New Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission appointed by Minister of Justice

News release

June 14, 2024 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Justice Canada

The Honourable Arif Virani, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today announced the appointment of Birju Dattani as Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC). Mr. Dattani will replace Charlotte-Anne Malischewski who has been serving as Interim Chief Commissioner since December 2022. Mrs. Malischewski will return to her position as Deputy Chief Commissioner.

The appointment of Mr. Dattani comes by way of Order in Council, signed by Her Excellency the Governor General in Council on the recommendation of the Minister of Justice. Mr. Dattani will assume the role of Chief Commissioner for a term of five years, beginning August 8, 2024.


“The appointment of Mr. Dattani as Chief Commissioner comes at a pivotal time for the Canadian Human Rights Commission. He brings a wealth of both professional and personal lived experience to this role. Our government remains committed to the protection of all human rights in Canada, including the fight against racism, and to strengthening our country’s role within the international human rights system.”

—The Hon. Arif Virani, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada


Mr. Birju Dattani obtained his Bachelor of Laws with Honours from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, in 2008. He obtained his Master of Laws in Public International Law from the London School of Economics & Political Science, with merit, in 2011. Mr. Dattani was a Teaching Fellow in the Faculty of Law at the School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London where he taught International Comparative Law, Human Rights Law and European Union Law.

After starting his legal career with the Syrian Legal Development Program under the auspices of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, as the Director of Legal Operations for International Law, Mr. Dattani then became the Assistant Regional Director at the Alberta Human Rights Commission. Here he assessed human rights complaints and advised executive leadership on legislative, policy and regulatory issues.

Mr. Dattani would then go on to become the Executive Director of the Yukon Human Rights Commission for three years, responsible for administering the Yukon Human Rights Act, before joining Centennial College in 2023 as the Director of Human Rights and Conflict Resolution.

Mr. Dattani has dedicated his career to protecting and upholding the rights of Canadians. He brings extensive practical and academic experience to the role of Chief Commissioner, having established himself as an expert in human rights law and as a champion for equity, diversity and inclusion.

Quick facts

  • The Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) was established by Parliament through the Canadian Human Rights Act in 1977, with the broad mandate of promoting and protecting human rights in Canada.

  • The CHRC is independent from the government and has the authority to research, raise awareness and speak out on any matter related to human rights in Canada.

  • The CHRC works with federally regulated employers to ensure compliance with the Accessible Canada Act, the Employment Equity Act, the National Housing Strategy Act, and the Pay Equity Act, contributing to the elimination of barriers for women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and racialized groups.

  • This Governor in Council appointment is the result of a rigorous, open, transparent, and merit-based selection process.


For more information, media may contact:

Chantalle Aubertin
Deputy Director, Communications
Office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General

Media Relations
Department of Justice Canada

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