The Manitoba Human Rights Board of Commissioners

The Manitoba Human Rights Board of Commissioners consists of ten individuals (including a chairperson and a vice chairperson) who represent the geographic, cultural, social and economic profile of Manitoba. Commissioners are appointed by the Government of Manitoba.

The Board can dismiss a complaint, direct the parties to settle the complaint or ask the Chief Adjudicator to select an adjudicator from a list of those appointed under The Code for a public hearing. The adjudication process is independent of the Manitoba Human Rights Commission and the Board of Commissioners.

The Board also assists in the interpretation of The Human Rights Code by approving policies and guidelines for the Commission. It also approves all Commission publications and sets direction and priorities, such as the Commission's youth initiative.

Board meetings are held approximately every other month.

The following people sit on the current Manitoba Human Rights Board of Commissioners:

Chairperson

Yvonne Peters has a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Law from the University of Saskatchewan and a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Regina. She practices equality rights law in Winnipeg, providing legal consultation and advice.  She is the Chair of the Manitoba Accessibility Advisory Council, Vice-President of the Legal Help Centre and a Board member of the Winnipeg Folk Festival.

Vice Chairperson

Loretta Ross is a member of the Hollow Water First Nation in Manitoba and obtained her law degree from Queens’ University.  Loretta has been a practicing lawyer for over 20 years and has served as legal counsel to numerous First Nation governments and organizations. Loretta’s legal practice has ranged from child and family matters, trust and corporate law, land claims and residential school claims. Loretta strives to balance her work the work with her husband and four children.  In her spare time, Loretta loves to curl, golf and watch her children participate in their extra-curricular activities. 

Commissioners

Karen Banuga is Executive Assistant, Vice President Academic, Copyright Officer and Access and Privacy Coordinator for Assiniboine Community College. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Brandon University and is a member of the Islamic Community. Karen is a strong advocate of women's rights. She loves to travel and finds it helpful in understanding other cultures and belief systems. Karen is married with four children.

André Doumbè was born in Cameroon, Africa and studied Business Administration and was Purchasing Manager at Champs Food Systems from 1986 to 1998. He is currently working as a Market Information Officer at the Market Analysis Group, Grain and Oilseeds Division, Agriculture Canada. Mr. Doumbe has over twenty years community involvement at the grassroots level. He is currently serving as the President of the African Communities of Manitoba Inc. (ACOMI), a coalition of African grassroots organizations. He is a member of the Manitoba Immigration Council. He volunteers at United Way of Winnipeg, as a member of the education Committee. He is past President of Sous le Baobab, a Cameroonian grassroots organization in Winnipeg.

Leo Aniceto is a staff lawyer for Agassiz Community Law Centre, Family Unit, Legal Aid Manitoba. Prior to this, he practiced on his own for about five years helping clients in the areas of family law, criminal law, child protection and real estate. Leo has three children. He is a member of the Filipino community and enjoys helping fellow Filipinos with their legal problems whenever he can.

John Burchill has BA in Criminal Justice from Athabasca University and a law degree (JD) from the University of Manitoba. He is currently a civilian manager with the Winnipeg Police Service. Prior to re-joining the Police Service he had worked as a Crown Attorney with Manitoba Justice and a Risk Manager with the University of Manitoba. He had been a police officer for 25 years, six of which were spent as a supervisor of the Hate Crimes Team. He has taken training in hate crimes and human rights through Dalhousie University, the University of Manitoba, the California State University (Santa Barbara) and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research.

Joan Hay has lived in Winnipeg’s inner city for over twenty-five years. Joan co-authored a book on community development titled In Their Own Voices: Building Urban Aboriginal Communities, and is the current President of the Spence Neighbourhood Association. She is also involved with many inner city boards and committees and currently works at the Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre Inc. as a Community Helper/Emergency Services Worker and at the Native Women's Transition Centre as a Residential Support Worker. Joan is of Ojibwe/Dakota descent from Waywayseecappo First Nation in Manitoba.

Dr. Donn Short, B.A. (Hons.); M.F.A.; J.D.; Ph.D., is the author of Don't Be So Gay: Queers, Bullying, and Making Schools Safe. He is the recipient of a research Fellowship from the Law Foundation of British Columbia, a Social Sciences Humanities Research Council Standard Research Grant, as well as other academic honours, awards and prizes. At Robson Hall, he founded the group Outlaws and is the founding Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Journal of Human Rights. He had written a number of dramatic works and is currently at work on two more books - one dealing with bullying in high schools and another assessing sexual orientation and religion-based rights claims. Dr. Short is a member of the education committee of Egale Canada Human Rights Trust.

Diane Dwarka is a retired librarian and passionate community volunteer. She has been President of the Council of Caribbean Organizations of Manitoba, Community Legal Education Association, Manitoba Association for Multicultural Education, the Women’s Inter- Church Council of Winnipeg, Chair of Red River College Alumni, and many others. As a lay member, Diane has served all four courts of the United Church of Canada. Among the many awards she has received in recognition for her work is a Public Legal Education Award, the YM-YWCA Women of Distinction Award, the Red River Distinguished Alumnus Award, the Premier’s Award for Volunteerism, the B’nai Brith Human Rights Award, was 2014 Folklorama Ambassador General and was honoured and humbled to receive an eagle feather.