To improve the lives of 2SLGBTQI people in Canada and to enhance the global response to 2SLGBTQI issues. Egale will achieve this by informing public policy, inspiring cultural change, and promoting human rights and inclusion through research, education, awareness and legal advocacy.
A Canada, and ultimately a world, without homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, and all other forms of oppression so that every person can achieve their full potential, free from hatred and bias.
At Egale, our shared commitments help to guide all the work that we do.
Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere (EGALE) founded by Les McAfee, to advocate for increased rights and recognition and to combat discrimination.
Egan v. Canada: With Egale’s intervention, The Supreme Court of Canada found for the first time that human rights based on sexual orientation are protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Amendment to the Canadian Human Rights Act adding sexual orientation as a ground for discrimination.
Egale Canada Human Rights Trust is launched and becomes Canada’s national 2SLGBTQI charity.
Vriend’s case: Supreme Court decision requiring that all Canadian provinces and territories prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.
With Egale’s help, Marc Hall wins rights to Jean-Paul Dumond to Oshawa Catholic High school prom.
Halpern v. Canada: With Egale’s intervention, the Ontario Court of Appeal finds the common law definition of marriage violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Michael Leshner and Michael Stark become the first married same sex couple in Canada.
Civil Marriage Act receives royal assent, recognizing equal marriage across Canada.
Egale publishes findings of our first national climate survey on homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in Canadian secondary schools.
Egale Youth OUTReach, offering individual counselling, homelessness and suicide crisis services for 2SLGBTQI youth up to age 29.
Egale announces the creation of Egale Centre, Canada’s first dedicated 2SLGBTQI youth transitional housing service.
Egale’s Just Society Committee submits The Grossly Indecent Report to the Government of Canada requesting an apology and reparations for the criminal persecution, job loss, ineligibility for pension, and dishonourable discharge from the military following decriminalization in Canada.
Bill C-16 is passed, adding gender expression and gender identity as protected grounds to the Canadian Human Rights Act and also to the Criminal Code.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers an historic apology on behalf of the Government of Canada for years of state-sponsored, systemic oppression and rejection targeting LGBTQ2 public servants and military personnel.
Egale announces it will undertake the second national climate survey on homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in Canadian secondary schools.
Egale releases the IDENTITY Report following our inaugural national conference, IDENTITY: Canadian Perspectives on 2SLGBTQI Inclusion, to bring together the many perspectives on the state of inclusion for our community and chart a path forward together.
Egale launches Speak OUT, a national survey to understand the unique experiences of 2SLGBTQI youth with dating violence.
Egale launches a new organization called Friends of Ruby, to oversee its established direct services for youth, including the former Egale Centre and Egale Youth OUTreach.
Egale launches a brand refresh that more closely reflects our people and the communities we serve.
Egale places the “2S” for “Two Spirit” at the beginning of the “LGBTQI” acronym to acknowledge that Two Spirit, Indigiqueer and LGBTQI Indigenous People were the first sexual orientation and gender minority people in North America/Canada. While this is a small gesture, it is one of many ways that we at Egale strive to demonstrate solidarity with Indigenous Peoples across Turtle Island.
she/her | Executive Director
Helen has dedicated her life’s work to improving the lives of 2SLGBTQI people in Canada and around the world. In 2007, with 22 years of experience in politics, Helen became the Executive Director at Egale Canada. Under Helen’s leadership, Egale has made significant contributions towards equality through research initiatives which reveal the current state of inclusion, awareness campaigns and education programs to shift the culture of inclusion, and legal advocacy. More recently under Helen’s guidance, Egale has filled a critical gap by establishing Canada’s first and only transitional home for 2SLGBTQI homeless youth. Helen also played a large role internationally as the former Co-Secretary General of ILGA, a worldwide federation of 1100 member organizations campaigning for LGBTI rights.
he/him | Director, Legal
Bennett Jensen is an accomplished human rights lawyer and leader. A graduate of the McGill Faculty of Law, Bennett began his career as a litigator at a leading global law firm based in New York City, before becoming the deputy head of the firm’s award-winning pro bono practice and leading responses to national rights violations like the Muslim travel ban and the family separation crisis. Bennett has been recognized as a Rising Star by the American Bar Association and as one of the LGBTQ+ Bar Association’s Best 40 Lawyers under 40 for his work with and on behalf of 2SLGBTI and immigrant communities. Prior to joining Egale, he served as a policy advisor and then as Director of Litigation to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada where he supported the passage of the criminal ban against conversion “therapy”. Bennett clerked for Chief Justice Allan Lutfy and Justice Mary Gleason, then of the Federal Court.
