Under the Museums Act, the Museum’s Board of Trustees serves as its governing body and is accountable to Parliament for the stewardship of the Museum through the Minister of Canadian Heritage. The Board is appointed by the Governor in Council.
Board of Trustees
Board of Trustees as of June 22, 2019
- J. Pauline Rafferty, Victoria, British Columbia
- Michèle Rivet, Montréal, Québec
- Gail Asper, Winnipeg, Manitoba
- Mark L. Berlin, Ottawa, Ontario
- Julie Jai, Toronto, Ontario and Whitehorse, Yukon
- Wilton Littlechild, Maskwacis, Alberta
- Rob Philpott, Summerside, Prince Edward Island
- Pardeep Singh Nagra, Toronto, Ontario
- Benjamin Nycum, Halifax, Nova Scotia
- Ana Serrano, Toronto, Ontario
- Robyn Sneath, Brandon, Manitoba
J. Pauline Rafferty, Victoria, British Columbia
Pauline Rafferty is the former chief executive officer of the Royal British Columbia Museum (RBCM). Trained as an archaeologist, Pauline’s work first centred on archaeology, then on heritage interpretation. Throughout her career, Pauline held various high-level positions in government, and was appointed assistant deputy minister at the Ministry of Women’s Equality in 1990. After retiring from the RBCM in March 2012, she has continued to be active on the boards of both national and provincial organizations. She serves on the board of the British Columbia Government House Foundation, and BC’s Provincial Health Services. She is a former board member of Simon Fraser University, Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, as well as former president of the Alliance of Natural History Museums of Canada. Pauline has also been honoured for her work in 2014 with a Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Victoria. In 2016, she was honoured with the Order of British Columbia and also received the Queen Elizabeth II, Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Michèle Rivet, Montréal, Québec
Me Michèle Rivet is a member of the Barreau du Québec and an associate professor at the Université de Sherbrooke. She has been a member of the International Council of Museums Canada (ICOM Canada) Board of Directors since 2017 and Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights since January 2019. She studied law at the Université de Montréal and the Université de Paris, where she obtained a master's degree in private law. She also holds a master's degree in museology from the Université de Montréal, which focused on First Nations and museum issues. Michèle Rivet was the first President of the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal, established in 1990, a position she held until 2010. She had previously been a Commissioner of the Law Reform Commission of Canada and a judge for the Youth Court. She was also Vice-President of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) in Geneva from 2011 to 2017; she remains an honorary member. In 2005, Michèle received an honorary doctorate from the University of Ottawa for her involvement in human rights, both nationally and internationally. The Quebec Court awarded her a gold medal for her outstanding career in 2011, and in June 2015, the Barreau du Québec awarded her the title of Advocatus Emeritus. In December 2018, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, appointed Michèle Rivet as a Member of the Order of Canada.
Gail Asper, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Gail Asper is President of The Asper Foundation, a private charitable foundation, which spearheaded the creation of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Previously she served as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of CanWest Global Communications Corp. and was a member of the Board from 1992–2010. She graduated with an LLB from the University of Manitoba in 1984 and practiced corporate and commercial law in Halifax. Gail is a Governor of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a member of the Friends of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights Board, having served as the National Campaign Chair for the Museum’s private sector campaign. Gail has received numerous awards for her community service, including the 2005 Governor-General’s Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts, the Order of Manitoba, the Order of Canada and several honorary doctorates. She has also received the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Mark L. Berlin, Ottawa, Ontario
Mark Berlin is Professor of Practice at McGill University in Montreal where he teaches courses in international development. Mark was formerly Director General of International Legal Programmes at the Department of Justice, Senior General Counsel and Special Advisor to the Deputy Minister, as well as counsel and advisor to four former Ministers of Justice and Attorney Generals of Canada, including serving as Special Advisor on the Middle East. As National Executive Director of Outreach for the Department of Justice, he lectured at every law school across the country. Throughout his public service career, he was Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Ottawa in both the civil law and common law faculties, teaching in both official languages and writing extensively on human rights; he co-authored the legal textbook Human Rights and Freedoms in Canada. A graduate of the Universities of Toronto (B.A.), Ottawa (LL.B) and Cambridge (M.Phil.), Mark is a former Board member of the Canadian Bar Association, the Ontario Bar Association and the Law Commission of Ontario. He was Chair of the Board of Reach Canada, an organization providing pro bono legal advice to members of the disability community. He also served as Vice-Chair of the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa-Carleton and as Vice-Chair of the Mayor’s committee on visible minorities.
Julie Jai, Toronto, Ontario and Whitehorse, Yukon
Julie Jai is a part-time member of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario and a former senior executive and legal counsel with the governments of Canada, Ontario and Yukon. She was legal advisor to the Yukon government on comprehensive land claim and self-government negotiations with Yukon First Nations and was Chief Negotiator on Indigenous self-government in the justice field. Julie continues to write and speak on Aboriginal law, reconciliation and human rights issues, and has been an advocate for the rights of transgender people and people who are incarcerated. She led organizational and cultural change as a senior executive with the Department of Justice Canada and supported and guided Cabinet decision-making processes at Ontario’s Cabinet Office. Julie has been actively engaged as a volunteer in her communities and has served as a board member of St. Joseph’s Health Centre, an executive member of the Canadian and Ontario Bar Associations, a mentor with the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers, and president of the Canadian Lawyers Association for International Human Rights. Through her professional and volunteer activities, she works to promote understanding and respect for all people.
