Biographies of Members of the Commission

Chief of the Commission and Tribunals: Mr. Robert A. Philp, Queen's Counsel

Members of the Commission: 

Chief of the Commission and Tribunals

Mr. Robert A. Philp, Queen's Counsel
Mr. Robert A. Philp was appointed Chief of the Commission and Tribunals of the Alberta Human Rights Commission, effective July 1, 2014. His current term will expire on June 30, 2017. Mr. Philp brings to the Commission an extensive legal background and judicial experience, which include 29 years in the practice of law, nine years as an Alberta Provincial Court Judge and seven years as a Deputy Judge of the Northwest Territories, Territorial Court. In addition, he has held notable professional appointments in various associations and memberships in many professional organizations, has an abundance of community leadership experience and has extensive experience as a lecturer at the University of Alberta.

Born in Ontario and raised in Edmonton, Mr. Philp earned his bachelor and law degrees from the University of Alberta. He was called to the bar in Alberta in 1976, as well as called to the Northwest Territories Law Society in 1989 and the Law Society of Nunavut in 1999. He was appointed to the Edmonton Provincial Court Criminal Division in 2005.

Mr. Philp's professional appointments include serving as the Chair of the Administrative Law Subsection, Canadian Bar Association (1984 o1986) and as the founding Vice-President of the Alberta Civil Trial Lawyers Association (1986 to1988). He was also the founding member and has been the Director of the Lawyers Assistance Program since 1995.

Mr. Philp practiced law with a focus on trade unions, employee representation, professional discipline matters and select criminal law. He has been the general counsel for the Alberta Labour Relations Board, the Alberta Human Rights Commission and the Alberta Board of Industrial Relations, representing them at all levels of the court. He earned a Certificate in Labour Relations from Queen's University in 1978.

Mr. Philp's commitment to community leadership has included serving as Vice-President of the Edmonton SPCA, Vice-President of the Boys and Girls Club of Edmonton, Board Member of the HOPE Foundation and Past President of the Cougar Boys Boxing Club. He has also undertaken numerous fundraising activities on behalf of charity. He currently serves on the Mayor's Task Force for the Elimination of Poverty in Edmonton, serves on the Board of Boyle Street Community Services, and supports Homeless Connect.

Mr. Philp has served as a lecturer primarily at the University of Alberta. He was a sessional lecturer for Labour Relations and Labour Arbitration, Faculty of Business, University of Alberta (1980 to 1998), lecturer for the Bar Admission Course on Administrative Law for the Law Society of Alberta (1980 to 1982) and a lecturer for special one and two-day seminars on labour relations for the Faculty of Extension, University of Alberta (1978 to 2004).

Members of the Commission

Joanne Archibald, B.A., LL.B.
Joanne Archibald has been appointed for a term ending July 24, 2016. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1975 and a Law degree in 1985, both from the University of Calgary. Ms. Archibald was called to the Alberta Bar in 1986. She also holds the designation of Registered Practitioner in Dispute Resolution from The Canadian International Institute of Applied Negotiation.

Early in her law career, Ms. Archibald practiced at Shoctor, Mousseau & Starkman in Edmonton. Ms. Archibald then conducted investigations for the Canadian Human Rights Commission where she investigated complaints of discrimination arising under the Canadian Human Rights Act and prepared reports recommending whether to refer cases to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.

Ms. Archibald served as an Appeal Board Chairperson for the Public Service Commission of Canada, which led to her governor-in-council appointment to the Public Service Staffing Tribunal, where she was one of the five full-time members who conducted hearings to decide issues of abuse of authority in employment matters within the federal public service. As a tribunal member, Ms. Archibald conducted quasi-judicial hearings pursuant to the Public Service Employment Act, and prepared decisions. Ms. Archibald's work has taken her across Canada, including the North, to deal with individuals at all levels of the public service.

As a mediator, Ms. Archibald regularly intervenes in contentious matters to assist the parties in addressing and resolving contextual issues in an informal and meaningful way without resorting to formal process.

