The Staff

Executive Director & General Counsel

Noa Mendelsohn Aviv


Noa Mendelsohn Aviv joined the CCLA in 2002 and has directed both CCLA’s Equality and Freedom of Expression programs, writing, appearing and advocating on such issues as refugee protection, 2SLGBTQI+ rights, racial profiling, reproductive justice, freedom of expression, religion, and the intersection of rights. Noa has stewarded litigation for the organization, including CCLA’s Bill 21, abortion access, and solitary confinement challenges, and dozens of interventions in courts across the country. She has appeared before Parliamentary and provincial legislative committees and other public bodies. Noa has also initiated creative advocacy projects to support, engage and empower marginalized communities, and provided guest lectures and workshops through CCLET’s public education project. She frequently engages the public through opinion pieces, blogs, and commentary in the media.

Noa obtained her LL.B. and LL.M. (cum laude) from the Hebrew University in Israel, and her B.A. (with distinction) from York University. She completed her legal articles at the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, and was called to the Israeli Bar in 1998. Noa has also practiced litigation, labour, and commercial law in Jerusalem, and served as Acting Administrative Director of Hebrew University Law Faculty’s Center for Human Rights.

Special Advisor on Anti-Black Racism

Akwasi Owusu-Bempah


Akwasi Owusu-Bempah BA (Carleton) MA, PhD (Toronto) is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto and a Senior Fellow at Massey College. His work examines the intersections of race, crime and criminal justice, with a particular focus in the area of policing. Prof. Owusu-Bempah began his academic career in the United States at Indiana University, Bloomington. Prior to becoming a professor, he held positions with Canada’s National Judicial Institute, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

Prof Owusu-Bempah is frequently sought out to provide commentary and advice to police agencies, government bodies, community organizations, and media outlets on matters relating to policing, justice and social inequality. He also publishes regularly in both academic and popular forums. He is the author (with Prof. Shaun Gabbidon) of Race, Ethnicity, Crime and Justice: An International Dilemma.

Special Advisor, Indigenous Issues

Alain Bartleman


Alain Bartleman is a lawyer. He works for a firm specialised in Aboriginal law where he represents Indigenous clients.

Alain is a member of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation (Mnjikaning). Alain studied law at the Institut des Etudes Politiques de Paris, the University of Geneva, as well as McGill University.

He speaks French and English.

Alain regularly comments on Indigenous legal issues in English and French media.

Randi Thomson
Comptroller and Director of Finance

Randi Thomson


Growing up in northern Quebec, with Indigenous and French roots, has given me a greater understanding of the issues surrounding Indigenous and language rights in Canada. Being part of the CCLA team, and the mission to stand up for human rights, aligns with my values. The work that is being done makes me hopeful that we can address and bring awareness to these ongoing issues.

Randi has over 10 years experience in Corporate Finance where she worked in the Food and Beverage Industry for companies such as Kraft Foods and Starbucks Coffee Canada. Randi made the transition to the not-for-profit sector 15 years ago, where she has been using her skills in Finance to support children’s causes, with organizations like Children’s Miracle Network and Jays Care Foundation. More recently, Randi was the Finance Manager with Camp Quality Canada. In her personal time, she enjoys volunteering and giving back to her community.

Director, Fundamental Freedoms Program

Cara Faith Zwibel


“I work at the CCLA because I believe strongly that all people are entitled to fundamental rights and freedoms and that governments must be held accountable when they restrict, limit or undermine those rights and freedoms. CCLA takes principled positions and is willing to stand up for Charter rights even when it is not popular, and that is when it is most needed. I am passionate about my work and the issues that CCLA takes on and am grateful to work with wonderful colleagues, volunteers and pro bono lawyers who are willing to tackle some of the most challenging issues in law and policy. I am also a “constitutional law nerd” and love that my job requires me to analyze difficult cases and strategize about how best to protect fundamental freedoms.”

Cara was called to the Ontario bar in 2005. She has a political science degree from McGill University and law degrees from Osgoode Hall Law School (LL.B.) and New York University (LL.M.). Her work with CCLA involves providing legal opinions and research, coordinating litigation and interventions, representing CCLA before the courts, preparing submissions to legislative bodies and assisting with the CCLET’s public education work.

Shakir Rahim
Director, Criminal Justice Program

Shakir Rahim


“I believe that upholding the rights of persons suspected, charged, or convicted of criminal offences is fundamental to our societal commitment to civil liberties.”

Shakir Rahim is Director of the Criminal Justice Program at the CCLA. He oversees and executes advocacy strategies to protect and develop Charter rights in criminal law, hold police accountable, and defend prisoners’ rights. His work includes strategic litigation management, public outreach and education, and engagement with policymakers in a range of fora.

Prior to joining the CCLA, Shakir practiced criminal law at Presser Barristers and Kastner Lam LLP, at both the trial and appellate level. He also acted on significant public interest matters. Outside of court, he co-led the campaign to establish the Independent Civilian Review into Missing Person Investigations, advised public interest coalitions on advocacy strategy, and regularly provided media commentary on criminal justice and human rights matters.

Shakir is a member of the Canadian Bar Association Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Executive, and the boards of the HIV Legal Network and HIV/AIDS Legal Clinic of Ontario. He received his J.D. from Osgoode Hall Law School, where he graduated with distinctions in criminal law, legal ethics, and community service.

