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Oxfam Canada is part of
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We depend on and value our staff, volunteers, members and Board, whose hard work, experience, commitment and vision ensures our organization achieves its goals.

Board of Directors, 2019-2022



Bilan Arte
Board of Directors, Ontario
Bilan is a Black, Muslim feminist residing on unceded and never surrendered Algonquin Territory.
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She is an activist with more than a decade of experience in grassroots and youth-led movements and is fueled by her passion for social justice and equity. Today, Bilan is the National Representative for Women and Human Rights at the Canadian Labour Congress.
Delvina Bernard
Board of Directors, Nova Scotia
Delvina Bernard is an educator, institutional change strategist, human rights advocate, cultural activist and songwriter.
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She holds degrees in business administration, adult education and is currently pursuing her PhD on the topic of Reparations. Her thesis working title is: Reparations for Trans-Atlantic Slavery – An Economic Development Strategy and Alternative to Aid. For 20 years, Delvina led the nationally-acclaimed female a capella quartet Four the Moment – gaining international recognition for award winning compositions themed around gender justice, anti-racism and wider social justice issues. As a principal founder of the Afrocentric Learning Institute of Nova Scotia (ALI), she has been at the forefront of the Canadian Afrocentric education movement and is most noted for establishing Canada’s first ever university degree in Afrocentric Educational Leadership at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax. She served as Executive Director of CACE (an educational advisory committee) from 1997 – 2015; prior to that she held leadership positions in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Including: Youth Employment & Training organizations, Women’s Shelters, Federal Human Resources Development Canada and a sessional lecturer with both Dalhousie and Mount Saint Vincent University. As an Afrocentrist, Feminist and student of Global Development, Delvina has a significant interest in the political economy of globalization; the interaction of local development and global factors; alternative development paradigms; new forms of social agency in the global south; Anti-Racist models of human development; Feminist analysis of global development institutions; and reparatory justice approaches to understanding local responses to the activities of transnational capital and global enterprise. Delvina has traveled widely, is an active volunteer in her Halifax community and is the mother of two daughters.
Mary Ellen MacCallum
Board of Directors, British Columbia
Mary Ellen worked in international development as a senior manager for more than twenty years.
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Her career in environmental management, first with Canadian First Nations and Inuit people, and subsequently in Asia and the Middle East, was rooted in listening deeply, respecting diversity and working with partners to find a path forward. She brings those same skills to her work on the Oxfam Canada Board.