Ms. Archibald is a member of the Law Society of Alberta and the Canadian Council of Administrative Tribunals. Ms. Archibald's extensive community involvement includes volunteering as a mediator with the Provincial Court of Alberta for 10 years.

Sarah FitzGerald, B.Sc. (Hon.), LL.B.
Sarah FitzGerald has been appointed for a term expiring July 24, 2016.  Ms. FitzGerald received her honours degree in Science (Biology) from the University of Guelph in 1981, and her Law degree from the University of Western Ontario in 1987. 

Ms. FitzGerald was called to the Alberta bar in 1988.  She worked in private practice with Macleod Lyle Smith McManus, after which she joined the Alberta Human Rights Commission as legal counsel.  In 1993, Ms. FitzGerald was appointed as a full-time Member of the Canada Labour Relations Board in Ottawa.  She served in that capacity until 1998 when she returned to Alberta to serve as a part-time Vice-Chair of the Alberta Labour Relations Board.

Ms. FitzGerald is experienced in conducting hearings, decision making, and decision writing. She led sessions on these topics as part of the Canadian Centre for Management Development's annual training of new members of federal tribunals, agencies and commissions. Ms. FitzGerald also holds a Certificate in Arbitration from the Alberta Arbitration and Mediation Society.  Her training as part of the Canadian Institute of Applied Negotiation's Alternative Dispute Resolution Certification Program, includes negotiation and mediation. In addition, she holds certificates in Integrated Negotiation and Facilitative Mediation from the Appropriate Dispute Resolution Institute of Alberta (ADRIA) and holds the designation of Qualified Mediator from the Appropriate Dispute Resolution (ADR) Institute of Canada.

Ms. FitzGerald is an active community volunteer and a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal, recognizing outstanding and exemplary contributions to society.

Gwen Gray, Q.C.
Gwen Gray, Q.C., has been appointed for a term ending August 20, 2018. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1975 from the University of Saskatchewan and was awarded the President's Medal (Most Distinguished Graduate). In 1978, Ms. Gray obtained her Law degree from the University of Saskatchewan and was the Gold Medalist in her graduating year. Ms. Gray was called to the Saskatchewan Bar in 1979 and to the Alberta Bar in 1993. Ms. Gray brings with her an established legal career, which includes over 30 years of practice in the areas of labour, employment and human rights law.

Ms. Gray started her career in Saskatchewan where she practiced labour, employment and human rights law until 1988. She obtained a Master of Laws degree from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York in 1992. Ms. Gray worked with the law firm of Chivers Greckol Kanee in Edmonton from 1992 to 1994.

In 1994, Ms. Gray returned to Saskatchewan to take a legal analyst position in the Policy and Planning Division of Saskatchewan Labour. From 1995 to 1997, she served as the Vice Chairperson of the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board and as Chairperson from 1997 to 2003. As Vice Chairperson, Ms. Gray mediated duty of fair representation complaints involving the duty to accommodate disabled employees. Ms. Gray was an active member of the Council of Canadian Association of Administrative Tribunals where she provided adjudicative training to tribunal members in Saskatchewan. Ms. Gray was appointed as Queen's Counsel (Saskatchewan) in 2001.

In 2003, Ms. Gray returned to Alberta to practice labour, employment and human rights law as an Associate and Partner at Chivers Carpenter. Ms. Gray retired from active practice in 2012 and since then has maintained a consulting practice in labour law.

Ms. Gray has extensive litigation and adjudication experience.  She has appeared before numerous administrative tribunals, including the Alberta human rights tribunal, and all levels of courts.  Ms. Gray taught labour law at the University of Alberta and has been a guest speaker at numerous conferences on topics of labour, employment and human rights law.

William J. Johnson, Q.C., B.A. (Distinction), B. Comm. (Distinction), LL.B.
Bill Johnson, Q.C., has been appointed for a term ending July 24, 2016. Mr. Johnson brings with him an established legal career, which includes over 30 years of practice in Alberta in the areas of employment, labour and human rights law.

