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Two New Commissioners Appointed to Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission

February 08, 2019

Two new appointments and a reappointment to the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission were announced today, Feb 8.

Commissioners are appointed by an order of Executive Council. Responsibilities include the strategic direction of the commission and making decisions on human rights issues including referrals of complaints to boards of inquiry.

“The role of commissioners is essential,” said Christine Hanson, director and CEO of the commission. “They bring their personal and professional experience, represent the interest of their respective communities, and help to inform the work of the commission.”

Cheryl Knockwood, Sydney, who has been a commissioner since 2015, has been reappointed. She is a lawyer and works for the Membertou First Nation as its governance co-ordinator. She has also taught Aboriginal and treaty rights at Cape Breton University.

The new commissioners are Denise Mentis-Smith of Halifax and Raymond Tynes of Truro.

Ms. Smith is a graduate of the Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University. She was called to the Nova Scotia bar in 1996 and practises with the law firm Harris North Law in Bedford. Ms. Mentis-Smith is a noted speaker on human rights and issues affecting the African Nova Scotian community.

Mr. Tynes has been active for many years in the field of race relations. He served as the first African Nova Scotian municipal town councillor in Truro for 12 years and served as the African Nova Scotia school board member for four years. He has also served as the executive director of the Colchester Community Workshop, which offers programs to individuals living with intellectual disabilities. Mr. Tynes is a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and was presented with the Dr. Burnley “Rocky” Jones Human Rights Award in 2016.

Commissioners meet six times annually often at the Halifax office. However, they meet in a community outside of the Halifax Regional Municipality at least twice a year.

To learn more about the commission visit

Media Contact:

Jeff Overmars


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