Expert Advisory Group (EAG)

University logos of Saint Mary's, University of Guelph, University of Manitoba, University of New Brunswick and GenderNet Plus

Natasha Akhtar

I immigrated to Canada 15 years ago as the wife of a provincial nominee. I had a medical degree from a WHO certified medical school from my home country as well as research experience in Pharmacology and Therapeutics in the United States. However, I was not able to work or study due to the limitations of my dependent visa for three years. When I became a Permanent Resident, I was a mother to one child and expecting another.

I was virtually confined to the home till my older child started pre-school as I lived with my husband's family. I finally had the courage to complain about this after some years so I would be able to leave the house. However, I was unable to leave the marriage for some time as I had fears for my daughters' safety if I sought a divorce. I sought to empower myself in the meantime by signing on to be a member of the Provincial Advisory Forum for Immigrant Women selected by the New Brunswick Multicultural Council for a research project about Domestic Violence in Immigrant Women in New Brunswick. We worked to inform a resource guide for the province on how to handle cases of domestic violence in immigrant women, and I volunteered to be the community coordinator for this endeavour.

Following involvement with this project, several of the members of the Advisory Forum joined together to form the Immigrant Women's Association of New Brunswick as previously there was no such organization catering to the unique and multi-layered needs of immigrant women in New Brunswick. Since signing first as co-chair of the Association and currently serving as Vice President of Community Outreach and Education, I have been pleased to take part in organizing events and workshops to educate immigrant women about various services and supports available in the community, to bridge the information gap that exists between them and local born individuals. We have also sought to raise awareness in the local community about the multiple barriers faced by immigrant women and sought to inform change by doing this. To provide evidence to accompany our request for policy changes in the province, we have reached out to research teams to get involved in research pertaining to immigrant women.

Contact information:
Phone Number: 506-259-5292

Kathryn Bates-Khan

Kathryn Bates-Khan, BA (Hons), B.Ed. 
Manager Gender Based Violence Prevention Project  

Kathryn is an educator and lifelong learner committed to social justice and human rights. Working and volunteering both locally and overseas has encouraged her to appreciate diversity and intercultural communication. During her career at YMCA, Kathryn has led International Development programming – in supporting our partnership with the sister location in Bogotá. She has also led multiple programs over the last 20 years for immigrant children and youth, particularly priority youth.  She is currently leading the YMCA’s Gender-Based Violence Prevention Project and is part of a national team, leading strategy development with anti-violence and settlement sector partners.

YMCA of Greater Halifax/Dartmouth
Centre for Immigrant Programs
104-7071 Bayers Rd Halifax NS, B3L 2C2
T: 902-457-1959 
M: 902-456-7223   

Amanda Dale

Best known for her decade as the Executive Director of the Barbra Schlifer Clinic, and previously as the Director of Advocacy and Communications at YWCA Toronto, Dr. Amanda Dale is an international human rights scholar and activist, with a specialization in violence against women, access to justice and women's human rights. She is currently faculty at the Women's Human Rights Institute, and a recognized spokesperson and expert in the way law impacts marginalized people's lives and in women’s rights and violence against women. Amanda has over 30 years’ experience working in municipal, provincial, national, international, multicultural, urban, and remote contexts. Her leadership was pivotal to the Jane Doe Audit of Toronto Police sexual assault investigations, the successful restriction of the use of religious arbitration in the settlement of family law matters in Ontario, the development of a women’s shelter in the Arctic, and the success of projects in Ghana and Sudan that resulted in increased women’s political participation.   Her leadership saw the Barbra Schlifer Clinic complete a historic period of growth and influence, including an advanced role in direct access to justice service development, test case litigation, and appellate work, as well as international human rights work. For three decades, Amanda has remained active in the feminist movement contributing to many organizations, including Quimaavik Shelter (Nunavut), Nellie’s Hostel, St. Joseph’s Women Health Centre, YWCA Toronto. She is an Expert Group Member for the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women on rape as a grave and systematic human rights violation; Chair of the Board at Inter Pares; on the advisory board of the Canadian Centre for Legal Innovation in Sexual Assault Response (CCLISAR), and part of the Expert Advisory Panel of the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability. Amanda is the 2013 recipient of the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award for Social Justice. Amanda holds a Masters in Social and Political Thought from the University of Sussex, a Masters in International Human Rights Law from the University of Oxford and a PhD from Osgoode Hall Law School.