Brittany Jakubiec, PhD
they/them | Director, Research
Brittany is a French-Polish settler living and working on Epekwitk, the traditional and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq. Brittany has multi-sectoral experience in government, non-profit, higher education teaching, and academic research. They completed their doctoral degree in 2019 from the University of PEI, where they were a SSHRC-funded scholar and investigated the identity development of PEI queer youth. They are a qualitative (and sometimes mixed methods) researcher with an interest in the systemic, political, and social experiences of 2SLGBTQI people.
she/her | Director, Marketing and Communications
For over a decade, Jennifer has been an exceptional leader in the non-profit and charitable sector and a champion of human rights and equality. Currently working as the Director of Communications at Egale, Canada’s leading 2SLGBTQI organization, she has held positions at a number of reputable organizations including the United Nation’s Population Fund, Canadian Partnership for Women and Children’s Health and WE Charity. She also proudly serves as the Co-Chair of the Board of Directors at It Gets Better Canada.
Jennifer has led many noteworthy communications initiatives, from the federal apology to 2SLGBTQI victims of the purge to overseeing the launch of the inaugural Pride House at ‘Women Deliver’ in 2019. Jennifer believes in advancing human rights by driving forward powerful communications initiatives that aim to build widespread awareness and engage the public in meaningful dialogue on the most pressing issues in our society.
they/he | Director, Project Management
Kendall is Egale’s Director of Project Management and has been a member of the Egale team since 2011. They identify as a queer afro-latino artivist, born and raised in Iëre (Trinidad) and currently residing on the sacred lands of Tkaronto. Over the last decade, they have successfully led an expansive project portfolio of social impact initiatives for 2SLGBTQI communities in Canada and works to realize Egale’s strategic objectives through project implementation. Kendall is globally recognized as a Project Management Professional (PMP) through the Project Management Institute and holds a BSc in Electrical Engineering from Queen’s University.
They are grounded in their commitment to social justice and has worked effectively across multiple sectors including education, IT, social work, research, housing, construction, refugee and immigration services, and the arts.
she/her | Director, International Programs and Parnterships
Kim was the Executive Director of ARC International for 17 years, retiring in 2020. ARC International is an NGO geared to advancing human rights for LGBTI persons across the globe. They have played a key role in the application of international human rights law in relation to sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics, as well as providing support to NGO’s working in countries around the world to ensure that the records of all UN States on LGBTI issues are subjected to international scrutiny. She has been invited as a global expert to contribute research and advice to the political, expert, and agency bodies within the United Nations.
She has received the Pride Community Service Award in her province, secured the first Registered Domestic Partnership in Canada, and was a successful litigant in one of the Canadian court challenges to secure equal marriage rights for same-sex couples.
she/her | Director, Learning
Mackenzie is passionate about working in 2SLGBTQI advocacy and education. Her previous role was as the Manager of Program Innovation at Big Brothers Big Sisters, co-developing Manitoba’s first Queer Lens Mental Health Training and overseeing their 2SLGBTQI department and staff. In addition, Mackenzie has worked with The Get REAL Movement for six years as their MB Program Coordinator and as a Team Lead Speaker, reaching over 150,000 students, educators, parents/guardians, and corporate businesses across the country. Through this, Mackenzie has a deep understanding of 2SLGBTQI curriculum and how to integrate inclusivity and diversity into a variety of spaces. As a Queer woman, Mackenzie is dedicated to working in collaboration with communities to build innovative programming and curriculum to address intersectional challenges. Mackenzie was awarded CBC’s Proud to Shine award in 2020 and 2021 to honour her work in advocacy and was named in the “Top 100 Fascinating Manitobans” in 2022. Mackenzie is thrilled to be continuing this work on the Egale team.
Mark Fellion, CFRE
he/him | Director, Development
Mark has been working in fundraising and non-profit government relations since 2005. Since joining Egale Canada in 2016, he has overseen major fundraising initiatives and campaigns, helped to diversify revenue streams including partnerships with workplace inclusion training clients, and helped to close out Egale’s $15M+ capital campaign to build one of Canada’s first transitional and emergency housing facilities dedicated to homeless 2SLGBTQI youth in Toronto (now Friends of Ruby Home).
Mark became a Certified Fundraising Executive in 2021, and as an out gay man he is proud to lead Egale’s fund development efforts to support important research, education, awareness, and legal advocacy efforts in order to shift the culture of inclusion and improve the lives of all 2SLGBTQI people.
Robyn Johnston, CPHR
she/her | Director, Human Resources
Robyn is a Red River Métis woman living in Treaty 1 Territory and ancestral lands of the Anishinaabeg, Anishininewuk, Dakota Oyate, Denesuline and Nehethowuk Nations, the Homeland of the Red River Métis and the northern Manitoba ancestral lands of the Inuit.
She is a Chartered Professional in Human Resources with over a decade of experience working within all areas of Human Resources, specializing in Employee and Labour Relations. Developing strong relationships and working cohesively is important in both her personal and professional life. Robyn has worked in not-for-profit for most of her career. As an open-minded Human Resources professional, she is very familiar with human rights legislation and 2SLGBTQI-specific issues.
Robyn is also a passionate advocate for MMIWG2S and has been for many years. Outside of work, Robyn enjoys spending time with her children and pets. She is also an artist and creates paintings and takes photographs of MMIWG2S matters in order to raise awareness and educate others.
she/her | Director, Finance & Administration
Valentyna joined Egale in 2013 and has over 20 years experience in non-profit organizations. She loves accounting and working with the 2SLGBTQI community. She immigrated to Canada in 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree and has actively pursued her designation through the School of Continuing Studies at University of Toronto and Charted Professional Accounts of Ontario. Over the last ten years, Valentyna has worked passionately with key stakeholders in successfully leading accounting and finance efforts.
he/him | Manager, Communications
AJ Adams (he/him) is a communications professional and social change advocate with a passion for rural 2SLGBTQI and social issues. With over a decade of experience, his career involves extensive experience in nonprofit and public sector communications, advocacy and political organizing. He holds a diploma in Public Relations and a Bachelor of Arts in Community Leadership and Equity, Diversity & Human Rights.
Amanda Wong, PMP
she/they | Manager, Project Management
Amanda is a Project Management Professional (PMP) and an avid behind-the-scenes community organizer. Since 2013, they have developed a vast portfolio of community-driven organizational experience in local and international videogame collectives through The Hand Eye Society, Level Up Showcase, Different Games Collective, Pixelles, and Dames Making Games.
They are passionate in improving processes and procedures in all sectors she’s worked in, including videogames, IT, arts, transportation, education, and non-profits, and ensuring that each industry continues their commitment to fostering safer spaces for all marginalized individuals. She also is a Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), graduated with a Master’s in Communications and Culture from Toronto Metropolitan University, and a Bachelor’s in Women and Gender Studies from University of Toronto.
Arsen Sahakyan, M.A.
he/him | Manager, Strategic Partnerships
Arsen is an accomplished partnerships specialist and former international civil servant with over a decade of expertise in developing, managing, and institutionalizing relationships with public, private, and multilateral stakeholders to advance the work of international and not-for-profit organizations and mobilize resources for key programs. Since joining Egale in 2018, Arsen has spearheaded the organization’s fee-for-service corporate workplace inclusion training program strategically engaging major government and business partners and gradually growing unrestricted revenue for underfunded areas. He has also played a key role in securing funds from Global Affairs Canada and the World Bank for Egale’s international projects in different parts of the world and most notably in Ukraine and Western Balkans. In his previous capacity, Arsen served at the United Nations World Food Programme, the world’s largest humanitarian organization, where he helped define the partnership engagement strategy and led its ground-level execution mobilizing US$300M+ for operations in Myanmar. Arsen is an avid traveller and aviation enthusiast having visited more than 60 countries.