Mr. Johnson received a Bachelor of Arts (Distinction) degree and Bachelor of Commerce (Distinction) degree, both from the University of Saskatchewan. He received his Law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School, York University.

Mr. Johnson has been a Partner with the Calgary law firm McGown Johnson since 1982. Mr. Johnson's practice covers employment issues, including significant human rights-related issues in the municipal, provincial and federal public service sectors, as well as matters relating to retail, wholesale, manufacturing, entertainment, public and post-secondary education, health care, transportation, utilities, telecommunications, mining and construction. Mr. Johnson also frequently speaks at conferences on employment law, labour law, human rights and administrative law topics.

In 2002, Mr. Johnson was appointed Queen's Counsel, and in 2011, Mr. Johnson was inducted as a fellow into the College of Labour and Employment Lawyers. He is regularly selected by his peers for inclusion in the publication The Best Lawyers in Canada in the practice area of Labour and Employment Law.

Mr. Johnson was president of the Calgary Immigrant and Education Society for ten years ending in 2012.

Sharon V. Lindgren-Hewlett, B.Comm., LL.B.
Sharon Lindgren-Hewlett has been appointed for a term beginning December 15, 2011 and her current term will expire on August 20, 2018. She is an experienced labour and employment lawyer and mediator and holds Bachelors of Commerce and Laws (Juris Doctor) degrees from the University of Saskatchewan. Ms. Lindgren-Hewlett became a member of the B.C. Law Society in 1992 and the Alberta Law Society in 2000. Her commitment to diversity has been developed from a very young age where travelling internationally became a passion as well as an education.

In 1991, Ms. Lindgren-Hewlett articled and then began private practice with the Vancouver law firm of Swinton & Company and worked on the B.C. Court of Appeal hearing in the landmark Aboriginal title case of Delgamuukw. A two-year stint at the B.C. Labour Relations Board preceded her returning to the prairies where Ms. Lindgren-Hewlett conducted numerous investigations, conciliations and education sessions for the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission (currently named Alberta Human Rights Commission). A commitment to excellent communication as well as extensive training in mediation assisted her in a pilot project with the Alberta Provincial Court where she mediated hundreds of disputes and assisted in numerous mediation training programs. 

Ms. Lindgren-Hewlett combined a return to private practice in Calgary at Burnet, Duckworth and Palmer with an executive position on the Alternative Dispute Resolution Subsection and an active membership in the Labour and Employment Law Subsection, both of the Alberta Branch of the Canadian Bar Association. She spent almost six years with United Nurses of Alberta as a Labour Relations Officer then legal counsel where she was counsel at arbitrations, represented nurses at professional regulatory hearings, and sat as an arbitration panel member and decision writer in the capacity of Union Nominee.

Melissa Luhtanen, J.D.
Melissa Luhtanen has been appointed for a term beginning December 15, 2011 and her current term will expire on August 20, 2018.  Ms. Luhtanen has a Juris Doctor from the University of Calgary. She was called to the bar in Alberta in 2000.

Ms. Luhtanen has twelve years of experience as a conciliator, investigator and educator in the field of human rights. She conducted investigations and conciliations for the Alberta Human Rights Commission up until 2008. Ms. Luhtanen has trained people from different sectors, including business, judiciary, government, and education, on analyzing discrimination and duty to accommodate cases. She has written numerous articles that provide education and information on these topics and other human rights principles.

Ms. Luhtanen has extensive experience using a consensus-based model to chair and facilitate projects with organizations and encourage stakeholders to work together in applying human rights principles. She has been invited to consult with diverse audiences, including judges, corporations, police, teachers, privacy commissioners and policy-makers. Ms. Luhtanen is a recognized expert in the field, and has consulted with many corporations and non-profit organizations on human rights issues.  In 2006, Homeland Security invited Ms. Luhtanen to take part as a panelist to advise on human rights and border security issues between the United States and Canada. The panel examined human rights, privacy and other rights affected by border security technology. The outcome was to help inform border security policies for the future.

