Photo of Commissioner Kasari Govender, 2020
B.C.’s Human Rights Commissioner, Kasari Govender, started her five-year term on Sept. 3, 2019. Since then, our Office has been working swiftly to build a strong team, to listen deeply to the concerns of British Columbians, to issue policy guidance to protect vulnerable communities and to lay a human rights-based foundation for our work. As an independent officer of the Legislature, the Commissioner is uniquely positioned to ensure human rights in B.C. are protected, respected and advanced on a systemic level throughout our society.
Kasari Govender took office as B.C.’s first independent Human Rights Commissioner on September 3, 2019. Her role is to lead the promotion and protection of human rights in British Columbia through the Office of the Human Rights Commissioner.
Govender has devoted her life to promoting human rights, with a focus on the rights of those most marginalized. She is passionate about using her skills as a lawyer and community builder to create a more equal and just province. She has worked closely with organizations and communities promoting gender equality, Indigenous rights, children’s rights, the rights of people with disabilities and the rights of immigrant communities.
From 2008 until 2019, Govender held leadership positions at West Coast LEAF and was appointed Executive Director in 2011. She has co-authored key reports and articles and speaks widely on crucial social issues such as hate speech, access to justice, gender based violence and systemic racism. Her earlier work includes a pivotal role in establishing the Rise Women’s Legal Centre, a non-profit legal clinic in British Columbia.
Govender earned her law degree from the University of Victoria and her Master’s degree in International Human Rights Law from the University of Oxford, UK. She has served on the board of directors for the University of Victoria, Pivot Legal Society, the Coalition for Public Legal Services, and the Society for Children and Youth. Govender has taught as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of British Columbia and as an instructor at Simon Fraser University. Her work was recognized by the Women Lawyer’s Forum which honoured her with their Award of Excellence.
In addition to her role as Human Rights Commissioner, Govender is a mother, an aunt, a daughter and a sister.