Commission staff carries out the day-to-day work involved in human rights promotion, education, and the resolution of discrimination complaints.
Jessica Lott Thompson - Director
Jessica joined the Commission in January 2015. She was appointed to the Federal Judicial Advisory Committee for Yukon in 2017, and is currently on the executive of the Yukon Branch of the Canadian Bar Association. Jessica is a former Federal Prosecutor with the Nunavut Regional Office of the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, and has served as an adjudicator with the Nunavut Human Rights Tribunal. She has also worked for Maliiganik Tukisiiniakvik Legal Aid and the Department of Justice in Nunavut and appeared as counsel before the Nunavut Mental Health Review Board. In 2014, Jessica served as an international election observer in Ukraine for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. In 2002, she held a judicial clerkship with the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Jessica holds an LL.B. (UVic), an M.A. in Human Security and Peacebuilding (Royal Roads University), a LL.M. in Constitutional Law (Osgoode), and recently completed a Graduate Diploma in Justice System Administration (York University). Jessica is fluent in French and Spanish, and is an Inuktitut learner.
Vida Nelson - Legal Counsel
Vida Nelson joined the Commission in May 2018. Prior to that she worked at a local law firm practicing in the areas of personal Injury, family Law and civil litigation. Vida is a born and raised Yukoner who holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Manitoba and a Bachelor of Science degree from Simon Fraser University. Vida is an active member of the Canadian Filipino Association of Yukon and is passionate about promoting diversity and access to justice. In her free time, Vida enjoys hiking with her dogs, travelling, trivia and playing board games.
Lynn Pigage - Office Administrator
Lynn has been with the Commission since 1998. She is the person in the office who makes sure things are running smoothly and assists all staff with a variety of tasks.
Emmanuel Kofi Owusu - Human Rights Officer
Emmanuel joined the Commission in July 2017. He has an LL.B from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Ghana and an LL.M from the University of Calgary. He is also an alumnus of the Fordham Law Summer Human Rights Program. Prior to joining the Commission, Emmanuel was an instructor in the Law and Society Program at the University of Calgary where he taught courses on Liberalism and Socio-Legal Issues in Modern Liberal Societies. He also worked as an instructor at Athabasca University where his teaching focused on Charter Rights and Justice.
Emmanuel is passionate about Human Rights and Justice and has experience working and volunteering with several human rights and justice initiatives both in Canada and abroad. He previously worked with the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice in Ghana, and served as a Legal Advisor to the Dean of Students’ Office at KNUST. Emmanuel has a high community spirit and was actively involved in community projects with the Calgary Youth Justice Society and Pro Bono Law Alberta before moving to Whitehorse.
Will Steinburg - Human Rights Officer
Will joined the Commission in May 2018. He has a Juris Doctor from the University of Manitoba (2014) and a Master of Arts in history from Queen’s University (2008). Before joining the Commission, Will articled at the Public Interest Law Centre, an office of Legal Aid Manitoba which specializes in issues affecting the environment, human rights, Indigenous people, and consumers. Following his call to the Manitoba Bar in 2015, he worked as an Investigator at the Manitoba Human Rights Commission for two years.
Will has been involved in many community-based initiatives to raise the social and legal status of persons with lower incomes. He has worked and volunteered for social enterprises and housing cooperatives, as well as Legal Aid and community law clinics in Manitoba. He has also worked as a legal researcher for the Centre for Human Rights Research and the Public Interest Law Centre on a range of projects involving civil liberties and rights of Indigenous people. Before studying law he worked as an outdoor educator, teaching canoeing and dog sledding.
Sarah Murphy - Public Education Coordinator
Sarah joined the Commission in April 2018. She has a Master of Social Work from Carleton University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from St. Francis Xavier University. Prior to joining the Commission, Sarah worked as the Program Coordinator for the Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre. She is passionate about human rights, with many years of experience working and volunteering in Canada and abroad. Sarah is originally from Newfoundland and in her spare time enjoys playing music, being outdoors and watching hockey.
Lauren Passmore - Public Education Coordinator
Lauren joined the commission in May 2018. She is a proud mother of an adventurous 4 year old son and enjoys exploring, discovering and celebrating the world with him. Originally from Powassan, Ontario, Lauren has lived and worked in the Yukon since 2007. Prior to the Commission, Lauren worked as the Mental Wellness Strategy Coordinator with Kwanlin Dün First Nation, as an Addiction Prevention Consultant with Mental Wellness and Substance Use Services as well as many other positions with Government and Non Government organizations in the Yukon. Her work has centred around mental wellness, health, reconciliation, harm reduction and justice. Lauren’s other interests include fashion, art, sport and playing in a band with her son.
Ellen Bolger - Articled Student
Ellen Bolger joined the Commission in July 2017. The same year, she graduated with distinction from the University of Saskatchewan, College of Law. During her studies, she represented her College at the 2017 Laskin Moot in administrative and constitutional law and at the 2016 National Restorative Justice Symposium. Prior to that, she graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in both World Religions and Political Science. Before studying law she worked as a ski instructor and led backpacking and horseback riding trips for children. Her biggest area of interest is the intersection between legal research and social science.
Brandon Macleod - Articled Student
Brandon Macleod joined the Commission in September 2017. Brandon is from Vancouver and has a Juris Doctor and a Bachelor of Science degree, both from the University of British Columbia. He previously worked as a law student at the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General and the Prince Rupert Port Authority, where he pursued his interest in constitutional and public law. Brandon has a background in volunteering with various Indigenous community groups in the Vancouver area, where he became interested in furthering access to justice and the affirmation of human rights.
Sara Andrade - Law Intern
Sara joined the Commission in January 2018. She recently graduated from McGill University’s Faculty of Law and completed the Quebec Bar. During her studies, she worked with a solo-practitioner specialized in aboriginal law and energy law, clerked at the Quebec Administrative Tribunal and interned for environmental law NGOs in Mexico City and in Montreal. Through her involvement in community groups, she has developed her interest in human rights and environmental rights, while remaining academically intrigued by Indigenous law and story-telling.
Pouya Dabiran-Zohoory - Law Intern
Pouya joined the Commission in May 2018. He recently finished his second year at McGill University’s Faculty of Law. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce with a major in law and business, focusing on corporate governance and corporate social responsibility. Through his work experience last summer in criminal defence, and his extra-curricular activities during his education, he has developed an interest in human rights. Specifically, he is interested in sustainable development, climate change, and the human rights impacted. He is excited to learn more about human rights through his experience working at the Commission, and to learn more about the various First Nations communities in the Yukon.
Rachelle Rose – Law Intern
Rachelle Rose has recently joined the Commission in May 2018 and is currently studying at both McGill’s Faculty of Law and School of Social Work. In 2014, Rachelle graduated from McGill’s School of Social Work with a bachelor’s degree. Since graduating, she has been committed to social justice related work in Montreal’s Black community, specifically, working with Black youth. As an advocate of achieving higher education, Rachelle designed and created an alternative academic program for youth who did not complete high school, to obtain their high school leaving certificate. Rachelle is excited to learn more about the different First Nations communities and issues around human rights.