The Board of Commissioners carry out the responsibilities of the Commission as set out in The Human Rights Code. Commissioners are appointed by the Lieutenant Governor-in-Council and represent the geographic, cultural, social and economic profile of Manitoba.
The Commissioners provide strategic direction to the Commission. They also have specific responsibilities with respect to complaints made under The Human Rights Code, and their decisions are reviewable by the Court of Queen's Bench.
Chairperson, Laurie Bonten is Founder and Senior Investment Advisor of Enhanced Wealth Management, at Wellington-Altus Private Wealth. Since joining this file, Bonten has been committed to increasing the representation of women in the financial investment sector. Bonten has also been a strong community advocate, serving most recently as Co-Chair of the David Foster Foundation Miracle Gala & Concert hosted in Winnipeg. Bonten has also volunteered with the United Way Major Donors Winnipeg and Manitoba Special Olympics.
Vice-Chairperson, John Burchill is Chief of Staff for the Winnipeg Police Service. He has a law degree from the University of Manitoba, and an LL.M. from Osgoode Hall, York University. In addition to completing a number of intensive programs in human rights, Indigenous law and hate crimes over the past 20 years, John was in charge of the police hate crimes team for six years during which he developed two training programs in hate crimes and human rights. John also possesses a Diploma in International Environmental Law with a strong interest in the human right to clean water and a healthy environment.
Jeannette Acheson is a Parole Officer with the Correctional Service of Canada and has worked with them in a variety of positions since 1984. She has a B.A. with distinction in Criminology and Psychology from the U of M and is fluently bilingual. She often acts as an expert witness for the Correctional Service of Canada in the area of Dangerous Offenders testifying in Manitoba and Ontario courts. She is the Vice Chair of the Manitoba Police Commission and has served on the Board of The Laurel Centre, a treatment centre for women who were sexually abused as children, and continues to serve as an Honourary Board member. She is alsoTrustee for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
Michael Reader is the Director of Capital Management for the Northern Regional Health Authority. He has worked with the NRHA since 2008. Prior to this he worked with Tolko Kraft Papers and previous owners of The Pas paper mill for 28 years as an Industrial Electrician & 3rd Class Power Engineer. During that time, he held various positions with the Union Executive of the Communications Energy & Paperworkers Union and previous Canadian Paperworkers Union. He is of Métis ancestry and was born and raised in The Pas. Mike enjoys all aspects of northern living and is an avid outdoorsman.
Ian Grant is former Chief of Police with the City of Brandon-Brandon Police Service and is currently serving as a Special Advisor for Public Safety programs at Assiniboine Community College in Brandon. He has a B.A. from Memorial University and a Masters in Rural Development from Brandon University. Ian also holds an Honorary Diploma in Police Studies from Assiniboine Community College. He began his policing career with the RCMP in 1980 and in 1985 joined the Brandon Police Service. He played a key role in the development of The Missing Persons Act during a secondment with the Province of Manitoba. Ian has been involved with boards including Sisters in Spirit Walk Organizing Committee and Community Mobilization Westman.
Tracy Leipsic is a speed skating coach with the River Heights Speed Skating Club, coaching all levels of athletes including beginner, Provincial teams, Masters and Special Olympics athletes. She has a Business Administration diploma from Red River Community College and is a Canadian Accredited Insurance Broker with 17 years of experience in the insurance industry. She is the Vice President, Finance of the Manitoba Speed Skating Association, and has been involved with the 2017 Canada Summer Games, Canadian Sport Centre MB, Revolution Diving Club and Winnipeg Jewish Child & Family Services.
Darcy Strutinsky is a consultant to the public and private sector on respectful workplace, harassment and discrimination issues in unionized work environments. He has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Manitoba and has worked for extensively in the area of human resources and labour relations, primarily in the health care field, holding senior management positions with the Labour Relations Secretariat, Health Sciences Centre and Seven Oaks Hospital. He serves as a member of the Manitoba Labour Board and the Labour Management Review Committee, and with the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba.
Aaron Penner is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and a retired partner of KPMG. During his 34 years with that firm, Aaron worked primarily with owner-managed businesses and not-for-profit organizations providing his clients with accounting, auditing, and tax services. In addition, he provided many other business advisory services including strategic planning, succession planning, organizational reviews, and business planning.
After retiring from KPMG in 2008, Aaron worked with several international not-for-profit organizations that focused on humanitarian aid and economic development. This led to meaningful and interesting work for Aaron, in many countries. Prior to becoming fully retired in 2017, Aaron spent five years as the Director of Finance for Mennonite Central Committee Canada.
Aaron has always been, and continues to be, actively involved in the community by serving as a director on a variety of boards.
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