Parole Board.


Robert Gabor is the principal of Gabor Mediation Services Inc. He holds a B.Sc in Psychology from the University of Toronto, an LL.B from the University of Western Ontario and a certificate in Alternative Dispute Resolution from Conrad Grebel College at the University of Waterloo. Robert was called to the Ontario Bar in 1993. Prior to commencing work as a mediator, he practiced as a litigation lawyer representing injured and disabled parties in civil actions for over 26 years during which time he conducted both trial and appellate work, appeared before administrative tribunals and acted as counsel at over a thousand mediations. He is a member of the Law Society of Ontario, the Canadian Bar Association and the ADR Institute of Ontario. Robert’s community involvement includes having acted as a parent ambassador at Havergal college and as a minor hockey coach for the North Toronto Hockey Association.


Gulzar Ladhani has a Masters of Law, specializing in Alternative Dispute Resolution from Osgoode Hall Law School. This complements her business and law degrees. Her past law practice experience focused on corporate and personal tax planning. Gulzar loves giving back and is very active in the community, currently being the Chair of the Board of Directors of Centre for Skills Development, Burlington, and on the Board of Directors of CarePoint Health, Mississauga. She also mentors young directors for the Fora Network’s Girls on Board program. Gulzar is a past board member of the Mississauga Halton LHIN and the Aga Khan Conciliation and Arbitration Board of Ontario as well as the Oakville Children’s Choir and Oakville Ice Expression.


Ann Marie Yantz is an experienced paralegal from Kitchener, Ontario, and the first paralegal in Ontario to be appointed to the executive of a law association. She joined the firm Kelly & Co. in September 1997 and received her law clerk diploma from the Institute of Law Clerks in 2000 and became licensed as a paralegal by the Law Society of Upper Canada in 2008. Ann Marie has provided per diem prosecution services for matters concerning the Provincial Offences Act for both Halton Region, the County of Perth and the Ministry of the Attorney General. Ann Marie is a member of the Prosecutors Association of Ontario and an associate member of the Institute of Law Clerks. In 2013, Ann Marie became the first elected paralegal board member of the Waterloo Region Law Association, where she was a trustee and treasurer until 2017. Ann Marie's community involvement includes being the Secretary Treasurer of Thresholds Homes and Supports Inc. and the President of Sunbeam Community and Development Services. Ann Marie was also a board member of Legal Aid Ontario and the Paralegal Advisory Committee at Conestoga College of Applied Arts & Technology.


James Rhodes is a lawyer that has been practicing for almost 22 years. He graduated with a BSc in Chemistry from the University of Toronto and subsequently went on to pursue a law degree that was granted in 1998 from University of Manitoba. His articling was completed at the Tax Court of Canada and he was called to the Ontario bar in 1999. James Rhodes has worked at the accounting firms of KMPG and PwC, and then worked for the Federal Department of Justice representing the government. Subsequently, he worked as a sole proprietor and then worked at Miller Thomson developing a tax dispute practice. Currently, he works as a sole proprietor under the name TaxationLawyers representing individuals, corporations, and municipal entities across Canada at the audit, appeals, and before the Tax Court of Canada and Federal Court of Appeal.


Robert Ciriello has over 15 years within the private and public sectors and currently serves as Chief Administrative Officer at Owen Transportation Company. Previously, Robert was a Director of Internal Audit at the Royal Bank of Canada and before that, Assistant Vice President at Canada Life, within Governance Operations, Risk and Controls. Robert holds a HBA and MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business, a JD from the University of Detroit Mercy and LLM from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law.


Ivana Vaccaro serves as a member (part-time) of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, Child and Family Services Review Board, Custody Review Board, Ontario Special Education Tribunal (English) and served as a member (part-time) of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board. She is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner at RV Law LLP, and the founder of Mediated Family Results Inc. She is a family lawyer, an accredited mediator, arbitrator and parenting coordinator. Her community involvement includes serving as a member of the Board of Directors for The Redwood and serving as a coach and advisor with the Coach and Advisor Network for the Law Society of Ontario.


Patricia Muldowney-Brooks is currently a Vice Chair (part time) with the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board. Ms. Muldowney-Brooks was formerly the Manager of Social Work Services for the Hamilton Wentworth Catholic District School Board. She was also a long-standing employee with the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board providing clinical social work services to the HWDSB in a variety of leadership roles. Ms. Muldowney-Brooks has previously provided mediation and arbitration services to families and communities while in private practice. She has previously served on numerous boards and committees in various capacities including the Ontario Consent and Capacity Board.


Jennifer Harnum, of Ottawa, is Counsel with the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. She is also a former Manager with the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, and a former investigator with the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Her community involvement includes serving as Scouter with Scouts Canada.


Richard Floyd, of Belleville, is a former High Court Judge of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. He is also a former Crown Attorney with the Ministry of the Attorney General and former Prosecutor with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions New South Wales, Australia. His community involvement has included serving as Chairperson and board member of Hospice Quinte.