As a field project manager and a capacity development specialist she saw firsthand the difference that development based on gender equality can make in the lives not only of girls and women, but of entire communities. She has been an Oxfam supporter all of her adult life and is proud that Oxfam Canada reflects those values. She has been an active Oxfam volunteer for more than 10 years, and a member of the Board for the past six. She has been the Chair of the Policy Committee from 2016 to 2019.
Amelia Martin
Board of Directors, British Columbia
Amelia is a feminist lawyer with a commitment to achieving long-term social change by ensuring that women and other equity-seeking groups achieve justice.
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Beginning with her commitment to social justice as a director of her university’s women’s centre, Amelia has continued her work on women's issues with legal organizations, including the Ontario Bar Association. Amelia relies on her unique viewpoint as a bi-racial woman to assist her in her understanding and analysis of social justice issues. In her work with METRAC, Amelia was instrumental in developing a three-year strategic plan, as well as assisting in the planning and execution of a large-scale fundraising gala in 2015. Since relocating to the interior of British Columbia in 2016, Amelia has developed her understanding of the challenges facing women in rural and small urban settings, especially indigenous women. In her capacity as Board member with the Vernon Women's Transition House, Amelia reviewed and revised the organization's bylaws to ensure compliance with new provincial legislation concerning charitable organizations. She also assisted in the planning and execution of a gala fundraising event, including securing sponsors and reviewing financial documents. After becoming a mother in January 2019, Amelia's commitment to social justice for women has deepened considerably.
Jessica McCormick
Board of Directors, Newfoundland & Labrador
Jessica is a feminist and activist from St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador.
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She is the Public Relations, Communications and Research Officer for the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE), the largest union in the province. She has served on various non-profit boards over the past ten years, including as Vice President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour, as the Student Representative on the Board of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and as a regional representative and two-term national chair of the Canadian Federation of Students. These experiences have provided her with extensive experience in governance, accountability and strategic planning. Jessica is looking forward to continuing her activism with Oxfam Canada in the fight to improve the lives of women and girls around the world and end poverty and injustice.
Rita Parikh
Board of Directors, British Columbia
Rita brings to the board table a long and abiding commitment to community development, and to supporting local aspirations for safe, just and sustainable livelihoods.
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After completing a Master’s of International Affairs, Rita launched her career in the field of international development. She spent two decades working alongside women and refugees, Indigenous peoples and farmers, unions and students in Asia, Latin America and the South Pacific. Her work for groups like Inter Pares and Pacific Peoples’ Partnership – where she served as Executive Director – helped her gain a deep appreciation for the creative and determined efforts of communities, activists and social movements working to create viable and sustainable economic alternatives. Rita has served as the Chair of the board of directors of Mountain Equipment Coop – Canada’s largest retail cooperative – and is currently a board director with Vancity Credit Union – BC’s largest credit union with more than 550,000 members, and $24 billion in assets. She has also served as a director with Canadian Parents for French, which advocates for better access to French second language education for youth. At a local level, Rita has been on the boards of the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre and the Victoria International Development Education Association. As a board member, Rita has served on and/or chaired the Audit, Executive, Environmental, Nominations, Risk and Governance committees of these organizations. Rita is the Executive Director of the Nursing Community Assessment Service, an organization working to ensure that internationally-educated nurses can enter practice in Canada safely and quickly. Rita lives and works in Victoria, BC.
Karen Sander
Board of Directors, Chair, British Columbia
Karen is a feminist and a serial philanthro-preneur. She has played leading roles in the launch of two charitable organizations that took an innovative approach, using social purpose business and entrepreneurship as drivers of social change.
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Her experience ranges from executive work with the IFC (Washington, DC) to the Obakki Foundation that drilled water wells and supported micro finance projects in rural villages in South Sudan, to building funding and partnerships for The Next Big Thing a charity co-founded by Ryan Holmes of Hootsuite. Karen is the Chair of the Board of the West Vancouver Community Center, sits on the Patrons Council of Vancouver General Hospital and on the Board of the Vancouver Rent Bank, which provides crisis funding to those at risk of losing their homes.

Karen has decades of experience in building cross-sector partnerships and is a strong believer in the power of Social Purpose Businesses and Women Leaders to be drivers of social change. Ending poverty begins with women's rights.
Paulette Senior
Board of Directors, Ontario
Paulette Senior has devoted her career to empowering women and girls to overcome barriers and reach their full potential.
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She faced her own set of barriers when she immigrated to Canada from Jamaica as a young girl – an experience that ignited her interest in justice and activism. Paulette began her career on the front lines of social service organizations in some of Toronto’s most economically disadvantaged neighbourhoods. She saw firsthand the urgent need for social resources and systemic change to transform women’s lives. Through her work and advocacy with shelters, as well as employment and housing programs, she has earned numerous awards and become one of the most respected women leaders in Canada. Paulette joined the Canadian Women’s Foundation in 2016, after 10 years as CEO of YWCA Canada. She is a sought-after speaker and commentator on issues including gender equity, gender-based violence, women’s poverty and the wage gap, girls’ empowerment and leadership.
Larry Swatuk
Board of Directors, Ontario
Larry Swatuk is a Professor at the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development and is also a Faculty Member of the Water Institute, the Balsillie School of International Affairs and is cross-appointed to the School of Planning and the Department of Geography and Environmental Management.
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Dr. Swatuk's research focuses on the political economy of natural resources with a particular focus on freshwater governance and management in the Global South. He teaches courses in global political economy, theories of international development and water security. Larry is also Associate Editor of the open access journal Water Alternatives and a founding member of the Environmental Peacebuilding Association.
Dudley Thompson
Board of Directors, Manitoba
Dudley is Principle in Dudley Thompson Consultancy – a consulting firm focusing on Sustainable Community, Regenerative Architecture, Advocacy, Stakeholder Engagement and Climate Change Mitigation.
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He works in Winnipeg for a variety of corporate and not-for-profit clients. He was the founding principal of Prairie Architects Inc. in 1981 and has practiced as an architect in Manitoba since 1976. He holds a Bachelor of Environmental Studies degree from the University of Manitoba and a graduate degree in Architecture from the University of Toronto. He transferred Prairie Architects in 2017 to four employees. Dudley nurtured Prairie as an architectural firm that was committed at its roots to sustainability, stakeholder participation in design and building community. Prairie demonstrated this commitment to Sustainable Buildings with an integrated staff of building scientists and 90% of staff members that are LEED accredited. Prairie certified over 30 LEED buildings under Dudley’s leadership including Manitoba’s first LEED GOLD Building, Mountain Equipment Co-op, and several LEED Platinum projects including Manitoba Hydro Place and Amber Trails School. In his 35 years of practice, Dudley guided Prairie Architects Inc. as an Integrated Design Process Facilitator on numerous projects, in the regeneration of dozens of historic buildings, the renewal of many urban sites, the creation of many First Nations projects, as well as a wide variety of residential, community and educational projects. Mr. Thompson recently served on the Board of Directors of Manitoba Hydro and was chairperson of the non-profit Winnipeg Housing and Rehab Corporation.
Robert (Bob) Vandenberg
Board of Directors, Ontario
Robert is a credentialed program evaluator with more than 10 years of professional experience conducting evaluations.
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He has 30 years of experience as a senior-level manager, and as an international management consultant with bilateral donors, non-governmental organizations and multilateral organizations, and has led numerous contracts for the United Nations: WFP, FAO, OCHA, PAHO, UNICEF and UNDP. Robert has advised clients in 23 countries on a full range of program and management issues. His experience includes practical, front-line work managing humanitarian and development projects while based in Africa and Asia. Robert is an accredited adult educator and is experienced designing and delivering directly applied experiential learning activities. His strong adult training and facilitation skills come from direct experience leading face-to-face working sessions for small and large groups in diverse cultural contexts.

Our Executive Director



Lauren Ravon
Executive Director, Ottawa
Lauren Ravon, Executive Director of Oxfam Canada is a committed feminist and social justice advocate with more than 15 years of international development experience.
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Lauren has been with Oxfam Canada since 2011, holding a number of roles – including Director of Policy and Campaigns – and working tirelessly to put women’s rights at the heart of the global Oxfam confederation. Before joining Oxfam, Lauren worked at the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development (Rights & Democracy) where she was program manager for the Americas and oversaw the Centre’s office and human rights programming in Haiti. She has also worked on programs to tackle gender-based violence and promote sexual and reproductive rights with Planned Parenthood Global and the International Rescue Committee. Lauren has conducted extensive policy research and campaigned on issues of food justice, women’s economic equality, sexual and reproductive health and rights and the role of women’s movements. She holds Master's Degrees in international affairs and development studies from Columbia University and the Paris Institute of Political Studies.

Lauren sits on the Board of Directors of the Humanitarian Coalition and is a member of the Equality Fund collective.

Management Team



Kate Higgins
Deputy Executive Director and Director, Communications, Ottawa
Kate Higgins is the Deputy Executive Director and Director of Communications of Oxfam Canada. Prior to this position, Kate was Oxfam Canada's Director of Policy and Campaigns.
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Before joining Oxfam, Kate worked for CIVICUS, where she led the development of the CIVICUS five-year strategy and spearheaded the organization’s work on data, sustainable development and citizen action. She has held senior policy and research roles at the North-South Institute and the Overseas Development Institute, where she led work on chronic poverty, inequality and women’s economic justice. Kate started her career at the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) working on the Indonesia and Papua New Guinea programs.

Kate has lived and worked in Australia, Canada, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, Thailand and Uganda and has worked on assignments in a number of other countries, including Colombia, Indonesia, Peru, Tanzania and Yemen. Kate has degrees in economics and development studies from the University of Oxford and the University of Sydney.
Jennifer Luedey
Director, Philanthropy and Development, Ottawa
Jennifer Luedey is the Director of Philanthropy and Development at Oxfam Canada, where she leads a team of enthusiastic and committed fundraisers for the public fundraising program.
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Jennifer has more than twelve years of experience as a fundraising professional for women's rights and international development organizations, and is a proud feminist and activist. Her education and background in social services and community work has brought a deep understanding of the importance of working within an anti-oppression framework. With a focus on women's rights and gender equality, she has worked with girls in rural communities around healthy relationships and media literacy, coordinated a community advocacy and public education program for sexual health and reproductive rights in Toronto, and as a residential counsellor at a shelter for women fleeing violence.