Ms. Luhtanen has been an invited speaker at conferences across Canada, including the Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners and a seminar for judges at the Court of Queen's Bench,. She was also the keynote speaker at the Pacific Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers Conference in 2010.

Ms. Luhtanen presently works for the Alberta Civil Liberties Research Centre (ACLRC) as a researcher and educator. The ACLRC offers plain language information booklets and seminars on the law and human rights. As an educator, Ms. Luhtanen writes research papers for high school audiences and teaches students about human rights. She is currently a member of the Peter Lougheed Ethics Committee. Ms. Luhtanen runs a private practice conducting legal research and providing legal advice on wills and estates.

Duncan Marsden, LL.B. (with French)
 Duncan Marsden has been appointed for a term ending August 20, 2018. He received a Law degree (with French) from Leicester University in 1996. Mr. Marsden was called to the England and Wales (Solicitor) Bar in 2000 and called to the Alberta Bar in 2009. 

Mr. Marsden has years of experience in all areas of labour and employment law. Upon graduating from law school, Mr. Marsden practiced employment law for several years in London, England. He moved to Canada and joined Borden Ladner Gervais, where he is now a Partner and Regional Leader of the Labour and Employment Group in the Calgary office. Mr. Marsden is fluent in French and provides advice to clients on employment matters including dismissal procedures, dispute resolution, workers' compensation, discrimination law, and interpretation of employment contracts and policies.

Mr. Marsden speaks frequently at conferences on employment law issues. He has also written numerous articles for a variety of legal publications and has provided training to Civil Court Provincial Judges on employment law updates.

Mr. Marsden is an active volunteer in the community. He was a member of the Board of Directors of MitoCanada, a charity assisting Canadians with mitochondrial disease (2010 to 2014). Mr. Marsden also serves as duty counsel for pro bono Court shifts at the Provincial Court and Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta, and is a volunteer lawyer with Volunteer Lawyers Service. In 2014, Mr. Marsden was the recipient of the National Pro Bono Distinguished Service Award, co-presented by the Law Society of Alberta and Canadian Bar Association - Alberta, where he was recognized for his outstanding contribution to the provision of pro bono legal services. He was recognized in the 2015 edition of Benchmark Canada - The Definitive Guide to Canada's Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys as a "Future Star: Alberta." 

William D. McFetridge, Q.C., B.A., LL.B., C. Arb.
William McFetridge has been appointed for a term beginning September 30, 2010 and his current term will expire on July 24, 2016. He received his B.A. from the University of Alberta and his LL.B. from the University of Calgary. He is a Chartered Arbitrator and regularly chairs labour arbitration boards to resolve grievances and collective bargaining disputes in the public and private sectors. He has worked in the industrial relations field for over 30 years and has chaired human rights, interest and rights arbitrations since 1983. He was selected by his peers for inclusion in the publication The Best Lawyers in Canada in the specialty of Alternative Dispute Resolution.

He has been with the Calgary law firm Miles Davison LLP since 1981 and a Partner since 1988. He served on its management committee for 12 years. His practice focuses on labour and employment matters, including advice to individuals and corporations on employment-related matters and litigation of wrongful dismissal disputes.

For a number of years, he was a team leader in the trial advocacy program at the University of Calgary, Faculty of Law. He has also served as a guest lecturer/arbitrator in both the Faculties of Law and Business. He is a member of the Canadian Industrial Relations Association and the Alberta Arbitration and Mediation Society and taught a number of sections of the A.A.M.S. program to train arbitrators. He is a frequent speaker on employment law issues and has numerous published articles and awards.

Mr. McFetridge is active in the community and provides legal advice on a pro bono basis to several charities and non-profit organizations. He is a past Chairman of the Alberta-NWT-Nunavut Division of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (C.N.I.B.) and has been a CNIB board member for the past 26 years. He is an active volunteer and fund raiser for the Cochrane and Area Humane Society and a marathon runner. He completed the Boston Marathon in 2008.