Chett Bradley, MEd
he/him | Manager, Learning
Chett is a distance learning specialist with over 15 years’ experience developing ongoing learning programs for both professional and general adult learners. A leader in education management in the not-for-profit sector, Chett has developed and managed online and in-person learning programs for emerging and established professionals across the health care, engineering, corporate, and public service sectors. He has advised on the development of advanced professional certifications and scientific peer-review processes. Chett holds a Master’s degree in Education and a Certificate in Instructional Design. His areas of professional and research interest include informal learning, museum education, program evaluation, and professional expertise development.
Chair of the Board
Ms. Lewis received her Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) from York University in 1985. She completed her Bachelor of Laws at the University of Western Ontario in 1989. She completed her Master of Law Degree in Administrative Law at Osgoode Hall in 2001. Ms. Lewis has been Managing Partner at Lewis & Associates since 1991. She has almost three decades of experience representing refugees before the Refugee Protection Division and challenging negative decisions before the Federal Court of Canada. She has taught Immigration and Refugee Law at Carlton University and Western University. Her passion for Immigration and Refugee Law has led her to build a strong and talented team of lawyers to represent Immigration and Refugee clients with complex and diverse needs, from all over the world.
At the beginning of 2019, Ms. Lewis opened the Family Law division of Lewis & Associates, returning to the starting roots of her law career. Ms. Lewis registered as Foreign Legal Consultant at the Istanbul Bar Association in March 2020. That same month Ms. Lewis was awarded the Law Society of Ontario’s Laura Legge Award, which recognizes women lawyers who exemplify leadership within the profession.
A creative thinker, inventive problem solver and enthusiastic implementer, Christine was a force in the Canadian media space until her well-deserved retirement in 2018. As the Executive Director of the CBC Television network and then the Executive Director of Content overall, Christine oversaw both the programming on CBC TV and the content on CBC.ca. After leaving CBC, Christine co-founded hatchmedia, a subscription video on demand start-up and joined Denny Allen Media Group.
In her spare time, Christine is very active in the 2SLGBTQI community. She currently sits as Vice-President on Egale’s Board of Directors. She was a long-time member of ExeQutive, a collective of queer business executives committed to mentorship and philanthropy.
Dan Irving is an Associate Professor cross-appointed to the Pauline Jewett Institute of Women’s and Gender Studies and the Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies at Carleton University. He teaches in the Sexuality Studies and Human Rights & Social Justice programs. His research is located in two interdisciplinary fields – (1) Transgender Studies where he focuses on Two-Spirit, Trans and Non-binary Un/der/employment in Canada and (2) Critical Men’s & Masculinity Studies where he focuses on the emotional politics of white masculinities amongst youth in Ontario as a key intervention into gender, racial and sexually based violence. He is the co-editor (with Rupert Raj) of Trans Activism in Canada: A Reader (Canadian Scholars Press 2014).
Robert Mitchell is the Treasurer of the Board for Egale Canada.
In 1992, Susan began to lobby for lesbian and gay human rights in the education system relating to her workplace environment – work that she continues to do today. Today, Susan focuses on 2SLGBTQI students who are dealing with human rights violations in their school and community. Her role as an advocate is to guide youth in returning to school, when possible, and to provide educational resources to families and educators.
Susan has received numerous awards for her work in human rights in Newfoundland and Labrador including the “Pride Citizen of The Year” (2010) for her contributions in the field of LGBTQ education and the Human Rights Award (2017) for her work and commitment to the creation and sustainability of safe, caring and inclusive school environments. In 2020, Susan was invested into the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador for her work in Education and Human Rights. Susan Rose has been a Board Member of Egale Canada since 2007, where she served as President and Vice President for five years, as well as the Chair of Egale’s Education Committee.
Egale is Canada’s leading organization for 2SLGBTQI people and issues. We improve and save lives through research, education, awareness, and by advocating for human rights and equality in Canada and around the world. Our work helps create societies and systems that reflect the universal truth that all persons are equal and none is other.