Haniya Sheikh, called to the bar in 2001, has worked for both the Provincial and Federal governments in several complex and sensitive matters. At the Department of Justice, she has represented a variety of departments in her civil litigation and administrative law practice. Haniya is also a Presiding Inquest Officer over Coroner’s inquests. Haniya is also active in the community as she has also served in a number of volunteer positions within the Toronto District School for over 10 years. In addition, she also serves on the Board of an arts organization based in Quebec.


Stephen Eaton, of Oakville, is a Lawyer with Eaton Law Professional Corporation. Stephen’s community involvement includes serving as volunteer legal counsel with CCM Legal Clinic and as a Council Member with the Council of the College of Nurses of Ontario.


Gila Heller, of Toronto, is a Director of Lyncar Canada Inc. She previously served as Legal Counsel with Sony of Canada Ltd. Gila’s community involvement includes serving as a volunteer with the Meals on Wheels program at the Bernard Betel Centre.


François Henrie holds a Civil Law and a Common Law degree, as well as a Biology and Economics degree from the University of Ottawa. He is a member of both the Law Society of Ontario and the Barreau du Québec. He is fluently bilingual. He is a graduate of the Lean Six Sigma Greenbelt program from the Desautels Faculty of Management (McGill). Until recently he was Assistant General Counsel at Export Development Canada, a federal crown agency. He is a member of the Fire Safety Commission and a panel member of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement.


Mbuso Nkosi is a senior family lawyer in Toronto. He is also legal counsel to the Student Union at OCAD University where he advises students on numerous legal issues including housing, employment and immigration. Additionally, he holds a Master of Science degree from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. His volunteer work has included mediator with Operation Springboard's Adult Justice Committee, volunteer summer law student with the HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario (HALCO) and volunteer lawyer with Flemingdon Community Legal Services (now Don Valley Community Legal Services).


Matthew Létourneau is a part-time member with the Licence Appeal Tribunal as well as the Animal Care Review Board, the Fire Safety Commission and the Ontario Parole Board. He is the French Services Lead for Tribunals Ontario. Mr. Létourneau is a lawyer and member of the Law Society of Ontario. He practices employment, labour and administrative law in Ontario and Federally, in both French and English. He holds a Bilingual Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Alberta’s Faculty St. Jean and a Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law’s French Common Law Program. Mr. Létourneau is active in the French Language Community of Ontario with over a decade of volunteer involvement.


Meryl Zisman Gary is a Toronto lawyer specializing in human rights and labour law. She holds a B.A. in philosophy from Dalhousie University and a J.D. and LL.M. from Osgoode Hall Law School. Ms. Gary previously practiced equality and human rights law at a social justice firm in Toronto, and then served as a writer, editor, and Legal Director at Lancaster House Publishing. Ms. Gary also taught constitutional law in Osgoode Hall's Professional LL.M. program for a number of years. Her past community involvement includes volunteering with Lawyers Feed the Hungry and serving on the Board of Directors of a community mental health organization.


Steve Schenke, of London, is a Deputy Judge of the Small Claims Court and a Lawyer with Lerners LLP. He is a former Adjunct Professor of Law with the Faculty of Law at the University of Western Ontario.


Ninder Thind serves as a full- time member at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. She is a distinguished community leader with an accomplished career and with over twenty years of experience in public service. She has served with the Government of Canada as the Chief of Staff for the Parliamentary Secretary of Veterans Affairs and International Trade, the Municipal Government as an Advisor for Special Projects to the Commissioner of Corporate Support Services, and the Regional Government serving high risk families in the Public Health Department. Prior to that, she worked in the private sector as an accomplished school Principal. Ninder also possesses extensive volunteer experience working alongside communities and charitable organizations providing humanitarian aid both locally and internationally.


Sally Ashton worked for many years for the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, first as counsel with the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee, and then for many years seconded to resource ministries with a practice focussed on Indigenous rights and issues, information and privacy, and provincial prosecutions. She has also worked as senior counsel to the Law Society of Ontario on strategic issues including access to justice, diversity and equity, and government relations. She has always been active in her communities including as a member of the Board of Directors her local hospital and library, a crisis responder for Victim Services, and a surveyor of flora and fauna with local conservancy organizations.


Blair Roblin is a member of the Law Society of Ontario and the Society of Ontario Adjudicators and Regulators. He holds a PhD in health services research, a master’s degree in critical disability studies, an LLB, and an MBA. He is currently a senior lawyer and presiding member with the Consent and Capacity Board of Ontario. Blair's non-profit board experience includes March of Dimes Canada where he served as board chair, Stroke Recovery Association of British Columbia, and West End YMCA of Toronto. His volunteer experience includes palliative care and renal dialysis care with Halton Healthcare.


Sean Weir was CEO of Canada’s largest national law firm from 2000 to July 1, 2018. In his legal practice, Mr. Weir advised financial institutions, corporations and major pension funds. Active in his community, Mr. Weir served as an elected Councillor of the Town of Oakville, a director of the Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital and a Director and Chair of Oakville Hydro. Mr. Weir was named a “Diversity Champion” by Women of Influence Magazine, received the Lexpert Zenith Managing Partner Award for Corporate Social Responsibility and was listed in the Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada.