Rabia Khedr appointed to Ontario Human Rights Commission

Rabia Khedr appointed to Ontario Human Rights Commission

Rabia Khedr, the founder of the Canadian Association of Muslims with Disabilities (CAM-D) and a community activist, has been appointed a commissioner on the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

Ontario announced the appointment of five new part-time commissioners to the Ontario Human Rights Commission last Friday.

“I truly believe in the fact that we have a responsibility to ensure rights for everyone around us,” said Khedr. “It’s not just about me exercising my rights; it’s about me ensuring that my neighbour, my friend, my colleague or the stranger on the street has their rights ensured, too.”

“The world calls Ontario home and Canada home,” she said. “It’s important that we be proactive to identify and remedy competing interests and continue to educate and raise awareness around our individual civic responsibility to ensure rights.”

Commissioner Rabia Khedr is a dedicated volunteer and advocate for diverse communities, women and individuals with disabilities.

She is a human rights consultant with diversityworX, founder of the Canadian Association of Muslims with Disabilities and a member of the Mississauga Accessibility Advisory Committee, which she chaired for eight years.

Khedr has also been on the board of directors for the Ontario Women’s Health Network and a member of the Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee.

The Ontario Human Rights Commission was established in 1961 to administer the Ontario Human Rights Code. Its mandate includes developing public policy on human rights, conducting public inquiries and promoting a culture of human rights in the province.

The Commission is one part of Ontario’s system for human rights, alongside the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) and the Human Rights Legal Support Centre (HRLSC).

The body is an arm’s length agency of government accountable to the people of Ontario through the legislature.

There is a full-time Chief Commissioner and a varying number of part-time Commissioners, appointed by Order-in-Council.

The other part-time Commissioners recently appointed are:

  • Karen Drake is an assistant professor at the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law at Lakehead University and a citizen of the Métis Nation of Ontario. Her teaching and research interests include Canadian law as it affects Indigenous peoples, Anishinaabe law and Métis law;
  • Kwame McKenzie is the medical director of underserved populations at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. He is also a professor and the co-director of the Equity Gender and Population Division at the University of Toronto’s department of psychiatry;
  • Bruce Porter is a leading advocate for the rights of people living in poverty and the homeless. He is currently serving as the executive director of Canada’s Social Rights Advocacy Centre and is a senior advisor to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on adequate housing;
  • Maurice Switzer is the principal of Nimkii Communications, a public education firm which focuses on the treaty relationship between First Nations and the Canadian government. A citizen of the Mississaugas of Alderville First Nation, he has served as the director of communications for both the Assembly of First Nations and the Union of Ontario Indians.

“I’m a big believer in our multicultural reality as a nation,” said Rabia Khedr. “I am a big believer in engaging all communities to address any social issues.”

“I really feel strongly that we have to be cutting-edge when it comes to human rights, to lead the discourse; that it’s really important, given the changing demographics that we have in our communities and our society, with the constant immigration and population growth.”