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Commission Directors

  • Ronda Bessner
    Senior Legal Advisor
    Ronda Bessner

    Ronda Bessner has taught for many years at law school, done extensive policy work, worked in law reform, served as an adjudicator at the Consent and Capacity Board, and has played key roles in several public inquiries. Her public inquiry work includes serving in senior positions at six public inquiries, including the Walkerton Inquiry, the Ipperwash Inquiry, the Collingwood Inquiry, and the Royal Commission on the Blood System in Canada. Her law school teaching has been in the areas of public inquiries, evidence, criminal law, and youth justice. Ronda is the co-author of Public Inquiries in Canada: Law and Practice, published in 2017, and she is currently at work with her co-author on the second edition of the book. Ronda received her Bachelor of Civil Law and her Bachelor of Common Law from McGill Law School and a Masters of Law from Harvard Law School. In 2016, Ronda was awarded the Law Society of Upper Canada medal for outstanding service in the legal profession.

  • Thomas Cromwell
    Commission Counsel Director
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    The Honourable Thomas Cromwell, Companion of the Order of Canada, served as Executive Legal Officer to then-Chief Justice Antonio Lamer between 1992 and 1995, before going on to serve in the judiciary himself. In 1997, he was appointed by former Prime Minister Jean Chretien directly to the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal where he served until 2008. In 2008, Justice Cromwell was elevated to the Supreme Court of Canada as the Atlantic representative by former Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He sat on the Supreme Court until 2016, where he played a significant and active role on the bench, championing access to justice in civil courts. From 2008 until 2018, he chaired the Chief Justice of Canada’s Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters. He is currently senior counsel at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP and an active advisor and mediator in the public and private sectors.

    Justice Cromwell earned degrees in Music and in Law from Queens University, an ARCT Diploma from the Royal Conservatory of Music, and a Bachelor of Civil Law from Oxford University. While not appearing before the Commission, he will be supervising and directing the work of the counsel team.

  • Dr. Emma Cunliffe
    Research and Policy Director
    Emma Cunliffe BW

    Dr. Emma Cunliffe is a professor at the Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia and a Visiting Professor at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University. Her research focuses on the investigation and fact-finding process in complex criminal matters, particularly those regarding violence against women and Indigenous people. Dr. Cunliffe is also a member of the Evidence Based Forensics Initiative, a multi-disciplinary group of scholars and practitioners who are interested in improving the reliability and effectiveness of forensic science and medicine. She is an award-winning teacher and researcher.

    Dr. Cunliffe is a co-author of well-regarded casebooks in criminal law and evidence, and has authored, edited and co-edited three other books about the legal system. Her research on expert evidence and factual reasoning is published in leading Canadian and international law journals and has also informed law reform measures, judicial education, and government reports.

  • Christine Hanson
    Executive Director and Chief Administrative Officer
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    Christine Hanson has joined the Mass Casualty Commission from her role as the Director and CEO of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission. She was appointed Chair of the Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies in 2019. Prior to returning to Nova Scotia, Christine worked as an international lawyer and diplomat in a variety of roles with Global Affairs Canada. She was a senior diplomat at the Canadian Embassy in Washington D.C. where she worked in the Office of the Ambassador and subsequently led the team managing Canada’s relationship with the US Congress. Christine also served at Canada’s Mission to the United Nations in New York. She completed a graduate degree in international law from Georgetown University in Washington. She also earned degrees in law, public administration and political science from Dalhousie University in Halifax. Christine was an International Women’s Forum Global Leadership Foundation Fellow in 2015-2016.