Dr. Nadia Ferrara

Dr. Nadia Ferrara is an applied anthropologist and advocate for social justice. She is currently the Executive Director at the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime, Department of Justice. Before joining this department, Nadia worked at Women and Gender Equality Canada for 2 years, and Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada for over a decade, where she developed social policies and frameworks in collaboration with Indigenous partners.

Nadia remains on Faculty at McGill University as Adjunct Professor in the Department of Anthropology where she supervises graduate and undergraduate students in her spare time.

Before entering the Government of Canada in 2003, Nadia worked as an art therapist for 16 years, specializing in cross-cultural psychotherapy with Indigenous peoples in Quebec and Ontario, Canada. Her education includes a Master of Arts in Art Therapy, a Master of Science in Transcultural Psychiatry, and a Doctorate in Medical Anthropology.

In addition to her publications of several journal articles and chapters in various books across North America and in Europe, Nadia has published two books on her work with the Crees of Northern Quebec: Emotional Expression among Cree Indians, and Healing through Art. More recently, she published Reconciling and Rehumanizing Indigenous-Settler Relations, which is a reflection on her work as an applied anthropologist and advocate for Indigenous peoples. Her latest publication is entitled, In Pursuit of Impact: Trauma and Resilience Informed Policy Development.

Nadia is also an artist. One of her sculptures, The Friendship Knot, is permanently placed at her former high school in Montréal, where she was born and raised. Nadia has a daughter, Mikayla, and currently resides in Ottawa, Ontario with her life partner, Lorna. 

Nadia Ferrara, PhD
Executive Director
Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime
Government of Canada
Email: / Tel: 613-960-3425 / Fax: 613-941-3498

Rai Friedman

Rai Friedman is the Research Coordinator at AMSSA, British Columbia’s umbrella association of immigrant and refugee settlement support services in British Columbia. Her role includes maintaining Settlement Net (AMSSA’s weekly bulletin on settlement news), knowledge mobilization, coordinating with community researchers, and developing resources. She holds a master’s degree in Public Policy & Global Affairs where she focused on refugee resettlement and the meaning to belong on unceded territory in British Columbia.

Rai’s professional experiences include an internship with Global Affairs Canada in Ottawa; advocating for mental health reform for refugees in Israel and Canada; women economic development initiatives in India; and online advocacy focused on Sexual and Gender Based Violence within the Middle East and Saudi Arabia. In addition to working for AMSSA, Rai is a volunteer Policy and Research Analyst with the Vancouver Association for Survivors of Torture (VAST); the Vice-president for the Canadian International Council’s Young Professional Network; and a Fieldworker for Amnesty International where she is chairing a Human Rights Development campaign in Saudi Arabia.


Ginette Gautreau

Ginette is the Assistant Director at the New Brunswick Multicultural Council. Prior to joining NBMC, Ginette lived in Ottawa where she completed her Master’s degree in International Development and Global Studies at the University of Ottawa.

During her time in Ottawa, Ginette also worked in the fields of international development and humanitarian assistance, with the Canadian Partnership for Maternal and Child Health, the Humanitarian Coalition and with the Department of Global Affairs, in addition to holding a variety of volunteer roles in the sector.

She holds her BA in International Relations from Mount Allison University and is a graduate of the Wallace McCain Institute Strategic Executive Program. Originally from Memramcook, NB, she has lived abroad for nearly 3 years in France and Mexico and speaks French, English and Spanish.

Assistant Director
New Brunswick Multicultural Council


506-453-1091 Ext. 229   

494 rue Queen St, Suite 200,
Fredericton, NB E3B 1B6


Nuzhat Jafri

She is Executive Director of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW) and has served as President and long-time national board member and volunteer with the Council.  She also serves on the board of directors of The Pluralist Foundation and has served as chair and member of several other non-profit boards, including the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, ACCES Employment, and South Asian Family Support Services.  She has wide-ranging leadership experience in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.  She is an untiring advocate for human rights, equity, inclusion and accessibility.  She lives in Toronto and enjoys being a grandmother among her many occupations.

