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. 

Commission Meetings

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.

Current Commissioners

Cheryl Knockwood (Chair)

Cheryl Knockwood, Sydney, was first appointed to the Board of Commissioners in 2015, sitting as Commissioner until she was appointed Chair in 2019. She was called to the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society Bar in 2009 and currently serves as the governance co-ordinator for Membertou First Nation, working alongside the community in developing laws on lands and citizenship.

She previously worked as a senior policy analyst with the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs. She has also worked as a part-time instructor at Cape Breton University lecturing on Aboriginal and treaty rights, Mi’kmaw governance and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Deepak Prasad (Vice-Chair)

Mr. Prasad was first appointed to the Commission in 2015. Deepak has studied at various post-secondary institutions such as Kwantlen University College, Justice Institute of BC, Dalhousie University, Laurier University, and is currently attending the London Metropolitan University's doctoral studies in policing, security, and community safety program. 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, Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo Foundation, and the Canadian Mental Health Association (NS).

Wanda MacDonald

Ms. MacDonald is the Executive Director of the CBDC Guysborough County and has worked in the fields of community, economic and business development for more than 20 years. Her educational achievements include a Bachelor Degree in Small Business & Entrepreneurship and Finance, NSCC Community Economic Development Certificate, APEC Certified Business Counselor Certificate Program, and Masters of Business Administration in Community Economic Development. Ms. MacDonald has served as a board member on for the ESIA Assistance Appeal Board and the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Woman.

She lives in Guysborough County.

Monica Paris

Monica Paris was appointed to the commission in 2019. She is an active member and advocate for visible minorities in the federal public service. A  career public servant, Ms. Paris has served as a member of the PIPSC national human rights committee and has also served as Deputy Director of the National Council of Visible  Minorities, Atlantic Region. She resides in Halifax.

Savannah DeWolfe

Ms. Dewolfe works at the law firm McInnes Cooper. Savannah holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of Ottawa, a Bachelor of Public Affairs and Policy Management with a specialization in human rights and a minor in law, along with a Masters Degree in Political Management, both from Carleton University. Prior to joining McInnes Cooper, Savannah held various positions on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, working for both the Ministers of Justice and Environment, as well as a Nova Scotian Member of Parliament. During her undergraduate studies, she interned at the United Nations Office in Vienna. Savannah has volunteered with various organizations, including: Start Proud, Meals on Wheels, and the Canadian Cancer Society. Most recently, Savannah has been coaching youth basketball for the Cole Harbour Rockets. Savannah lives in Halifax with her wife, Emily. 

Robin Thompson

Ms. Thompson is Cree Métis and a member of the Manitoba Métis Federation. Robin holds a business diploma, an Advanced major in Social and Criminal Justice from St. Francis Xavier University, and a Juris Doctor from the Schulich School of Law. She is a practicing member of the Nova Scotia Barrister Society. In 2015, she was one of the ten participants chosen world-wide for the Indigenous Fellow Progamme with the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland. Robin has over 15 years of senior management experience developing governance capacity and economic development with Indigenous communities. Robin is the Governance Manager for the Union of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq, and currently serves on the non-profit board of the Centre for First Nations Governance. Robin lives in Dartmouth.

Cynthia Dorrington

Cynthia Dorrington, Halifax, is the President of Vale & Associates Human Resource Management and Consulting Inc. She was first appointed to the Board of Commissioners in 2018. Her work specializes in areas such as organizational strategy, people strategy, equity, diversity and inclusion, supplier diversity, change management, governance, performance management, as well as HR advisory services.

She is a member of the Board of Governors of St. Francis Xavier University, Chair of the Black Business Enterprise and is a board member with the Canadian Urban Institute, VON Canada and Halifax Hospice. Cynthia is a Life-Time Member of the Board of Governors for the Halifax Chamber of Commerce.