  • Barbara McLean (M.O.M.)
    Investigations Director
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    As Deputy Chief, Toronto Police Service, Barbara McLean is a senior police leader with over 31 years of experience with the Toronto Police Service. She has extensive experience and a proven track record in policing, public safety, community engagement, policy development, strategic planning, fiscal accountability, and leadership development. These skills are a result of applied experience and leadership in areas including front-line policing, marine policing, criminal investigation, human resources, training and development, incident command, and through her commitment to lifelong learning and community involvement. Originally from Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Barbara holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (St. Francis Xavier University), a Master of Business Administration (York University), a Master of Industrial Relations and Human Resources (University of Toronto), and Certificates in Criminology (University of Toronto) and Teaching Effectiveness (Humber College). She is also a Certified Municipal Manager - Level 3 Police Executive.

  • Mary Pyche
    Mental Health Director
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    Mary has worked in the field of Mental Health and Addictions for more than thirty ‎years and her passion remains for this work. She obtained a Master of Social Work Degree and since 2009 has taught part-time at the Dalhousie School of Social Work. Mary has worked as an Addictions Clinical Therapist and held leadership roles in Mental Health and Addictions for Nova Scotia Health, Central Zone, including Crisis and Psychiatric Emergency Services, Mental Health Acute Care and Addictions Intensive Treatment Services. She has worked specifically in Mental Health Crisis Response for sixteen years. During this time, she has also worked as a co-lead with psychiatry for the Nova Scotia Health Provincial Task Force on Suicide Risk Assessment and Intervention. Most recently, she has been the Program Leader and Site Lead at the East Coast Forensic Hospital in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia and the Provincial Lead for Mental Health and Addiction Bed Management Program of Care Access and Flow. In 2006 Mary and a colleague developed and implemented the Nova Scotia Health 24/7 Mental Health Mobile Crisis Team. This team is a partnered co-response model of mental health and policing. In 2012 Mary worked with the Nova Scotia Department of Health to expand that service to the Provincial Crisis Service it is today.

  • Maureen Wheller
    Community Liaison Director
    Maureen Wheller

    With over 13 years of experience in developing and leading public engagement strategies working in Mental Health and Addictions communications, Maureen Wheller brings unique insight into the complexities of the topic and ways to build understanding. She builds relationships with community-based organizations, public and private sector partners, individuals, families, and healthcare providers to promote understanding through dialogue and encourages hope for recovery. Maureen co-chaired Nova Scotia Health’s Mental Health and Addictions Program’s first Public Advisory Group (PAG) with a community support group leader, creating the foundation for the four PAGs now covering the province. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Saint Mary’s University and worked for the former Children’s Aid Society in Halifax. As VP of Marketing for Cochran Entertainment Inc., she developed and licensed award-winning children, family, and documentary programming and products worldwide.

  • Sarah Young
    Chief Engagement Officer
    Sarah Young

    Sarah Young has been providing communications leadership and counsel for private and public organizations across Canada for over 25 years. She has a strong background in community building, and brings to the Mass Casualty Commission the experience of her previous role as Managing Partner, NATIONAL Public Relations (responsible for Atlantic Canada). She serves on numerous boards, including for the Trans Canada Trail, Develop Nova Scotia, and YMCA for Greater Halifax/Dartmouth Honourary Trustees. She is an Associate with the Creative Destruction Lab-Atlantic and was part of the founding group behind Halifax’s Blue Nose Marathon. She has also served on the boards for Mount Allison University, Nova Scotia Community College, Halifax Partnership, and Phoenix Youth.

    Sarah grew up in small town Nova Scotia and is a proud Atlantic Canadian. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Mount Allison University and a Master of Arts degree in media studies from Concordia University.

Commission Team

  • Ronke Akinyemi
    Commission Counsel
    Ronke Headshot

    Ronke Akinyemi comes to the Mass Casualty Commission as an associate at Lax O’Sullivan Lisus Gottlieb, where she has a broad civil litigation practice. She has experience dealing with gender-based discrimination issues through intersectional and trauma informed frameworks. Ronke has also worked on legal reform around access to justice and human rights in the Global South.

    Before joining Lax O’Sullivan Lisus Gottlieb, Ronke articled at a leading national firm. She received her J.D. from Osgoode Hall Law School at York University in 2019, where she graduated as the gold medalist. While at law school, Ronke completed a semester at the Human Rights Legal Support Centre, where she assisted clients throughout the application process, and appeared in mediations and hearings at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. Ronke then obtained her B.C.L. from the University of Oxford. In early 2021, Ronke was a fact checker and legal researcher with Ontario’s Long-Term Care Covid-19 Commission.

  • Leo Artalejo
    Strategic Engagement Advisor
    Leo Artalejo

    Leo believes that one of the most powerful ways to transform the world is through meaningful conversation. By listening and learning from each other, we are able to find the shared ground and collective responsibility to unlock difficult challenges and move forward. In his public engagement work, Leo draws from two decades of experience in complex stakeholder environments involving issues such as equity and inclusion, climate change, environmental restoration and public transit.

    Leo works with Fortune 500 companies, universities, political campaigns, clean tech startups, social innovators, government scientists, First Nations communities—anyone looking to make change that makes things a little bit better for all. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS) which helps newcomers build their futures in more than 104 communities in Atlantic Canada. Originally from the southwestern United States, he lives with his family in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

  • Roger A. Burrill
    Senior Commission Counsel
    Roger Burrill

    Nova Scotia is home for Roger A. Burrill. Since admission to the Nova Scotia bar, he has worked exclusively with the Nova Scotia Legal Aid Commission providing criminal legal services to Nova Scotians unable to afford a lawyer. He comes to the Mass Casualty Commission with extensive experience in both trial and appellate proceedings. In 2011, he initiated the criminal appeals section within the Nova Scotia Legal Aid program.

  • Amanda Byrd
    Commission Counsel
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    Amanda Byrd comes to the Mass Casualty Commission from her most recent position as a staff lawyer at Ontario’s Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission, and her prior work as a Junior Legal Analyst at the Collingwood Judicial Inquiry. Amanda completed her articles at Falconers LLP in Toronto, where she worked on a number of inquests and public inquiries including the Seven Youth Inquest and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. She graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School in 2019 and was called to the bar in 2020.

  • Brian Corbett
    Brian Corbett

    Brian Corbett is a seasoned intelligence analyst having spent 14 years with the Canadian Army. He has a background in Psychological Operations, Intelligence Collection, and Intelligence Production. Brian spent 10 years of his career at the 5th Canadian Division HQ in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he oversaw intelligence production, and advised on security, training, and doctrine.

    In 2016, Brian was deployed to Kuwait as part of Operation Impact, Canada’s mission against ISIL. During this time, he coordinated intelligence collection and surveillance for Canada’s deployed intelligence centre. He was also the subject matter expert on high altitude collection.

    Brian has instructed and been a standards representative on national military intelligence courses, and mentored many intelligence operators and officers during collective and individual training events. 

    Brian is originally from Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia, and currently resides in Halifax. Most of his family live in Nova Scotia, including family in Truro and Bible Hill.

  • Jennifer Cox, KC
    Commission Counsel
    Jennifer Cox

    Jennifer Cox was born and raised in Truro, Nova Scotia and has been a practising lawyer in both Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan for the past 25 years. She has spent most of her career practising in the areas of family and criminal law as well as working on two public inquiries; the Inquiry into the wrongful conviction of David Milgaard and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Jennifer’s previous public inquiry experience, her criminal law experience and her residence in the Truro area will assist the Commission team in fulfilling its mandate.

  • Erin Dalton
    Mental Health Support

    Erin Dalton is a social worker registered with the Nova Scotia College of Social Workers. She has over 10 years’ experience providing direct clinical services to individuals and families in both non-profit and public healthcare settings. Erin has been an instructor with the Graduate Certificate in Mental Health & Addictions Program at Dalhousie University and has served on non-profit agency boards.

    She holds a Bachelors of Social Work Degree from Dalhousie University and a Masters of Social Work Degree from Memorial University of Newfoundland. She was born and raised in Nova Scotia.

  • Nichole Elizabeth
    Policy Advisor
    Nichole Elizabeth

    Nichole Elizabeth was born and raised on the South Shore of Nova Scotia and has experience working as a registered nurse in emergency medicine in Nova Scotia and the Northwest Territories. She joins the Commission as a policy advisor with the Research and Policy team, and is also admitted as a lawyer with the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society. Informed by her experience in healthcare, Nichole remains interested in health policy as the intersection between individual and community health and the law.

    Nichole clerked for a semester with the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal and has received prizes in health law and policy, Indigenous law, and contracts. She also holds a Masters in Health Administration and is a Certified Health Executive with the Canadian College of Health Leaders.

  • Wayne Fowler
    Wayne Fowler

    Wayne Fowler retired from the Toronto Police Service with just over 30 years of policing experience. His career includes over 20 years in the investigative field with seven of those years working in homicide investigation, including the Homicide Cold Case Unit. Wayne has investigated numerous Criminal Code violations including, but not limited to, acts of violence, sexual assaults, intimate partner and gender-based violence, arsons, extortions linked to organized crime, robberies, and break and enters. Wayne is originally from Newfoundland and his wife is from the Truro area.

  • Serwaah Frimpong
    Policy Advisor

    Serwaah Frimpong brings her compassion, creativity, and skillset as a trauma-informed professional to the Mass Casualty Commission’s Research and Policy team. Serwaah was called to the Bar of Ontario in 2018, after attending Osgoode Hall Law School. Serwaah has extensive research, writing and advocacy experience on issues of gender-based violence, including in her previous work at the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, where she managed a pro-bono program assisting survivors of gender-based violence and intimate partner violence. Serwaah has also completed international internships at the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (in Ghana) and with the Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust, and clerked at the Constitutional Court of South Africa.

  • Amy Harlow
    Outreach and Engagement Coordinator
    Amy Harlow

    Amy Harlow has spent the last eight years working in front-line and supervisory roles in long-term care and community-based residential settings. Prior to joining the Mass Casualty Commission, Amy held a supervisory position at a service provision agency and supported clients with neurocognitive, physical and mental health conditions living in small options homes and supported independent living environments. She has coordinated resource and system navigation for clients and provided on-call emergency support to clients and staff.

    Amy is originally from Head of Jeddore, Nova Scotia. She holds an undergraduate degree in Gender and Women’s Studies and is a 2020 Dean’s List graduate from the Bachelor of Social Work program at Dalhousie University.

  • Selena Henderson
    Legal Policy Officer
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    Selena Henderson joins the Mass Casualty Commission from the Halifax Regional Centre for Education (HRCE) where she has worked for the past twenty years. Most recently, Selena served as Internal Legal Counsel for HRCE where she provided legal advice on a variety of matters, and coordinated policy development and review. Community engagement has always been a primary part of her career and personal life. Selena joins the Commission as a Legal Policy Officer with the Research and Policy Team.

    Selena worked as a teacher prior to attending law school. She holds a Master of Political Science from Acadia University as well as Bachelor of Law from Dalhousie University and a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Education from Mount Allison University.

  • Stephen Henkel
    Stephen Henkel

    Stephen Henkel is a decorated, bilingual law enforcement professional with 32 years of experience with the Toronto Police Service. Recognized for his investigative excellence and victim/witness management expertise, Stephen’s extensive experience as a supervisor spans homicide, international peacekeeping, human trafficking, counter terrorism, transnational organized crime, and Professional Standards. During his long-standing experience, Stephen has had exposure to intimate partner and gender-based violence as part of his human trafficking and homicide investigations. His awards include the Canadian and UN Peacekeeping Medals, Teamwork Commendations, Chief of Police Excellence Award, as well as Outstanding Achievements in Law Enforcement.

