Press Release: Sukanya Pillay Appointed Executive Director and General Counsel of CCLA

February 19, 2014



Toronto, February 19, 2014 – Effective immediately, the Board of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) is pleased to announce that Sukanya Pillay is the new General Counsel and Executive Director of the organization.

Sukanya brings to the position a tremendous skill set and a breadth of experience in the not-for-profit, academic, and private sectors. She has served as Program Director for the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights in New York, Director of the Law and Human Rights Program of the International Television Trust for the Environment, and in-house counsel for a large telecommunications company’s operations in India. Sukanya holds a graduate degree in law from New York University and spent five years as a full-time faculty member of the University of Windsor Faculty of Law. She has received awards and honours for her teaching, her research and work in international and human rights law. In November 2013, Sukanya received the President’s Award from the South Asian Bar Association in Toronto.

Sukanya has a proven track record of leadership at CCLA and in similar organizations, a thorough understanding of the civil liberties challenges facing Canada today, knowledge of the civil liberties community in Canada and internationally, and a deep commitment to the values, ideals, and objectives of CCLA.

Sukanya has served as interim General Counsel and acting Executive Director of CCLA since August 2013, following Nathalie Des Rosiers, who was an outstanding leader of CCLA from July 2009 to August 2013. Nathalie followed in her position from the renowned civil liberties advocate A. Alan Borovoy who, as General Counsel of CCLA for more than 40 years, built the organization into one of the preeminent civil liberties organizations in Canada. Sukanya joined CCLA in November 2009 as Director of the organization’s National Security Program.

The CCLA staff and the Board of Directors congratulate Sukanya and wish her much continued success guiding the organization.


Media Contact: Peter Goffin,, 416 363 0321 ext 225

About Sukanya Pillay: Sukanya 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.