Staff

Sukanya Pillay Sukanya Pillay – Executive Director and General Counsel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association & Education TrustSukanya Pillay is the new Executive Director and  General Counsel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association & Education Trust. In 2009, Sukanya joined CCLA as Director of the just-formed National Security Program, and advanced CCLA’s work in fighting for compliance with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in Canada’s counterterrorism activities.  She has appeared before domestic bodies including the Supreme Court of Canada and international venues to argue for the protection of fundamental rights as a prerequisite for the effective protection of peace and security in Canada. Sukanya’s work has won awards, including the Holmes-Cardozo award for Outstanding Conference Paper from the American Academy of Legal Studies in Business for a co-authored paper on genetic privacy.

In November 2013, Sukanya received the President’s Award from the South Asian Bar Association of Ontario.  Sukanya also brings a wealth of domestic and international legal experience having run high-profile programs for international NGOs, including Witness at Human Rights First in New York, the Law and Human Rights Program for TVE International, as a law professor at the University of Windsor, and as a documentary filmmaker. She clerked at the Ontario Court of Justice, was seconded to work with the Honourable Justice Robert Blair on the First Civil Justice Review, and worked in Toronto at one of Canada’s leading law firms. She has made dozens of missions to conflict zones worldwide in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East; appeared before UN treaty bodies and Canadian courts on human rights issues; and has represented clients or presented expert evidence before administrative and judicial bodies in the US, India, Canada, and Europe.  She has published in peer-reviewed academic journals, and made documentary films on issues regarding the rights of vulnerable groups and victims of human rights abuses. email address: pillay@ccla.org

Nathalie Des Rosiers - General Counsel 2009-2013Nathalie Des Rosiers, the Executive Director and General Counsel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association since July 2009, took up a new position as Dean of the Common Law section at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law in 2013. The CCLA Board wishes Nathalie every success and indeed, is indebted to her for the outstanding innumerable achievements she accomplished during her tenure at CCLA, steering the organization to stellar new heights.  Some of her many contributions include expanding CCLA’s presence at both national and international levels, establishing the annual RightsWatch conference and RightsWatch network to monitor civil liberties issues country-wide, orchestrating CCLA’s response to the G20 and ongoing police accountability, and expanding CCLA’s work on equality issues such as refugee, youth, and LGBTQ rights. The list is far from exhaustive, and most recently she was awarded the Order of Canada for her many accomplishments, including her work with the organization. Both the CCLA Staff and Board will miss her greatly.
Cara Faith Zwibel - Director, Fundamental Freedoms ProgramCara Faith Zwibel joined the Canadian Civil Liberties Association in April 2010.  She is currently Director of the CCLA’s Fundamental Freedoms Program.Cara graduated from McGill University in 2001 with an Honours degree in Political Science.  She received her LL.B. from Osgoode Hall Law School in 2004, and articled as a law clerk to the Honourable Justice Ian Binnie at the Supreme Court of Canada in 2004-2005, before being called to the Ontario bar in 2005.  Cara also received her Master of Laws degree from New York University, where she was an Arthur T. Vanderbilt Scholar.  Prior to joining the CCLA, Cara worked as an Associate at a large national law firm, practicing in the areas of public law, health law and commercial litigation.  She has experience representing clients at all levels of court and before administrative tribunals, and has co-authored published articles on the rule of law in the Supreme Court of Canada and on Charteradvocacy.  Her work with the CCLA involves providing legal opinions and research, coordinating interventions before the courts, preparing submissions to legislative bodies and assisting with the CCLA and CCLET’s public education work.email address: czwibel@ccla.org 
Abby Deshman - Director, Public Safety ProgramAbby first joined the CCLA in July 2008 as the Law Foundation of Ontario’s Pro-Bono Articling Fellow and stayed on through 2009 and part of 2010 as the Project Director of the Fundamental Freedoms Project. She graduated from the University of Toronto Law School with an Hons JD in 2008, and obtained an LLM from New York University in 2010. She is currently involved in all aspects of CCLA’s advocacy and educational programs, including the litigation, legislative advocacy, policy work, and civil liberties workshops for high school and university students.Abby has always been very active in the areas of social justice and human rights. Prior to joining the CCLA she worked with numerous local and international non-governmental organizations, including the United Nations High Council for Refugees in Kenya and Human Rights Watch’s Terrorism/Counterterrorism division in New York. During law school, she spent a term representing family, immigration and criminal law clients at Downtown Legal Services, the University of Toronto’s poverty law clinic. She was also a case worker in the law school’s International Human Rights Clinic, where she worked primarily on international human rights and counterterrorism issues, including the Clinic’s intervention before the Supreme Court of Canada in the Khadr case.Her previous work has also taken her to Nicaragua, Bangladesh, Belize and Peru. Although she loves Toronto, she is concerned about the lack of sun available during Canadian winters, and is therefore constantly on the lookout for inexpensive flights to combat incipient vitamin D deficiencies.email address: adeshman@ccla.org