  • Emily Hill
    Senior Commission Counsel
    Emily Hill

    Emily Hill joins the Mass Casualty Commission most recently as the Senior Staff Lawyer at Aboriginal Legal Services (ALS) in Ontario. Since joining ALS in 2011, she has appeared at the Superior Court of Justice, the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada. She has represented victims of crime in administrative hearings and families at inquests, including representing ALS at the inquest into the death of Brian Sinclair in Winnipeg.

  • Gillian Hnatiw
    Commission Counsel
    Gillian Hnatiw

    Gillian Hnatiw comes to the Mass Casualty Commission as the Principal of Gillian Hnatiw & Co. in Toronto. Since her call to the bar in 2003, Gillian has built a broad civil litigation practice focused on health, employment, and administrative law, including professional regulation, professional negligence and human rights disputes. Most notably, she has emerged as one of the country’s foremost practitioners in claims for sexual assault, abuse and exploitation. She has represented both plaintiff/claimants and defendants/respondents before all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada. She has also appeared before various administrative bodies and been involved as counsel in a number of lengthy inquiry processes, including the Coroner’s Inquest into the death of Ashley Smith.

  • Kate Kehoe
    Senior Policy Advisor
    Kim Kehoe

    Kate Kehoe joins the Mass Casualty Commission as a lawyer and consultant with experience in gender-based violence, victims, restorative justice, and the integrity of police investigations. From 1999 to 2007, she was counsel to the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, where she was responsible for a large caseload involving families struggling with family violence, mental illness, addictions, poverty and other challenges. From 2008 to 2017 she was Senior Advisor and Managing Senior Advisor at the National Judicial Institute, working with judges from all levels of court to develop educational programs and resources on topics such as gender-based violence, victims, restorative justice, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, preventing wrongful convictions, self-represented litigants, and Indigenous law and legal systems. Since 2017, she has provided legal and policy analysis for several reviews and commissions of inquiry, and has investigated potential wrongful convictions for the Criminal Convictions Review Group at the Department of Justice.

  • Dwayne King
    Dwayne King

    Dwayne King has 27 years of experience in law enforcement with more than eight years investigating money laundering and proceeds of crime as part of the Financial Crimes Unit of the Toronto Police Service. As a uniformed officer, Dwayne faced numerous incidents involving intimate partner and gender-based violence. As an investigator, he probed the abusive financial dynamics of sexual exploitation, which often involved the controlling of finances and the infliction of long-lasting suffering, an often overlooked consequence for victims.

    After leaving law enforcement, Dwayne managed a team of 26 investigators as part of the Global Anti-Money Laundering Department for TD Bank and for the past two years has been a Senior Manager as part of Grant Thornton’s Forensics Team. Dwayne has many family ties to Nova Scotia including his wife, who is from Sydney.

  • Kristen Lipscombe
    Senior Communications Advisor
    Kristen Lipscombe

    Kristen Lipscombe has been an award-winning journalist and conscientious communications specialist for two decades. She has spent half of her career as a reporter at The Chronicle Herald and Metro Halifax, where she covered everything from politics to sports, and the other half working in communications for provincial, national and international organizations.

    Most recently, she has worked in senior strategic communications and media relations roles in healthcare, including through the COVID-19 pandemic. She has travelled the country and world as a media manager for Hockey Canada.

    Kristen grew up in Kingston, Ont., and holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts in English and political science from Wilfrid Laurier University, and a Bachelor of Journalism and investigative journalism certification from the University of King’s College.

  • Christopher Lussow
    Christopher Lussow

    Christopher Lussow is a decorated 33-year veteran of the Toronto Police Service, with twenty years dedicated to the Emergency Task Force (ETF/SWAT). He was a Team Leader and Senior Instructor for a 90-member tactical response unit. In these roles he led major project planning, intelligence support, operational response, and tactical training. The successes he brought to these positions were borne from his organizational skills and interoperability development that created essential Joint Forces Operations and Hostage Rescue training programs for domestic and international tactical law enforcement officers.

