Commissioners are appointed by an Executive Order of Executive Council. Commissioner responsibilities are described within the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act. They include responsibility for the strategic direction of the Commission as well as for making decisions on human rights issues including referrals of complaints to Boards of Inquiry.
Commissioners meet six times annually. Often these meetings take place at the Halifax office of the Commission. However, Commissioners meet in a community outside of the Halifax Regional Municipality at least twice a year.
- Cheryl Knockwood, Chair
- Christine Hanson, Director & CEO (ex-officio/non-voting)
- Norbert Comeau
- Karen Armour
- Deepak Prasad
- Vishal Bhardwaj
- Andrea Paul
- Cynthia Dorrington
- Denise Mentis-Smith
- Raymond Tynes
Cheryl Knockwood, Chair
Ms. Knockwood was appointed to the Commission in 2015 and subsequently appointed chair in 2019. She is s a lawyer and currently works for the Membertou First Nation as its governance co-ordinator. She has also taught Aboriginal and Treaty Rights at Cape Breton University.
She lives in Sydney.
Mr. Comeau was first appointed as a Commissioner in 1994.
A long-time educator and administrator, Mr. Comeau has served as a classroom teacher and subsequently vice-principal and principal in francophone schools in the region of Clare on Nova Scotia’s south shore.
Mr. Comeau is active in the Acadian community, serving on several boards and commissions.
He lives in Church Point.
Ms. Armour was appointed to the Commission in 2014. She is a retired Nova Scotia Legal Aid lawyer. She lives in Windsor.
Mr. Bhardwaj was appointed to the Commission in 2015. He is an experienced quality engineer, and quality control professional with applied knowledge of system and process improvement methodologies. He is the current president of the Indo Canadian Association of Nova Scotia; vice chair of Vadenta Ashram Society; and is actively engaged in numerous volunteer community and business organizations.
He lives in Dartmouth.
Mr. Prasad was appointed to the Commission in 2015. He has an extensive background in law enforcement and is currently employed as a police officer in Nova Scotia. Deepak sits on various charitable and non-profit boards such as the St. John Ambulance NS/PEI Council, Nova Scotia Criminal Justice Association, and the Duke of Edinburgh International Awards - NS Division. He has previously served as a board member for the Leeside Transition House, MADD Inverness South, and Family Services of Eastern Nova Scotia. He lives in the Halifax Regional Municipality.
Ms. Paul has been a Commissioner since 2013, reappointed most recently in October 2016. She is chief of the Pictou Landing First Nation. She acts as the band's spokesperson, chairs the council meetings and oversees the band's finances. She also teaches Mi'kmaq in the local community school. Prior to teaching, Ms. Paul was a student counsellor and worked with both youth and adults in her community.
She lives in Pictou Landing.
Ms. Dorrington is the President of Vale & Associates Human Resource Management and Consulting Inc., a boutique consulting firm specializing in strategy, advice, as well as training and development for small and medium sized organizations across various industry sectors. She also has strategic partnerships related to her business in Australia and the United States. Cynthia was appointed as Chair of the Board of Directors for the Halifax Chamber of Commerce in April 2018.
She lives in Halifax.
Denise Mentis-Smith is a graduate of the Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University (’95). She was called to the Nova Scotia Bar in 1996 and is currently practicing with the law firm Harris North Law in Bedford. Ms. Mentis-Smith is a noted speaker on human rights and issues affecting the African Nova Scotian community.
Raymond G. Tynes has been active for many years in the field of race relations. He served as the first African Nova Scotian municipal town councilor in Truro for 12 years and served as the African Nova Scotia school board member for four years. He has also served as the executive director of the Colchester Community Workshop, which offers programs to individuals living with intellectual disabilities. Mr. Tynes is a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and was presented with the Dr. Burnley “Rocky” Jones Human Rights Award in 2016.