Noa Mendelsohn Aviv - Director, Equality ProgramNoa Mendelsohn Aviv joined the Canadian Civil Liberties Association in 2002.  As Director of CCLA’s Equality Program, Noa works on such issues as protections for migrants and refugees; healthcare; LGBTQ rights; race and gender issues; mental health and prisons; and generally the rights of persons who are marginalized or disadvantaged.  Noa has also served as CCLA’s Freedom of Expression Project Director, and dealt extensively with free speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion.  In the effort to promote and protect rights and freedoms in Canada, Noa has been involved with numerous CCLA interventions in the courts – including the Supreme Court of Canada, and has made submissions to various governmental, legislative and public bodies.  She has also addressed various groups and has spoken out frequently in the media.  In addition, Noa is an integral member of CCLET’s public education project, engaging students at schools and faculties of education in discussions on the challenges of civil liberties.Before joining the CCLA, Noa volunteered and worked at the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, and was involved in some leading civil rights cases.  Concurrent with her graduate legal studies, she spent several years as a lawyer in a small firm.  Her practice areas included litigation, labour, commercial, and corporate law.  Noa has also served as Acting Administrative Director of Hebrew University’s Center for Human Rights, and as Field Coordinator for a large research project on eating disorders in women.Noa earned her law degree (LL.B.) and Masters of Law (LL.M.) from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel, where she focused on equality, civil rights, and certain interdisciplinary studies.  She was called to the Israeli Bar in May 1998.  She received her B.A. (with Distinction) in sociology from York University in Toronto.  In her free time, Noa enjoys reading, hiking in leafy spots, and spending time on beaches with her family.  She is thrilled to have three young children who are already strong and vocal advocates for their rights.
email address: mendelsohnaviv@ccla.org
Danielle S. McLaughlin - Director of Education and AdministrationHaving spent her youth involved with social activism, Danielle joined the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and Education Trust in 1988. Since that time, Danielle developed the CCLET programs “Teaching Civil Liberties” and “Civil Liberties in the Schools.”Her publications in Education Canada include “The King of Denmark and the Naked Mole Rat: Teaching Critical Thinking for Social Justice” Vol. 52.1 (Winter 2012): 6 – 9; “Talking to Strangers: Making Distinctions,” Vol. 46.4 (Fall 2006): 31; and “Cultivating the Habits of Democracy: Asking the Hard Questions,” Vol. 45.1 (Winter 2005): 33-35.Since 1996, CCLET’s “Teaching Civil Liberties” and in-schools programs have been supported by grants from the Law Foundation of Ontario. The programs reach many thousands of school-aged students, teachers, and teacher-candidates at Ontario’s faculties of education. Teacher-candidate workshops and seminars deal with the competing rights and controversial issues that every teacher is likely to face once in the classroom. At each interactive workshop, participants are instructed to “Avoid Consensus!”Between 1997 and 2001, Danielle represented the Canadian Civil Liberties Association on the Toronto Police Services Board sub-committee on Race Relations. In 2010, she was named 2010-2011 Law Foundation of Ontario Community Leadership in Justice Fellow which took her to the University of Windsor, Faculty of Education to work on projects regarding Teaching Critical Thinking for Social Justice. Danielle is co-author, with her son Reuben McLaughlin, of the That’s Not Fair! series of civil liberties stories for children.email address: education@ccla.org
  Dora Chan - Administrative CoordinatorDora joined the administrative staff of CCLA part time in September 2010, and full time April 2012. She graduated from the University of Toronto in 2011 with a BA in political science and history.email address: dchan@ccla.org
April Julian - Education CoordinatorAn Ontario Certified Teacher, April Julian joined the ranks of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and Education Trust in 2009 as the organization’s Education Coordinator. Reaching out to students as young as 6 years old, newcomers to Canada, youth in custody, and members of Ontario’s Public Order Unit, April travels across Ontario, conducting workshops and seminars where she encourages participants to think critically about their rights and freedoms and understand the importance of civil liberties.  In addition to her speaking engagements, April develops educational resources and supports various initiatives to extend the outreach of CCLET programs and projects in Canada and beyond.Prior to joining the CCLET, April worked as a Project Manager at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, developing an online learning tool to teach about the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In her spare time April enjoys transforming humble ingredients into edible works of confectionary art and travelling the world in search of good eats. email address: ajulian@ccla.org