    Christopher’s professional experiences led him to create a national peer-support program for officer-involved shootings, providing direct officer-to-officer connection and mentorship that focuses on mental well-being, post-incident investigation, and inquest expectations. Christopher has extensive family ties in Nova Scotia.

  • Violet MacLeod
    Senior Communications Advisor
    Violet Mac Leod

    Violet MacLeod is a communications specialist with over eight years’ experience in communications, stakeholder engagement and journalism. She has a strong background in media relations and brings to the Mass Casualty Commission the experience of her previous roles in communications and public affairs at a national retailer, leading initiatives across Canada, and media relations at the Province of Nova Scotia. She has worked throughout Canada including Ontario and Alberta, recently returning to live in her home province of Nova Scotia.

    Violet grew up on the Northumberland shore. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Journalism degree from the University of King's College and a Master of Arts degree in professional communications at Ryerson University, graduating first in her program.

  • Anna Mancini
    Commission Counsel
    Anna Mancini

    Anna Mancini was born and raised in Cape Breton and was called to the Nova Scotia bar in 2017. She comes to the Mass Casualty Commission as a criminal defence lawyer with Nova Scotia Legal Aid, representing clients in Halifax Provincial Court, Nova Scotia Supreme Court, and Nova Scotia Youth Court. Her work involves grappling with the complex interplay between legal and societal issues, including systemic racism, access to mental health and addictions services, poverty, and police services.

  • Elizabeth Montgomery
    Team Lead, Investigations
    Liz Montgomery

    Liz Montgomery was born and raised in the Annapolis Valley.

    She is a seasoned investigator, spanning 30 years of law enforcement experience, with over 10 years specializing in sexual assault investigations, child exploitation, threat and risk assessment, and high-risk offender management. As the lead of the threat assessment section, the majority of Liz's casework related to assessing and analyzing threat and risk in intimate partner and gender-based violence investigations.

    She is qualified in advanced threat assessment for intimate partner violence, stalking, general violence (including cases with the existence of a mental health component), sexual violence, and school threat assessment. Liz was recognized for her exceptional investigative skills by the Ambassador of the United States and the Department of Homeland Security for linking a high-profile child exploitation case to a known sexual offender, who was subsequently brought to justice and convicted.

  • Lee Seshagiri
    Commission Counsel
    Lee Seshagiri

    Lee Seshagiri joins the legal counsel team at the Mass Casualty Commission on a leave of absence from his appellate practice at Nova Scotia Legal Aid. He was called to the Bar in Ontario in 2007 and in Nova Scotia in 2010. His practice focuses on criminal law and he has appeared at all levels of court in Nova Scotia and at the Supreme Court of Canada. In 2008, he acted as Law Clerk to Madam Justice Louise Charron at the Supreme Court of Canada. Lee has written and lectured on topics including evidence and sentencing law.

  • Sarah Simpson
    Senior Communications Advisor
    Sarah Simpson

    Sarah Simpson has worked in the field of communications and public engagement in Halifax for over ten years. She has supported organizations in many sectors including education, energy, defense and not-for-profits. Sarah has extensive experience working on collaborative projects that brought together government, private sector and community organizations to create opportunities for under-represented groups and establish national research initiatives.

    She values being involved in her community and currently serves on the boards of Alice House and 2B Theatre. Sarah has a BSc. in Psychology from the University of Prince Edward Island and an Advanced Diploma in Public Relations from the Nova Scotia Community College.

