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 formerly a Crown Prosecutor with the Nunavut Regional Office of the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, and also served as an adjudicator with the Nunavut Human Rights Tribunal. Jessica has also served as a member of the federal Judicial Advisory Committee for Yukon, as an international election observer in Ukraine for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. She is currently a national advisory board member for the Canadian Bar Association’s CBA-SIRD international initiatives partnership project on gender-based human rights impacts of the extractive industry in East Africa. Jessica holds an LL.B. (UVic), an M.A. in Human Security and Peacebuilding (Royal Roads University), a LL.M. in Constitutional Law (Osgoode), a graduate certificate in Justice System Administration (York University), and an intensive certificate in international human rights with the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights (University of Oslo). Jessica is fluent in French and Spanish.
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.
Human Rights Officers
Bio coming soon.
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.
Lisa Stewart – Administrative Assistant
Lisa joined the commission in June 2019. She holds a Bachelor of Science and Arts from Quest University Canada. Lisa has studied cognitive science, psychology and neurology, and took particular interest in Social-Emotional Intelligence. During her degree, she gained experience supporting a team of research professionals in Dr. Oppenheimer’s cognition lab at UCLA Anderson School of Management. Originally from the Okanagan, Lisa enjoys waterskiing, snow skiing, hiking, biking, traveling and running.
STUDENTS AND INTERNS
Rowan Macphail – Articled Student 2019-2020
Rowan joined the Commission in October 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.
Drew Spicer – Human Rights Intern
Drew joined the Commission in September 2019. He has previously worked as researcher in the areas of sustainable community development, human rights, Indigenous rights and health, and criminal justice. He is a former commercial aviation flight instructor, and in 2017, he worked as a research assistant to Dr. Yvonne Boyer at the Brandon University. Drew was born and raised in Yukon, and has recently returned after living in Manitoba, the Netherlands, and aboard a sailboat in British Columbia. Drew holds a B.A. (Hons.) in Rural and Community Development (Brandon University), a Justice Systems Certificate (Brandon University), and has studied international law at The Hague University of Applied Sciences. Drew is currently a Board Member with United Way Yukon, and loves mountain biking, skiing, hiking and paddling with his family and friends.
Articled Student 2020-2021
This competition has now closed. Bio coming soon.
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 student team for 2019-2020: Emily Aloe (U Ottawa), Katharine Cornish (U Ottawa), Janani Thillainathan (U Victoria), Micky Hoskin (U Victoria), Leila Nasr (UBC), Jannine Punzalan (UBC), Theresa James (McGill), Sandrine Royer (McGill).
McGill International Human Rights Internships
The Commission regularly hosts one or two students from the McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism (CHRLP) each summer. Thank you to Brittni Tee, our summer human rights intern in 2019-2020.
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.