Laura Berger - Articling FellowLaura joined the CCLA in August 2013 as a Law Foundation of Ontario Public Interest Articling Fellow. She completed her JD at the University of Toronto, where she previously earned an undergraduate degree in philosophy and literature. Throughout her time at law school, Laura worked with LAWS (Law in Action Within Schools) teaching legal workshops to high-school students from Toronto and beyond. She remains committed to public legal education and, in particular, to facilitating meaningful educational opportunities for youth from diverse backgrounds. An avid Francophile, Laura has spent time studying French law and politics at both Sciences Po and Université Panthéon-Assas in Paris. Working with the CCLA gives her the chance to defend civil liberties in both official languages.Laura is also an experienced backcountry guide who has spent many blissful summers leading canoe trips in northern Ontario. She sits on the board of the Deepwater Experiential Education Project, a small charity that grants need-based scholarships for young people to attend canoe camp.email address: lberger@ccla.org
Peter Goffin – RBC Communications FellowPeter Goffin joined CCLA through the RBC Fellowship in August 2013. He studied Political Science at McMaster University, graduating with an Honours B.A. in 2010. He has since worked as a journalist, editor, and communications coordinator in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Peter is a former Managing Editor of The Toronto Review of Books, and former Executive Editor of McMaster’s newspaper, the Silhouette. His writing on politics, rights, and social justice has appeared in the Toronto StarThis Magazine, Rabble.ca, Torontoist, and OpenFile.  email address: pgoffin@ccla.org
  Amy Slotek – 2012-2013 Articling FellowAmy joined the Canadian Civil Liberties Association in August 2012 as a Law Foundation of Ontario Public Interest Articling Fellow. She will be continuing as part of the CCLA team at our intervention at the Ashley Smith Inquest. Prior to commencing at the CCLA, Amy worked at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe as a program officer focusing on combating hate crimes and discrimination. Amy completed a B.A. in International Development Studies at McGill University in 2001 and a J.D. at the University of Windsor in 2010, where she was heavily involved in the clinical program. Her clinical experiences include working as a student leader at the University of Windsor Mediation Services, completing a term as a student caseworker at the Legal Assistance of Windsor and acting as the 2009-2010 Student Director of the Law Enforcement Accountability Project.Prior to law school, Amy co-founded the Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Refugee Legal Aid Program in Istanbul, Turkey and spent four years working with the organization as a Legal Advisor. In 2008, she returned to Turkey to conduct research on the experiences of LGBT asylum seekers throughout the country. She is an avid kayaker, biker and swimmer and loves to travel, preferably by boat.email address: aslotek@ccla.org
Anne Lee - Photo Feb 2010 Anne Lee - Administrative AssistantAnne Lee joined the CCLA in February of 2010. As Administrative Assistant, Anne is the administrative support to the office staff, executive and board and assists in other office management. email address:alee@ccla.org 
A. Alan Borovoy - General Counsel, EmeritusAlan Borovoy was General Counsel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association from May, 1968 until June, 2009. Prior to coming to CCLA, Alan worked with other human rights and civil liberties organizations such as the National Committee for Human Rights of the Canadian Labour Congress, the Ontario Labour Committee for Human Rights, and the Toronto & District Labour Committee for Human Rights.As General Counsel of CCLA, Alan made presentations to public inquiries and gave testimony before parliamentary committees on issues such as mandatory drug-testing in the workplace, wiretapping, and police race-relations. His community organizing activities included delegations to the federal and provincial governments on issues of capital punishment, religious education in the public schools, the War Measures Act, campus speech codes, and national security and intelligence.In addition to his work as General Counsel, Alan was a fortnightly columnist for the Toronto Star from 1992-1996. Other media work included appearances on many public affairs programs, and on open-line television and radio programs. He is published widely across Canada, and is the author of The New Anti-Liberals, Uncivil Obedience: The Tactics and Tales of a Democratic Agitator and When Freedoms Collide: The Case for Our Civil Liberties, which was nominated for the Governor General’s Award in 1988. He has also given lectures and public addresses to students, human rights organizations, and policing agencies in Canada and abroad.Alan has been a visiting professor at the faculties of law at Dalhousie University and the University of Windsor, and a part-time lecturer at the University of Toronto Faculty of Social Work and York University’s political science department.Alan received his B.A. from the University of Toronto in 1953, and his LL.B. from the University of Toronto in 1956. He was admitted to the Ontario Bar in 1958. He has also received four Honourary Doctor of Laws Degrees, the Law Society Medal from the Law Society of Upper Canada in 1989, an Award of Merit from the City of Toronto in 1982, and was inscribed in the Honour Roll of the aboriginal people of Treaty Number 3 in 1991. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1982.