Contact Information:

Nuzhat Jafri
Executive Director
Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW)
Phone 416-999-6059.

Nneka MacGregor

Nneka MacGregor is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Women’s Centre for Social Justice, better known as WomenatthecentrE, a unique non-profit organization created by and for women survivors of gender-based violence globally. By engaging its members in social and community activism, the organisation ensures that policies and practice are responsive to the needs of survivors.

Nneka is an advocate who works with governments and organizations to transform lives and build violence-free communities. In 2006, she was selected by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario as one of 13 experts tasked to review the range of services provided to women and children in the province, identify gaps and make recommendations. In June 2016, she was appointed by the Canadian government to the Advisory Council on the Federal Strategy Against Gender-Based Violence. An international speaker and trainer, she has developed and facilitated training to various sectors, including to judges on the social context of sexual violence.

She was on the Board of Trustees of the Girl Child Network Worldwide, a UK-based charity that focuses on the empowerment of the girl-child through education and the eradication of practices that impede their full physical, emotional and spiritual growth and development. She also sits on a number of Advisory Boards and Committees, including the Toronto Police Domestic Violence Action Plan Committee and the Toronto Regional (Crown) Domestic Violence Committee and the Family Law Committee of the Board of Legal Aid Ontario. She recently became a member of the Domestic Violence Death Review Committee, with the Office of the Chief Coroner, at the Ontario Ministry of the Solicitor General. Her research focus is on the intersection of strangulation, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Inter-Personal Violence (IPV).

An entrepreneur with almost three decades of business experience, Nneka was a Partner at Strateco Partners, a conscious capitalism consulting firm dedicated to supporting organisations develop their strategy, people, culture, community and profits, and she continues to focus on nurturing women’s leadership in business.

Nneka recently retired from the Board of Directors of Moatfield Foundation of Bayview Glen School, where she served for 11 years, six of which as Chair and CEO of the Bayview Glen Foundation. She supports other non-profits and charitable organisations with governance training and developing effective Board culture.

She is the proud mother of three amazing children, Aly, Alexander and Christiana, and human companion to Basil (The Wonder Dog) and Renfrew, the cat.

Nneka MacGregor, LL.B.

Robin Mason

Robin Mason is a Scientist in the Women’s College Research Institute, and an Assistant Professor at University of Toronto in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health with a cross-appointment to the Department of Psychiatry.  Dr. Mason has been working in the field of intimate partner violence and medical education for almost 20 years and in addition to grants, contracts and publications on the topic, has contributed to the development of relevant policies at the local, provincial and national level. She has also led the development of four online curricula on gender-based violence that have been accessed by nearly 20,000 individuals.  Her work has focused on improving the systems’ response to women who experience violence by: educating health and social service providers, developing policies and guidelines to reduce barriers and improve practices, and giving voice to diverse women’s needs and preferences.

Contact:  Tel. 416-351-3732 ext 2764

Deepa Matoo

Deepa Matoo is Executive Director at the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic. Previously, she was the Schlifer Clinic's Director, Legal Services. Before joining the Schlifer Clinic, Deepa was Project Co-ordinator, Staff Lawyer and Executive Director at the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario.  

In her role at the Schlifer Clinic, Deepa oversees the Clinic's strategic direction and provides leadership to the legal, counselling and interpretation services. Also, Deepa is directly involved in three critical projects related to the criminalization of women and the risk assessment of gender-based violence.  

Deepa is an Adjunct and Visiting Faculty at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Law. In 2017, Deepa was appointed Adjunct Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School for her role as the Co-Director of the Feminist Advocacy Program, hosted at the Schlifer Clinic.  Deepa was the Law Foundation of Ontario's 2017 Community Leadership in Justice Fellow at Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto. She has trained thousands of service providers for best practices and legal education to work with forced marriage survivors, racialized non-status women, and immigration law clients in the context of gender-based violence. Deepa has appeared before parliamentary committees and commissions on a wide range of social justice and human rights issues and has represented hundreds of clients at multiple tribunals and courts in numerous jurisdictions. 

