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 is a member of the Yukon Federal Judicial Advisory Committee, and is currently the president of the Yukon Branch of the Canadian Bar Association. Jessica is a former Crown 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. Jessica has 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, and 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 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.
Kelsey Lavoie – Human Rights Officer
Kelsey has been working to promote human rights for the past decade. Prior to living in Whitehorse, she lived on Vancouver Island where she worked at the Vancouver Human Rights Coalition helping members of the public access and navigate the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal. Kelsey also provided public presentations and workshops about human rights and worked with other non-profits and government agencies to help people understand their rights and responsibilities. Kelsey’s background is sociology, governance and law. She completed her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Calgary, and her Master of Arts and her Juris Doctorate at the University of Victoria. Kelsey has presented about her work in a variety of settings including the 2017 Continuing Legal Education of BC human rights conference. Kelsey is also passionate about the role of art in building healthy communities and she can often be found at local open-mic nights as both an audience member and participant.
Human Rights Officer
Bio coming soon.
Administrative Assistant - Currently Vacant
Leah Hughes – Articled Student 2019
Bio coming soon.
Rowan Macphail – Articled Student 2019-2020
Rowan joined the Commission in August 2019. She holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Victoria and a Bachelor of Arts from Carleton University. Rowan has also worked for a business law firm in Vancouver, the Government of the Northwest Territories, and as a research assistant on multiple projects focusing on the protection and promotion of human rights. Rowan was a board member of the Vancouver Island Human Rights Coalition, and has volunteered with Equal Voice. Rowan was also previously a law student volunteer with the Commission through ProBono Students Canada.
Peter Doherty – Human Rights Intern – Winter 2019
Bio coming soon.
Melanie Alcorn – Human Rights Intern – Summer 2019
Melanie started volunteering with the Commission in 2017, as a law student at the University of British Columbia. She recently worked at the Indigenous Community Legal Clinic in Vancouver, representing Indigenous clients in criminal and family matters, as well as before administrative tribunals, such as the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal. Prior to law school, Melanie worked in the public service for both the BC and federal governments, including the BC Ministry of Attorney General, Constitutional and Administrative Law group. She holds a B.A. (Hons.) from the University of Victoria and an M.A. from Concordia University. In her free time, Melanie enjoys playing guitar, sewing, and being outdoors skating, snowboarding, and camping.
Brittni Tee – Human Rights Intern – Summer 2019
Brittni is a second-year BCL/LL.B student at McGill University. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and English Literature from the University of Toronto.
Prior to her legal studies, Brittni spent two years working as a policy advisor to the Federal Minister for the Status of Women, where she explored intersectional approaches to legal reform and policy-making. During this time, Brittni contributed to a number of government initiatives, such as the Federal Gender-Based Violence Prevention Strategy and the creation of Canada’s first ever gender-responsive Federal Budget. She currently volunteers with Pro Bono Students Canada and works as an assistant editor with the Quid Novi newspaper.
Brittni enjoys cooking, reading and exploring new places. She is looking forward to learning more about the practical implementation of human rights legislation at the Commission this summer.
Public Education Coordinator – Vacant
Please check back for opportunities.
Articled Student 2020-2021
Please see the Jobs and Opportunities page for the job posting.
Pro Bono Students Canada
Pro Bono Students Canada (PBSC) is the first pro bono organization in the country and a nationally respected program that is actively supported by the bar, judiciary and academy. PBSC was founded at the University of Toronto in 1996 and today operates in 22 law schools in Canada. Each year, PBSC harnesses the talent and drive of over 1500 law students across the country to provide legal services free of charge to low-income citizens and not-for-profit organizations. Thank you to our current students (2018-2019): Marie Eve Beland (Ottawa- Common), Nishat Hoque (Ottawa- Common), Theresa James (McGill), Ana Qarri (McGill), Melanie Alcorn (UBC), Dan Cheater (UBC), Rowan MacPhail (UVic), and Kiristy Hobbs (UVic).
McGill International Human Rights Internships
Administered by the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism (CHRLP), the International Human Rights Internships Program (IHRIP) is a fully credited course that allows students to earn six (6) credits toward the completion of the BCL/LLB degree. The Program interviews and selects law students for placements as interns with NGOS, courts, and public institutions for a period of 12 weeks over the summer. Partner organizations provide students with practical work experience in human rights investigation, monitoring, and reporting. The internships also provide exposure to the operation and implementation of human rights instruments and norms.