When she isn’t trying to convince you that direct mail is still relevant, you can find her supporting the local music scene or painting at home in Wakefield. Originally from New Brunswick, Jennifer has lived in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, Ottawa, a ski resort in the Rocky Mountains (although she doesn’t ski) and New Zealand, where she managed a hostel and had a short stint on a soap opera!
Diane O’Reggio
Director, Finance and Operations, Ottawa
Diane O’Reggio is the Director of Finance and Operations where she works with a team of experts and oversees operations, finance, human resources, information technology and systems units for Oxfam Canada.
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Diane O’Reggio has more than 20 years of leadership experience in the non-profit, public and private sectors, working collaboratively with boards of directors, staff, volunteers, stakeholders and community partners. Diane’s work and volunteer experience has focused on human rights, social justice, civic engagement and improving how non-governmental organizations do their work using a rights-based approach. Prior to joining Oxfam Canada, Diane served as the Executive Director of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund, a national feminist women’s rights organization.

Diane holds a Master's in the Study of Human Rights from Columbia University. She also holds degrees in public administration from Ryerson University and economics from the University of Western Ontario.
Danny Pelletier
Director, International Programs (Acting), Ottawa
Danny Pelletier is Director of International Programs at Oxfam Canada. He leads the program development and management of overseas operations in 22 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.
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Danny has an extensive background in senior management in the NGO sector nationally and internationally, with more than 30 years of experience leading initiatives in health, HIV and AIDS, Education, Natural Resource Management, Climate Change adaptation, Gender Justice and Local Economic Development. In addition, he has a strong interest in governance, human rights and institutional development. He has led and managed strategic change processes, mergers and innovative strategies throughout his career.

Danny has extensive experience managing development projects overseas mostly in Western and Central Africa. More recently, he was Country Director for an international NGO in Democratic Republic of Congo and Benin, developing strategic plans and innovative approaches to development including the involvement of diaspora communities in development. He has been recognized throughout his career for contributions and achievements in the voluntary sector.
Diana Sarosi
Director, Policy and Campaigns, Ottawa
Diana Sarosi is the Director of Policy and Campaigns, leading a team of campaigners and policy experts working to advance gender justice, tackle growing inequality, support social movements and promote active citizenship.
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She is a long-standing feminist advocate, with more than 15 experience working with non-governmental organizations in Canada and throughout Southeast Asia.

At Oxfam Canada, she is advancing policy files related to economic inequality, gender budgeting, humanitarian assistance, peace and security, aid and foreign policy and women’s leadership, all with an emphasis on feminist approaches, targeting the Canadian government and multilateral fora. She is an ongoing analyst and commentator on Canada’s federal budget. Diana previously worked for the Nobel Women’s Initiative and grassroots organizations throughout Southeast Asia. She lived five years in Thailand and founded a NGO working to protect human rights defenders.

Policy and Practice



Lauren Ravon
Executive Director, Ottawa
Lauren Ravon, Executive Director of Oxfam Canada is a committed feminist and social justice advocate with more than 15 years of international development experience.
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Lauren has been with Oxfam Canada since 2011, holding a number of roles – including Director of Policy and Campaigns – and working tirelessly to put women’s rights at the heart of the global Oxfam confederation. Before joining Oxfam, Lauren worked at the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development (Rights & Democracy) where she was program manager for the Americas and oversaw the Centre’s office and human rights programming in Haiti. She has also worked on programs to tackle gender-based violence and promote sexual and reproductive rights with Planned Parenthood Global and the International Rescue Committee. Lauren has conducted extensive policy research and campaigned on issues of food justice, women’s economic equality, sexual and reproductive health and rights and the role of women’s movements. She holds Master's Degrees in international affairs and development studies from Columbia University and the Paris Institute of Political Studies.