Director of Education

Nat Paul


Nat Paul comes to the CCLET and CCLA with a theoretical background informed by critical pedagogy, a deep commitment to emancipatory education and over a decade supporting Ontario teachers engaging with the law in their classrooms. As Director of Education, Nat oversees rights-focused programming in school and community settings and joins his colleagues in presenting to a variety of audiences to build a sense of ownership and agency with respect to the justice system and the rights and freedoms of people in Canada. Firm in the belief that eventually, teachers will change the world, Nat is grateful for the chance to do good work with outstanding colleagues and audiences.
Director, Advancement

Rosemary Oliver


Rosemary Oliver has led growing fundraising and donor engagement programs for non-governmental organizations for more than 30 years, serving as fundraising director with both Greenpeace (1992-99) and with Amnesty International (1999-2022). Rosemary has also raised funds for Oxfam and Central Hospital in Toronto. Rosemary has been a frequent speaker at national and international fundraising conferences in Canada, the US and Europe for more than 25 years. Rosemary joined CCLA as our Advancement Director in October 2022.

“I’m excited to be joining CCLA at this time. Fundamental rights and civil liberties are under attack all over the world and also here at home in Canada. I’m proud to be able to join the principled and hard-working team at CCLA in fighting for the rights and freedoms of all people in Canada.”

Annual Fund Manager, Advancement

Michael Lowery


“I have lived my entire life as a sufferer of mental illness, and I have seen first-hand the prejudice and systemic issues that sufferers can face. As I find myself in a fortunate position, I want to do my part to improve the lives of others facing these challenges. The work done at the CCLA to stand up for their rights is just one reason I am so excited and proud to work here.”

A graduate of the University of Toronto and later McMaster University, Michael brings over five years of fundraising experience into his role at the CCLA. He has been lucky enough to work in organizations that promote various great causes ranging from cancer support to international development and animal welfare during his career.

Gift Processing Coordinator, Advancement

Aliya Karim


I am a passionate and goal oriented professional and proudly identify as a South Asian woman. As an outspoken feminist and equalist, I strongly support the CCLA’s and am particularly passionate about equality and fundamental freedoms.

With over seven years of experience working in non-profit, Aliya has extensive experience working with women’s organizations including Girls 20 Summit, Plan International Canada, and the Spark of Hope Foundation.

In 2013, Aliya received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Ottawa in International Development & Globalization and Women’s Studies, with specialization in Feminist Theories; Women, Gender and Development, Feminism, and Justice and the Law.

Articling Student

Sana Fatima


Sana Fatima joins CCLA as an Articling Student after graduating from the English Common Law program at the University of Ottawa. She is currently enrolled in the National Program at the University of Ottawa. Sana is also a graduate of Ivey Business School at Western University and Ivey’s Sustainability Certificate Program.

Sana has been very involved in the human rights and social justice space. This past year she worked to bring to life the first ever “Our Charter, Our Rights” conference hosted by the Human Rights Research and Education Centre in Ottawa. The program brought together law students, academics, and activists from across the country to advance the dialogue on Canada’s approach to implementing its international human rights obligations. Previously, she worked as a Rule of Law Intern for the United Nations and a Legal Intern for the Department of Justice.

To date, Sana’s experiences have been strongly influenced by her passions for human rights, social justice, sustainability, and international law. She feels fortunate to be able to work for an organization like CCLA that educates and advocates for those same passions.

Office Manager / Executive Assistant

Colleen Larkin


For the past two decades, I have been working in the area of equity, diversity and human rights for government and non-profits.  When I started working in this field, I had come to realize there were so many more issues than I realized in human rights even though my main role was administrative support and project coordination.

More recently, I was the Office Manager/Executive Assistant for Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA) who advocate for rights in housing. Prior to this I had worked for Egale Canada Human Rights Trust as well as the City of Toronto’s – Equity, Diversity and Human Rights Division. During my time with the city, I had great experiences as the Program Coordinator for Access, Equity and Human Rights Awards, Grant Administrator for the Access, Equity and Human Rights Grants Program and Project Coordinator for the Profession-to-Profession Mentoring Program (in partnership with TRIEC).

All these programs gave me invaluable insights in connecting with people and organizations working in human rights. Colleen has a business administration diploma from CDI, project management from Centennial College and accounting certification from Simply Accounting.

The Board

Andrew Lokan, Chair

Audrey Boctor

Larry Baldachin

Julie Di Lorenzo

Simron Singh

Nancy E. Cooper

Joe Freedman

Julianna Greenspan

Nader Hasan

Patricia Jackson

Anil Kapoor

Jonathan Lisus

John McCamus

Ron Ness

Steven Sofer

The National Council

CCLA's National Council is comprised of CCLA's Board Members and the following individuals:

Simron Singh, Chair

Frank Addario

Hon. Louise Arbour

Kim Beaudin

Prof. Jamie Cameron

Jessy Héroux

Dan Hill Jr.

Justin Khan

Jean-Pierre Kingsley

Christopher Lobay

Wayne MacKay

Raji Mangat

Danielle McLaughlin

Prof. Karen Pearlston

Benjamin Prud’homme

Sarah Rankin

Linda Schuyler

Dr. Mamdouh Shoukri

Kevin Stanton

Eva Tache-Green

March 17, 1932 - May 11, 2015

A. Alan Borovoy

General Counsel, Emeritus

Alan 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 several books, including 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. His memoir, At the Barricades, was published in 2013.

Alan gave lectures and public addresses to students, human rights organizations, and policing agencies in Canada and abroad. He was 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 received four Honorary 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. A. Alan Borovoy was actively involved in CCLA until his passing in May, 2015.