Founded in 1983 - United for Diversity and Racial Equality


Montreal, December 18, 2018 — All political parties in the National Assembly should commit to the principle of diversity and fair representation in appointing Commissioners at the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission, as the latest nomination of two new part-time members still leaves the Commission with a serious diversity deficit.

The Commission announced last week that the National Assembly has appointed two new members to the Commission, lawyer Marie-Laure Leclerq, a corporate lawyer from a major downtown law firm, and Anne-Marie Santorineos, a staff at SOQUIJ, a legal information non-profit organization (

While the Commission states in its press release that these two members “confirm the diversity of its members”, the Commission’s composition, especially among the Commissioners in charge of Charter right, is still far short of the kind of diversity which behooves an organization whose mission includes combating racial and ethnic discrimination.

“It seems that the preferred profile of diversity is “white and female from the corporate sector”, says Fo Niemi, CRARR Executive Director. “And some have no proven track experience on racism, systemic or otherwise.”

“There seems to be a racial and ethnolinguistic hierarchy of diversity and bias at play here, since there is still no Charter rights Commissioner among the five now in place who comes from First Nations, racialized groups, and the English-speaking community,” Niemi added.

CRARR had publicly raised, last January, questions about the Commission’s senior staffing appointment, which for the first time in years, is lily-white and francophone.

“The Commission needs to be accountable and it should commit to meet its employment equity obligation by explaining how it will redress racial, ethnic and anglophone exclusion in its senior staffing, which it has yet to do because managers have a lot of influence, perhaps more than part-time Commissioners,” Niemi stressed.

“The government and all members of the National Assembly must show their commitment to true diversity in appointments and diversify the composition of the Commission, with the next three vacancies to be filled, including the Chair and Vice-Chair. Will the next appointees come from the English-speaking, Indigenous, Black, Muslim and Jewish communities?,” Niemi asked.

“Until these groups are represented among Commissioners and senior managers, one cannot say that diversity and fair presentation are the Commission’s hallmark,” he concluded.

This year, the Commission’s President Tamara Thermitus has stepped down due to internal complaints. Commissioners Charmaine Lyn and Richard Janda, both anglophones, have also resigned. Vice-Chair Camil Picard and Commissioner Pascale Fournier also resigned during the year.

In the new year, CRARR will work closely with organizations representing Indigenous, racialized and English-speaking communities to ensure diversity in future appointments.