First NationsHuman RightsOntario Human Rights Commission

Ontario Human Rights Commission in Timmins June 18-20 2018

Taking it local human rights in Timmins

The OHRC is returning to Timmins, Ontario  for a three day session on human rights and First Nations issues.

The return visit is taking place after a March, 2018 visit by Chief Commissioner, Renu Mandhane in the aftermath of unexplained deaths of First Nations members Joey Knapysweet, 21, and Agnes Sutherland, 62 while interacting with Timmins Police on February 2. Both came from Fort Albany to seek medical attention in Timmins.

Renu Mandhane chief commissioner, OHRC will be in Timmins to hold sessions on Human Rights and Indigenous Issues. Photo courtesy of OHRC.

Back in March Chief Commissioner Mandhane said it was important for Timmins and other cities in Ontario to address systemic racism in their communities.

The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) will be returning to Timmins, Ontario to engage with civic and Indigenous leaders and build the capacity of local service agencies to meet their legal obligations under Ontario’s Human Rights Code.

On June 18, the OHRC will meet with civic and Indigenous leaders to discuss how to best advance reconciliation and better protect the human rights of First Nations, Métis and Inuit (Indigenous) peoples who live and/or access services in Timmins.

A memorial setup by members of the Timmins Aboriginal Community to mark the spot where a Timmins Police Services officer shot and killed Joey Knapaysweet, 21, from Fort Albany, Ontario. Photo by Frank Giorno, TheONE.

On June 19, the OHRC, in partnership with the City of Timmins, will host Taking it Local: An Update on Human Rights. This free one-day event will feature plenary and concurrent sessions on a variety of human rights topics .

OHRC Taking it Local – Timmins Update on Human Rights

Featured speakers include Commissioners and staff from the OHRC, guests from the City of Timmins and local community leaders.

Also, on Wednesday, June 20, the OHRC will be delivering two free education sessions on human rights protections for practising Indigenous spirituality. There will be a morning session (8:30am-12noon) for Indigenous individuals and community members and an afternoon session (12:30-4:00 pm) for employers and service providers. Both will be held in the McIntyre Community Centre in the Auditorium.

Mayor Steve Black has said that it is important for Timmins to address issues of systemic racism. Frank Giorno for TheONE.

More information can be found here: . To register for one of these sessions, please contact Darlene Kaboni at or 416-314-4540 as soon as possible.

The morning session is open to Indigenous individuals and community groups seeking information about their rights under Ontario’s Human Rights Code and will offer practical guidance on how to address discrimination based on spirituality.

The afternoon session is geared to employers and organizations providing services to Indigenous peoples and will provide an overview of how to accommodate Indigenous spiritual practices.

OHRC human rights protections practising indigenous spirituality for employers & service providers

Chief Commissioner Renu Mandhane will be available for media interviews on June 19. Please email me to schedule an interview, register to attend the public education events, or for any further media inquiries.

About the OHRC 

The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) was established as an arm’s length agency of government in 1961 to prevent discrimination and to promote and advance human rights in Ontario. The OHRC is one pillar of Ontario’s human rights system, alongside the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) and the Human Rights Legal Support Centre (HRLSC).

About the Ontario Human Rights Commission

Meet the Commissioners

The commissioners on the OJRC have have in-depth knowledge and expertise in human rights issues and issues relating to vulnerable populations, public policy, social values, and concepts of fairness, justice and public service. 

Chief Commissioner Renu Mandhane  – Appointed October 2015

Renu Mandhane was appointed Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission in October 2015. She is the former Executive Director of the award-winning International Human Rights Program at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. She has an LL.M in international human rights law from New York University. Renu began her practice focused on criminal law, and in that capacity she represented many survivors of sexual violence and prisoners. Renu sits on the Canada Committee of Human Rights Watch, and has appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada and the United Nations. Most recently, Renu was recognized by Canadian Lawyer magazine as one of Canada’s most influential lawyers for her advocacy related to solitary confinement.

For information about all of the OHRC commissioners click on the link

Meet the OHRC Commissioners


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Frank Giorno

Frank Giorno Frank Giorno lives in Timmins, Ontario. He is a graduate of York University (Honors B.A Political Science) and Ryerson School of Journalism (B.A. Journalism). Frank has worked as a city hall reporter for the Brandon Sun; freelanced for the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star. He is the past editor of and the newsletter of the Association of Italian Canadian Writers. Frank has also worked as Research Director for the Canadian Environmental Law Association; Senior Communications Advisor on Water Quality Issues for the Ministry of the Environment; Public Affairs Associate for Region of Peel Public Works; and Media Relations Officer for Toronto Public Health. In Timmins, he served as the Communications Manager for Mushkegowuk Environmental Research Centre/Five Nations Energy Project on Energy Conservation. He freelanced for Frank is a published author of essays on the internment of Italian-Canadians during World War 2, “Internee 328: Camp Petawawa” co-written with James McCreath appears in “Beyond Barbed Wire” (Guernica Editions 2012). He has published four books of poetry, My Nation is a Train...Wreck (2017, Northern Voices Publications), MoPoPoMo (2016, Northern Voices Publications), “Elvis in America,” and “Arrivederci! Plastic Covered Couch ( 2006, 2008 Lyricalmyrical Press)”.

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