Panel: Advocating Through Human Rights

Advocacy is about speaking out on Human Rights issues and taking action to improve a situation.  Please join this panel as they explore the way the Human Rights Code can support advocates to ensure full lives for all people.  This panel will focus on the principles of human rights and examine a path to help achieve the principles.

Brenlee Carrington Trepel, Lawyer fullsizeoutput_10bb

Manitoba Human Rights Commission Chairperson Brenlee Carrington Trepel is a lawyer, mediator and educator. The Commission enforces the Human Rights Code through its complaint procedures, conducting public education programs and carrying out activities that promote human rights. As the Law Society of Manitoba’s first equity ombudsperson, Brenlee educated on and resolved workplace human rights issues for the legal profession for 16 years. She graduated from the University of Manitoba Faculty of Law where she was a sessional instructor for nine years.  Brenlee received the Manitoba Bar Association’s Equality and Community Involvement Awards. She has authored many legal articles and is a frequent guest speaker. She has also been recognized by LEAF National as one of 25 lawyers in Canada who advanced women’s equality.

Isha Khan, Executive Director for The Manitoba Human Rights Commission fullsizeoutput_10a1
In her role, Isha oversees the Commission’s complaint process and human rights education mandate, regularly presenting to organizations on current and emerging human rights issues. She also acts as senior counsel for the Commission advising on the investigation of complaints and other activities of the Commission, and represents the public’s interest at adjudication hearings, working closely with complainants to prove their complaints of discrimination.  She obtained her law degree from the University of Victoria and is called to the British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba bars.  She has chaired the Review Tribunal for CPP disability benefits and practised as a labour and employment lawyer in Calgary.

Grant Mitchell, Retired Lawyer and Instructor fullsizeoutput_109f

Grant recently retired after practising law for almost 40 years at Taylor McCaffrey where he focused on labour, employment and human rights law. He acted as an external counsel to the Human Rights Commission before they had internal counsel. Grant represented disability organization, People in Equal Participation Inc., as an intervenor in the Robert Latimer Murder Trial. The trial hit close to home to him as his eldest daughter has cerebral palsy. He also taught at University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Law for 22 years in labour relations and trial advocacy. He has represented many of the largest and most prestigious employers in Manitoba, including the largest universities, municipalities, manufacturers, construction companies, retail companies and service organization.

Nancy HansenAssociate Professor and Director of the Interdisciplinary Master’s Program in Disability Studies, University of Manitoba fullsizeoutput_10a5

Nancy obtained a PhD (Human Geography) from the University of Glasgow and her research interests in disability studies are varied ranging including; disability in spaces of culture education, literacy social policy, employment healthcare access and experiences of disabled and LGBTQ communities in post-conflict areas. Nancy is a former member of the Member CAUT Working Group Academics with Disabilities and Equity Committee, former President of the Canadian Disability Studies Association. Nancy received an Einstein research fellowship examining Disability Studies and the Legacy of Nazi Eugenics. Nancy received the ICUF Sprott Asset Management Scholarship examining disability history.

Lori Schafer, Advocate fullsizeoutput_10a3

Communicator, trainer, passionate advocator and tenacious activist. Lori is familiar with human rights affecting discrimination in the workplace for those with autism. She has done extensive work in advocating both in the school and work setting for youth with autism. She’s fought for systemic change in the workplace by advocating for a Human Rights Complaint.


Scott Blakely, Panelist 


Scott has earned his double striped red belt in Taekwondo. He works on computers is interested in building networks and wants to design computer programs that help people with disabilities. He carries a diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome and has been part of the process of filing a human rights case that was ultimately resolved with his employer prior to a public adjudication.