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

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.

Karen Armour

Ms. Armour was appointed to the Commission in 2014. She is a retired Nova Scotia Legal Aid lawyer. She lives in Windsor.



Vishal Bhardwaj

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.


Deepak Prasad

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.




Cynthia Dorrington

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

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 Tynes

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.

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