Executive Director
Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic
489 College Street, Suite 503, Toronto, ON M6G 1A5
T:  416.323.9149  x244

Harmy Mendoza

Harmy Mendoza is the Executive Director of the Woman Abuse Council of Toronto (WomanACT). WomanACT works collaboratively to eradicate violence against women through community mobilization, coordination, research, policy, and education.

Ms. Mendoza has worked tirelessly to develop provincial and city-wide networks with professionals in diverse industries, such as judicial, corrections, corporate and community-based organizations, to address systemic gaps and ensure effective approaches to Woman Abuse issues.

Ms. Mendoza brings 14 years of experience and holds a Master of Arts Degree in Immigration and Settlement Studies from Ryerson University. 

Contact Information:

Harmy Mendoza, B.A., M.A. (Pronouns She, Her and Hers)
Executive Director
Office Line: 416-944-9242 Ext 225 I Direct Line: 647-696-0399 I Fax: 416-944-9753

1652 Keele Street, 2nd Floor, Toronto ON M6M3W3

Hawa Y. Mire

As the Executive Director at the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA), Hawa Y. Mire is a proven strategic senior leader, equity consultant and community organizer with twelve years of non-profit experience focused on high-impact community development. In 2017 she completed a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies from York University where her research examined community storytelling as a place of transformation. Hawa is a critical writer, commentator and columnist with Ricochet Media that has been featured on Macleans, Briarpatch Magazine, Metro Morning, CBC, CityTV, Rabble among others.

Syeda Nayab Bukhari

Syeda Nayab Bukhari is a Research Associate at the Simone de Beauvoir Institute, Concordia University. She has earned her doctorate in Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, Simon Fraser University and Masters in Journalism, MPhil in Mass Communications from Pakistan. Interested in race, class, gender vis-a-vis mainstream and ethnic media, she analyses lived experiences of minority ethnic communities in Canada.

Her areas of interest include race, class and gender relations; immigration studies; settlement and integration; health management of seniors; ethnic media; and, gender and international development. She has published in her areas of interest along with extensive experience of teaching in public and private universities as well as working in collaboration with grass root level to international NGOs. 



Shiva Nourpanah

Shiva Nourpanah is Provincial Coordinator of the Transition House Association of Nova Scotia, and a SSHRC Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Social and Legal Responses to Violence, University of Guelph. She is also Adjunct Faculty at the Department of International Development Studies, Saint Mary's University and School of Occupational Therapy, Dalhousie University. Her areas of research include refugee and immigration affairs and gender-based violence. Formerly, she worked for eight years for the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Refugees office in Iran. She has published work on the ethics of refugee aid, women's human rights in refugee aid, and the experiences of settlement and integration of Afghan refugees in Halifax. Currently, she is researching the role of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in refugee claims, and the experiences of foreign women in Transition Houses.  

She has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Halifax Refugee Clinic since 2011. 

Shiva Nourpanah, THANS Provincial Coordinator
Phone: 1-902-429-7287
Mailing address: 204 – 6169 Quinpool Rd.,  Halifax, NS B3L 4P8
Fax: 1-902-429-0561

María José Yax-Fraser

María José Yax-Fraser is an artivist, a scholarly and community research practitioner. She has worked in settlement and migration, including forced migration, for the past 28 years. Her own experiences of migration and her constant exposure to the diverse stories of immigrant and migrant women in their process of settlement and integration have been instrumental in the development of the passion she has to create a welcoming community for newcomer immigrant and migrant women. She advocates gender equality, equity and the advancement of women.

She is a founding member and present Chair of the Immigrant Migrant Women’s Association of Halifax (IMWAH). Her research interests include cross-cultural mothering, housing, underemployment, gender based and family violence.

She is a PhD Candidate in Social Anthropology at York University. Her doctorate research study explores the meaning of a welcoming community for immigrant and migrant mothers in Halifax. She also has a personal interest in human rights, gender-based violence, gender and development, and the rights of indigenous people in Turtle Island.

Immigrant Migrant Women's Association of Halifax (IMWAH)
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CIHR Funded Research Project
Mailing address:
923 Robie Street
Halifax, NS, Canada B3H 3C3