Wilton Littlechild, Maskwacis, Alberta
For more than 30 years, Dr. Wilton Littlechild has worked to build bridges between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people through athletics, politics, and law. An accomplished lawyer, he is the first Indigenous person appointed to Queen's Council by the Alberta Law Society. He brought Native issues to public attention while serving as the first Treaty Indian Member of Parliament. Wilton has been active with a number of organizations both within Canada and abroad, including the Indigenous Parliament of the Americas, the United Nations, the National Indian Athletic Association, and the Canadian Council of International Law. He has given lectures on various occasions, including at the Human Rights Institute of the University of Hawaii. Wilton served as one of three Commissioners on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, whose final report was release on December 15, 2015. For his participation in Aboriginal and athletic endeavours, he has been honoured with several awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award as an Aboriginal Role Model and the Order of Canada and inducted into seven sports Halls of Fame. He graduated from the University of Alberta with a master’s degree in Physical Education, a Bachelor of Law Degree, and an Honorary Doctorate at Law. In December 2016, Wilton accepted his nomination as Grand Chief of the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations.
Rob Philpott, Summerside, Prince Edward Island
Rob Philpott has over 15 years of leadership experience in government, finance and human resources. He is currently the Chief Administration Officer with the City of Summerside, Prince Edward Island, a role which he assumed in 2020 after serving as its Chief Financial Officer for the previous six years. Among other roles, he had also served as the CEO of PEI’s main referral hospital, and as a senior advisor to the Province of Nova Scotia’s Treasury Board. He has worked closely with boards of directors, municipal councils and elected and appointed officials at all levels of government in Atlantic Canada, in the areas of health care, community services and municipal administration. Rob’s governance experience includes prior service on not-for-profit boards in Nova Scotia and PEI, as well as at the national level. He has spoken at conferences across Canada and the United States on topics such as accountability, engagement, performance management and customer service. Rob has a Master of Business Administration from Dalhousie University, a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Memorial University of Newfoundland, and he is a Chartered Professional Accountant.
Pardeep Singh Nagra, Toronto, Ontario
Professionally, Pardeep Singh Nagra is a speaker, teacher, trainer and consultant with substantial experience in organizational change. He specializes in employee engagement, inclusive workplace strategies, equity, and diversity work. He has held positions in university, college, public health, police and human services sectors, and currently works with the Toronto District School Board as Manager, Employment Equity. Personally, Pardeep’s interest in charitable, community spirit and humanitarian work has touched the lives of many people and communities over an extended period of time. His work and service has been recognized and valued as he was the recipient of the YMCA Canada Peace Medal, University of Toronto Arbor Award, Region of Peel Chair’s Award for community service, Auxiliary Constable of the Year with Peel Regional Police, and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, to name a few. Some of his favourite charitable activities are the CN Tower stair climb and the Toronto Polar Bear Dip. In addition to being highlighted in various textbooks in Canada, Pardeep is featured as a question in the Trivial Pursuit board game. The Hollywood movie Tiger, released in October 2018, is based on the true story of Pardeep’s journey as a boxer.
Benjamin Nycum, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Benjie is the CEO of Nycum + Associates, a Halifax-based architecture and planning firm that specializes in complex public architecture and planning. Benjie is passionate about the intersections of human processes and group dynamics in the service of marginalized populations. Benjie is an adjunct professor at Dalhousie University Faculty of Architecture and an instructor at the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Syllabus Program where he is also engaged as a subject matter expert for curriculum development. In 2000 he wrote and published the XY Survival Guide for LGBT teens and subsequently founded Young Gay America, which conducted road-trip style interviews with 1500 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in 47 states and 6 provinces. The project culminated in the creation of the full-length documentary Jim in Bold, the YGA magazine and the Exuberance! exhibition which extensively toured Europe and North America. Benjie is currently a director at the Design and Construction Institute of Nova Scotia, the Canadian Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and the Halifax International Airport, and has served on the board of Egale Canada Human Rights Trust.
Ana Serrano, Toronto, Ontario
Ana Serrano is the Chief Digital Officer of the Canadian Film Centre (CFC) and founder of the CFC Media Lab, the world-renowned institute for interactive storytelling created in 1997. Most recently, she launched Canada’s first digital entertainment accelerator IDEABOOST and serves as its Managing Director. To date, Ana has directed the development of over 130 digital media projects, mentored over 50 start-ups, and has received numerous awards from the digital media, film and theatre industries in both Canada and the U.S., including a Digital Media Trailblazing Award in 2015 from the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television. In 2018, Ana received the insignia of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters) from the French government. Alongside this deep experience in digital media and entertainment, Ana has been an active volunteer for numerous organizations and currently sits as Co-Chair of the Open Democracy Project and as a board member of The Centre for Mindfulness Studies and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
Robyn Sneath, Brandon, Manitoba
Dr. Robyn Sneath is an entrepreneur and community builder. She is the CEO of Sneath Group, a consortium of four businesses – SKIN Clinics, Sneath Projects, Bowerbird Holdings and Fraser Sneath Coffee. She is passionate about building healthier, more vibrant communities, and to that end she serves on the board of CanU Canada, the D.F. Plett Historical Research Foundation, and acts as a champion for downtown revitalization across the Prairies. She holds a Master’s from Harvard, a Bachelor of Education from UBC, a BA from the University of Winnipeg, and a doctorate from the University of Oxford, in Education, where she studied as a Trudeau scholar. Before going into business, she taught history at the secondary and post-secondary level, and worked as a researcher and a model. As the first in her family to attend university, she is passionate about the transformative power of education.