Jean Munn, Q.C., B.A., LL.B.
Jean Munn has been appointed for a term ending August 20, 2018. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1983 and a Law degree in 1988, both from the University of Calgary. Ms. Munn was called to the Alberta Bar in 1989.

Ms. Munn brings with her extensive experience in all facets of immigration and employment law. After graduating from law school, Ms. Munn set up her own practice in association with other lawyers, Fox Chittick Munn, where she practiced criminal law, family law, immigration law, employment law and labour arbitration. Ms. Munn has been a Partner with the Calgary law firm Caron & Partners since 2003, and in 2008 became Managing Partner. Ms. Munn is fluent in Spanish and advises both employers and employees, including foreign workers and contractors. She also acts as legal counsel for a number of municipalities, corporations, non-profit agencies, boards and community organizations.

Ms. Munn holds a Certificate in Arbitration from Alberta Arbitration and Mediation Society. She is the past Co-Chairperson for the Canadian Bar Association Alberta (Immigration Law - South).

Some of Ms. Munn's academic appointments include sessional lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of Calgary (2009 to 2014) and Immigration Practitioner Instructor at Bow Valley College (2005 to 2010 and 2014 to present). She was also a guest lecturer at Calgary Legal Guidance (1999 to 2013). Ms. Munn co-authored Canadian Encyclopedic Digest, Carswell, Citizenship and Immigration Law 2010. She is also the author of A Guide to Immigration Law for Non-Immigration Lawyers, Calgary Legal Guidance, 1999.

Ms. Munn is active in the community, including volunteering at Calgary Legal Guidance as Legal Clinic Volunteer and Volunteer Trainer (1993 to present) and as an  Board Member (2011 to present). She was awarded the Alan D. Hunter Award for Excellence in Volunteerism from Calgary Legal Guidance (1998 and 2009) and is also the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, recognizing outstanding and exemplary contributions to society.

Kathryn Oviatt, B.A. (Distinction), LL.B. (Distinction)

Kathryn Oviatt has been appointed for a term ending August 20, 2018. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree (Distinction) in 2001 and a Law degree (Distinction) in 2005, both from the University of Alberta. Ms. Oviatt was called to the Alberta Bar in 2006.

Early in her career, Ms. Oviatt served as legal counsel at the Court of Queen's Bench. She then practiced as an associate lawyer with Field Law in the Professional Regulatory Practice Group and Labour and Employment Practice Group until 2014. Ms. Oviatt also served as a Tribunal Member of the Subdivision Development Appeal Board, City of Edmonton. Ms. Oviatt currently practices out of Oviatt Law, where she focusses her practice on legal research and writing. She has a particular interest in administrative law, constitutional law, labour and employment law, and human rights law. 

Ms. Oviatt has written numerous articles on a variety of legal issues. She has made presentations on various legal topics for organizations as well as prepared training DVDs for administrative tribunals.

Karen Scott, LL.B. (Distinction)
Karen Scott has been appointed for a term ending August 20, 2018. She received a Law degree (Distinction) in 2002 from the University of Alberta. Ms. Scott was called to the Alberta Bar in 2003.

Ms. Scott has extensive knowledge of human rights, employment and administrative law. After graduating from law school, Ms. Scott clerked at the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench and Alberta Court of Appeal prior to entering private practice. She has been a Partner with the Edmonton law firm Seveny Scott since 2008, where she practices almost exclusively in the field of labour and employment advising and representing employees, employers and unions on human rights and accommodation issues. Ms. Scott also maintains a civil litigation practice related to her labour and employment practice.

Ms. Scott holds certificates in Interest Based Negotiation and Interpersonal Conflict Resolution from the Alberta Arbitration and Mediation Society.

Ms. Scott is a frequent speaker on labour and employment issues to audiences from across Canada at conferences and audio-seminars presented by Lancaster House and the Canadian Bar Association. She was a guest lecturer for the University of Alberta employment law class in 2014, and has recently been appointed as a sessional lecturer at the University of Alberta Law School, co-teaching employment law.

Revised: May 4, 2016

 

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