Advisory Committee

The Equality Effect - Who we are
KIM BERNHARDT
Kim Bernhardt is a lawyer who was in private practice for many years with Grant & Bernhardt, Barristers & Solicitors, a firm that specialized in labour, employment, human rights, administrative, and constitutional law. She now acts as an arbitrator and mediator of labour disputes.

Kim has been involved in community and legal organizations concerned with equity, law, education, and social issues; Thistletown Community Services; Ontario Black History Society; Amnesty International; Halton Board of Education, Equity Committee; Urban Alliance on Race Relations; Canadian Association of Black Lawyers; Delos Davis Law Guild; National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL), and the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund’s (LEAF’s) National Legal Committee (NLC).

Kim has volunteered at the Money Matters clinic for the Wellspring Cancer Support Foundation and has served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Nathaniel Dett Chorale; the equality effect; and as a member of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario’s Procedural Advisory Committee. She has also served as the Law Society of Ontario’s representative on the Ontario Judicial Council.

MARY EBERTS
Mary Eberts is an internationally-known litigator who has spent most of her career representing causes that promote equality in Canadian law. Mary is one of the founding mothers of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF). She is a role model for a generation of Canadian women pursuing legal careers.

Mary is a graduate of both the Western and Harvard law schools, her academic achievements are surpassed only by her accomplishments in the field of law. Many of the legal briefs she has authored are so noteworthy that they have been published as illustrations of the best possible legal arguments. She has published numerous articles and six books in her career, includingEquality Rights Under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms – universally regarded as one of the finest compilations of constitutional theory ever published.

Mary taught law at the University of Toronto for six years before beginning a law practice in 1980. She returned to the University as an adjunct professor in 1987 to teach constitutional law part-time.  Mary is counsel for the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC).  Mary is currently completing her Ph.D. in law at the University of Toronto.

Mary’s many awards include the Law Society Medal from the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Governor General’s Gold Medal and honorary degrees from three Canadian universities. Mary acted as the Gordon Henderson Human Rights Chair at the University of Ottawa 2004-5.

WINNIE KAMAU
Winifred Kamau holds a PhD from Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Canada, as well as LLB and LLM from the University of Nairobi, Kenya.  She is currently teaching at the School of Law, University of Nairobi.  She is also an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya and has practised law in that country for a number of years.  Winifred’s research interests are in the areas of alternative dispute resolution, informal justice systems and women’s human rights.  She is currently involved in a collaborative research group on gender and judging.

NGEYI KAMYONGOLO
Ngeyi has an LLB (Hons) from the University of Malawi, an LLM from the University of London, and a PhD from Warwick University.  Ngeyi is a lecturer at the Faculty of Law, Chancellor College, University of Malawi. Ngeyi specialises in women’s social economic rights especially social security, labour law and gender.  Ngeyi has served as president of Women Lawyers Association of Malawi and vice president of the Malawi Law Society. Ngeyi has also sat as a commissioner on the Malawi Law Commission’s special commission on gender related law reform for three years. Ngeyi has served as a non executive director on a number of institutions’ boards including investment banks and NGOs. Ngeyi is currently focused on conducting multi-disciplinary research in collaboration with fellow academics and gender activists, publication and offering transformative based teaching to law students in Malawi and the SADC region. Ngeyi’s latest writing and publications are in gender and Social Security in SADC.

PATRICIA NYAUNDI
Patricia Nyaundi is the Secretary and CEO of the Kenyan Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC).  Before being appointed to the TJRC, Patricia was the Executive Director of the Federation of Women Lawyers-Kenya (FIDA-Kenya).  She is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya with 17 years experience. She holds a Master of Laws in Human Rights law from the University of Cape town, South Africa. She has a passion for women’s’ right issues. Before joining FIDA Kenya, Patricia worked as a State Counsel in the Attorney General’s office and later as an advocate in private practice.  Prior to becoming Executive Director at FIDA, she served at FIDA for two years as a Senior Programme Officer both in the Access to Justice and the Transformative Justice Programmes.

MARGARET PARSONS
Margaret Parsons is the Executive Director of the African Canadian Legal Clinic. Ms. Parsons received her LL.B from the University of Windsor. As a law student at the University of Windsor, Ms. Parsons founded the Black Law Students Association of Canada. She has also served as an Adjudicator at the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal. Ms. Parsons helped to develop and co-ordinate the first African Canadian Court Worker Program in Ontario. Under her leadership, the ACLC has appeared on behalf of African Canadians in precedent setting cases at the Supreme Court of Canada and the Ontario Court of Appeal. Ms. Parsons represented the Americas region on the Co-ordinating Committee of the United Nations for the NGO Forum at the World Conference Against Racism which was held in Durban, South Africa. She has led several delegations to the United Nations to present both written and oral submissions on the plight and condition of African Canadians to critical UN bodies such as the UN Commission on Human Rights, the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, and the Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. In recent years, Ms. Parsons’ leadership was instrumental in establishing and co-ordinating the African Canadian Community Coalition on Racial Profiling in order to develop a united and effective community response to racial profiling. In 2007 and 2008 she was invited by the UN Working Group on People of African Descent to participate in the Working Group’s meetings as an expert in the area of anti-racism and racial profiling. The African Canadian Legal Clinic The ACLC was established in 1994 to address anti-Black racism and other forms of systemic and institutional discrimination in the justice system, education, employment, housing, health care and other spheres of society. The ACLC is the only organization of its kind in Canada. Working as a community-based legal service provider, the ACLC engages in test case litigation and public policy advocacy to address issues of discrimination and other State policies, practices and legislation that may negatively impact on the African Canadian community.

CHERIE BLAIR, QC “160 Girls” HONORARY COUNSEL
The equality effect is thrilled that Cherie Blair, Q.C., has joined the equality effect’s “160 Girls” legal protection against defilement project as “Honorary Counsel”.  Cherie Blair is a leading barrister specializing in human rights law and public law, and a staunch supporter of women’s rights.  Cherie brings a wealth of human rights experience and litigation expertise to the “160 Girls” project.  Cherie will provide advice and guidance on the development of the “160 Girls” initiative.  Cherie’s commitment to achieving justice for girls in Kenya is clear: “The sexual violence experienced by girls in Kenya is beyond appalling; it certainly cannot be tolerated and must stop.  The law must be enforced”.  The equality effect is honoured to be working with Cherie Blair, and grateful for her endorsement of this landmark human rights initiative.  For more information about Cherie Blair, please visit: http://www.cherieblair.org/

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