Centre Staff

CHRR staff 2016 crop

Brendan Bachand, Daniel Reimer, Wendy Ross, Denise McInnes, Karen Busby, Helen Fallding, Katie Kidder, Matthew Quesnel

Address: Room 442, Robson Hall, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3T 2N2. Fax: 204-474-7580

Centre director

Prof. Karen Busby‘s research interests include laws connected to sex, sexuality, violence and the human right to safe drinking water. Her current research is on human rights laws affecting lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and trans-identified (LGBT) people; sex work; surrogacy contracts; religious freedom; and child protection. She is also the principal investigator on a $200,000 partnership development grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada on the right to clean water in First Nations. Busby writes a regular column about human rights for Canadian Lawyer.

She was an active participant in litigation and law reform efforts on sexual assault, recognition of same-sex relationships, bawdy houses/indecency, age of consent and gender identity. Prof. Busby appeared as counsel in the Supreme Court of Canada in the Little Sisters case about the discriminatory treatment of LGBT bookstores by Canada Customs. She teaches constitutional law, administrative law, gender and the law, and a multi-disciplinary graduate-level seminar course on a current human rights topic.

Busby was a member the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) national legal committee from 1992-1997. She also served on the board of Egale Canada (2003-08), a national organization representing LGBT folks. Prof. Busby was on the review panel established under Manitoba’s Vulnerable Persons Living with a Mental Disability Act from 2001-12. She served on the board of governors of the Winnipeg Art Gallery from 2000-2009. Busby delivers seminars to new administrative board members on fair procedures and is a member of Research Manitoba’s research advisory committee.

Prof. Busby has received numerous awards recognizing her human rights work, including a YWCA Women of Distinction award, and awards from the Manitoba and Canadian bar associations. She was inducted into the Q (Queer) Hall of Fame in 2011 and was awarded the University of Manitoba’s top teaching award in 2015.

She can be reached at 204-474-6155, 440 Robson Hall.


Helen Fallding is a lifelong human rights activist who ran women’s centres at the University of Toronto and in Victoria, B.C., helped the Carcross-Tagish First Nation negotiate a land claim, co-founded Yukon’s first gay organization and is helping support refugees.

She graduated with gold medals from the University of Guelph (honours B.Sc. in biology) and the University of Western Ontario (MA in journalism).

Her first job as a reporter was with Northern Native Broadcasting Yukon — the Beat of a Different Drummer. She worked from 1998 to 2011 for the Winnipeg Free Press, where she was Western Manitoba regional reporter, legislature bureau chief and then science reporter before becoming assistant city editor.

Helen has won awards for feminist activism and for journalism, including for a series of stories about lack of running water on Manitoba First Nations, published shortly before she joined the University of Manitoba in 2011.

She can be reached at 204-474-6156, 442 Robson Hall.

H2O Program Co-ordinator

Wendy Ross is running a new science and engineering research training program for water and sanitation security in First Nations. She is a member of Pimicikamak Cree Nation, has a master’s degree in Native Studies from the University of Manitoba and previously worked as a researcher for Fox Lake Cree Nation on traditional land use studies. Her reports there informed environmental assessments related to hydro projects.

You can contact Wendy at 204-474-8822, Room 442, Robson Hall.

Office assistant

Denise McInnes helped set up the Manitoba Institute for Materials before joining the Centre for Human Rights Research in 2016 in a part-time position. She previously worked as an office assistant for the chemistry department for 9 years and for Standard Aero for 11 years as a customer service specialist and export compliance officer. Denise is a certified geological technician, an active grandmother and community volunteer. Her usual office hours are Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday mornings.

Denise can be reached at 204-474-6453, 438 Robson Hall.

Speakers bureau

Human rights speakers bureau co-ordinator Faye Roberts  is a student at University of Manitoba’s Robson Hall law school. She will match law students familiar with human rights law with high schools looking for visiting speakers.

Faye is also researching the justiciability of section 36 of the Constitution Act and its significance as part of a litigation strategy for First Nations seeking provision of clean water. She has an honour’s degree in politics from the University of Winnipeg, where she wrote an undergraduate thesis examining the relationship between the Charter of Rights and federalism. She has since worked for an environmental not-for-profit agency and is particularly interested in the intersection of human rights and environmental rights.

Student assistants

Katie Kidder is a JD student in the Faculty of Law at Robson Hall. Prior to law school, Katie completed a BA honours in politics from the University of Winnipeg. She has a strong commitment to social justice and has volunteered for many years in the non-profit sector, primarily in reproductive health-care. Under the supervision of Prof. Karen Busby, Katie is conducting research on Canada’s sex work laws.


Sara Spence is a Cree woman from Peguis First Nation working towards a bachelor’s degree in science, with a psychology major. She hopes to further her education at the graduate level in psychology. Sara is assisting with administrative work for the H2O program through the work-study program.


Jody Woligroski is a third-year student in the Faculty of Law at Robson Hall. Before enrolling at Robson Hall, Jody studied human geography at the University of Manitoba. She is a research assistant for CHRR director Karen Busby for the 2016-2017 academic year.


Daniel Reimer is a law student at Robson Hall. Prior to joining the faculty, he was employed for nearly a decade as a support worker with St. Amant and other similar organizations. He also pursued a degree in philosophy at the University of Manitoba during that time. Reimer is a summer research assistant under the supervision of Prof. Karen Busby, focusing primarily on the obligation of health-care providers to report suspicions of adolescent sexual abuse.


Brendan Bachand is a law student at the University of Manitoba. Before joining the faculty, he received a BA from Dalhousie University with a double major in international development studies and history. Bachand grew up in the Northwest Territories and has worked as a policy advisor to the territorial government in multiple departments. His policy experience is in inter-governmental relations, working alongside the federal government and Aboriginal governments to implement agreements on environmental, mining, and land use policies. He has also researched northern caribou populations and the legal avenues available to address their decline. In the summer of 2016, Bachand is conducting research alongside his supervisors in the areas of First Nation water and sanitation rights, and how water rights are legally interpreted in relation to the Manitoba Treaties.


Matthew Quesnel is a PhD student in psychology at the University of Manitoba. He maintains the Centre for Human Rights Research Twitter feed and Facebook page and assists with the centre’s website. His SSHRC-funded master’s research explored interventions aimed at increasing individuals’ openness to, and subsequent support for, First Nations’ appeals for increased government funding to solve water supply and sanitation issues.

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