  • Krista Smith
    Legal Policy Officer
    Krista Smith headshot

    Krista Smith joins the Commission with an abiding interest in how we create psychologically safe and supportive communities and workplaces. Krista practiced labour and employment law for a decade before founding Root & Branch Workplace Conflict Resolutions, which focuses on helping organizations prevent, navigate, and recover from moments of conflict and crisis. Krista has extensive experience designing workplace investigation and assessment processes that are both procedurally fair and trauma-informed. She aims to resolve moments of struggle collaboratively using principles of cognitive behavioural therapy, mindfulness, transformative mediation, and restorative justice. She resides in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

  • Laura Snowdon
    Commission Counsel
    Laura Snowdon

    Laura Snowdon comes to the Mass Casualty Commission as a lawyer at Gillian Hnatiw & Co., where she practices civil litigation focusing on claims arising from sexual, physical, and psychological abuse, as well as harassment and assault. She has experience in trauma-informed approaches to the law and has worked in Canada and abroad on human rights issues, criminal law and constitutional law.

    From 2017-2019, Laura clerked for judges at the Court of Appeal for Ontario and for Justice Abella at the Supreme Court of Canada. She also holds a Masters of Law in International Legal Studies from New York University.

  • Scott Spicer
    Scott Spicer

    Scott Spicer recently retired from the Toronto Police Service following a 30-year career. He spent his last 17 years working in Specialized Operations, where he received ongoing specialized training through police, fire, paramedic, military experts, and national security scientists. Scott was the Team Leader and Training Coordinator of the nationally recognized Toronto Police Emergency Management & Public Safety Unit, the Toronto Joint CBRNE Response Team, the Marine Search and Rescue, and the Emergency Task Force (SWAT) tactical response team.

    During his 10-year tenure with the Emergency Task Force, he was trained and qualified by the Canadian Police College in Crisis Negotiations, responding to many incidences involving intimate partners, persons in crisis, and hostage rescue. Using learned skills from training and operational experience, he effectively managed many evolving and dynamic situations without incident.

  • Paul Thompson
    Paul Tompson

    Paul is a recently retired Detective Sergeant from the Ontario Provincial Police with 33 years combined police experience. Paul’s career accomplishments include criminal investigations and drug enforcement, including joint forces in the Simcoe and Muskoka regions of Ontario. Paul was also a member of the Health Fraud Investigation team of the OPP Anti Rackets Section. Later, he was assigned as team leader of police investigators conducting online intelligence gathering within the Provincial Operations Intelligence Bureau.

    Approximately sixteen years of his career was assigned to the OPP Child Sexual Exploitation Unit, commonly known as ‘Project P’, as a Detective Sergeant. Paul led a team of detectives conducting covert online investigations to detect child sexual exploitation and abuse on the Internet. During his tenure, he was seconded to the RCMP as a National Training Coordinator within the National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre (NCECC) in Ottawa.

  • Jamie Van Wart
    Senior Commission Counsel
    Jamie Van Wart

    Jamie Van Wart joins the legal counsel team at the Mass Casualty Commission on a leave of absence from the Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service as a Crown prosecutor. His primary area of practice is youth criminal justice and he teaches a course on the subject at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University. Before his work as a Crown prosecutor, he was a staff legal aid lawyer with the Yukon Legal Services Society. Jamie was called to the Bar in British Columbia in 2002, the Yukon in 2003 and Nova Scotia in 2009.

  • Rachel Young
    Senior Commission Counsel
    Rachel Young Headshot

    Rachel Young comes to the Mass Casualty Commission on secondment from the Enforcement Branch of the Ontario Securities Commission, where she prosecutes fraud-related offences. She was called to the Bar in 1999, and spent her first five years in private practice, working in the areas of criminal, securities, and administrative law. She was Associate Commission Counsel to the Walkerton Inquiry, and spent eight years as an Assistant Crown Attorney in Toronto. In addition to her trial work, Rachel has argued criminal appeals at all levels of appellate court in Canada.

Content Warning: The following video contains scenes including the discharging of firearms causing death. There is a “quick exit” button at the top of the website if you need it, and Wellness Supports are also listed.

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