Commission Members

Commission members are appointed by the Yukon Legislature for a term of three years. They meet regularly for business meetings, dispositions and other special meetings of the Commission.

Russell Knutson: Chair

Russell Knutson was appointed in April 2015. He arrived in the Yukon as a teenager in the late 1970's and almost immediately began what would become a 32-year career with the CBC. A graduate of Grant MacEwan College's journalism program Russell held a wide range of positions with the CBC primarily as a program host and presenter. For more than 20 years he was also heavily involved in the regional and national leadership of the Canadian Media Guild, the largest union at the CBC, where he received extensive training in mediation, negotiation, and conflict resolution. He has also been very active in the community leading or serving such groups as Autism Yukon, the Canadian Ski Patrol, CPR Yukon, the United Way, and Canadian Power Squadron.

Kathleen Avery

Kathleen Avery was appointed in December 2015. She grew up in Whitehorse, and pursued post-secondary studies at the University of Alberta where she obtained a Bachelor of Commerce Degree in 1988 and a Bachelor of Law Degree in 1992. She moved back to the Yukon in 1996 to work and raise her family. Kathleen has worked in a variety of settings, private practice and government over the years, including holding a position as a member of the Yukon Utilities Board. She is currently General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board.

Louise Bouvier

Louise Bouvier was appointed in December 2015. Now living in Destruction Bay, Bouvier is a life-long Yukoner, having only left the territory for an extended time on two occasions. With over 30 years living in Whitehorse, she attended the first meeting of the Native Yukon Brotherhood in 1973, and was the president of the Yukon Aboriginal Women’s Association. She was a proud member of the Native Women’s Association (NWAC) serving as the Executive President for the North, where she fought for additional funding to ensure northern Indigenous women have access to education. A member of the Kluane First Nation, Bouvier served as a councillor there for nine years, two of which were as Deputy Chief. She was raised by her mother and grandmother, both who taught her to live off the land and hunt, trap, fish and net. Her most recent endeavours include working with the Dän Keyi Renewable Resources Council.

Karen Moir

Karen Moir was appointed in May 2016. Karen moved to the Yukon in 2015 to work for the Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs after a number of years abroad. Karen has experience across the United Nations system in Geneva, New York and Turin. Most recently, she was at the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development for her award-nominated research on intergenerational justice and promoting rights-based social protection with the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights. She has a Bachelor of Social Science in International Development and Globalization from the University of Ottawa and a Master’s in International Human Rights Law from the University of Essex, UK. As the Coordinator of the Essex Human Rights Clinic’s Corporate Accountability Program, she furthered human rights-based management of the extractive sector. Since beginning her career with the Canadian International Development Agency, she has acquired a broad perspective on inclusive and sustainable development, with a focus on socio-economic and cultural rights.

Gavin Gardiner

Gavin Gardiner was appointed in March 2018. Originally from Saskatchewan, Gardiner moved to the Yukon in 2007 and soon after began working for the Carcross/Tagish First Nation where over many years, he filled roles including Legislation/Policy Analyst and Senior Government Official (Executive Director). He holds a Law Degree from the University of Ottawa, a certificate in Mediation and Negotiation from the Justice Institute of British Columbia, and a Bachelor of Arts in both English and Political Studies from the University of Saskatchewan.

Gardiner currently works as a lawyer with Woodward & Company providing legal advice to First Nation governments. He lives in Whitehorse and shares a cabin in Carcross where he spends as much of his free time as possible.

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We respectfully acknowledge that the Yukon Human Rights Commission office is located within the traditional territory of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council.