Lauren sits on the Board of Directors of the Humanitarian Coalition and is a member of the Equality Fund collective.
Kate Higgins
Deputy Executive Director and Director, Communications, Ottawa
Kate Higgins is the Deputy Executive Director and Director of Communications of Oxfam Canada. Prior to this position, Kate was Oxfam Canada's Director of Policy and Campaigns.
+ Read More
Before joining Oxfam, Kate worked for CIVICUS, where she led the development of the CIVICUS five-year strategy and spearheaded the organization’s work on data, sustainable development and citizen action. She has held senior policy and research roles at the North-South Institute and the Overseas Development Institute, where she led work on chronic poverty, inequality and women’s economic justice. Kate started her career at the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) working on the Indonesia and Papua New Guinea programs.

Kate has lived and worked in Australia, Canada, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, Thailand and Uganda and has worked on assignments in a number of other countries, including Colombia, Indonesia, Peru, Tanzania and Yemen. Kate has degrees in economics and development studies from the University of Oxford and the University of Sydney.
Diana Sarosi
Director, Policy and Campaigns, Ottawa
Diana Sarosi is the Director of Policy and Campaigns, leading a team of campaigners and policy experts working to advance gender justice, tackle growing inequality, support social movements and promote active citizenship.
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She is a long-standing feminist advocate, with more than 15 experience working with non-governmental organizations in Canada and throughout Southeast Asia.

At Oxfam Canada, she is advancing policy files related to economic inequality, gender budgeting, humanitarian assistance, peace and security, aid and foreign policy and women’s leadership, all with an emphasis on feminist approaches, targeting the Canadian government and multilateral fora. She is an ongoing analyst and commentator on Canada’s federal budget. Diana previously worked for the Nobel Women’s Initiative and grassroots organizations throughout Southeast Asia. She lived five years in Thailand and founded a NGO working to protect human rights defenders.
Anya Knechtel
Policy Specialist, Climate and Natural Resources, Ottawa
Anya Knechtel is a policy specialist leading policy work on climate change and natural resources. Anya holds a Master's in Planning from UBC, and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Politics and Development Studies from Queen’s University.
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Anya is an intersectional feminist focused on issues related to climate change and natural resources. She has extensive experience working with NGOs on environmental, energy and gender issues in Canada and internationally. She has previously worked with the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), Banff Centre, Pembina Institute and the World Bank on projects related to rural energy and climate change in Latin America and Africa, as well as advancing ICTs for development. Anya has volunteered on rural development projects in India and Ecuador, as well as with local environmental groups and organizations providing support to recent immigrants in Canada.
Amar Nijhawan
Women's Rights Specialist, Policy and Advocacy, Ottawa
Amar Nijhawan is a Women’s Rights Policy and Advocacy Specialist leading policy work on economic justice, care, and the UN Women Beijing +25 process at Oxfam Canada.
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Amar is an intersectional feminist with a decade of experience working on policy issues related to gender justice, economic development, and sustainability across Canada and internationally. She has held positions in Vancouver at the University of British Columbia and the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, where she led an Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) initiative focused on SMEs, innovation policy, and entrepreneurship in Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Peru. Amar has also worked in the NGO world in India, engaged in issues around gender equality, communal violence, and urban homelessness in New Delhi. Amar holds a MSc from the Gender Institute at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a B.A in Political Science and International Development Studies from McGill University.
Siham Rayale
Women's Rights Specialist, Policy and Advocacy, Ottawa
Siham Rayale has over a decade of experience working in development policy and programming. She has focused her research and advocacy around issues relating to women, peace and security with an emphasis on justice-sector reform.
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Siham currently leads Oxfam Canada’s policy and advocacy on humanitarian and refugee issues. She has a Masters in Development from York University, a PhD from SOAS and an LLM from Osgoode at York University.
Dana Stefov
Women's Rights Specialist, Policy and Advocacy (On Leave), Ottawa
Dana Stefov is Women’s Rights Policy and Advocacy Specialist and the policy lead on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) at Oxfam Canada. She also supports the team’s work on women’s economic equality.
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Dana is a committed feminist that has worked in women’s rights, climate and food justice programming and policy, in Canada, throughout the Americas and internationally. She has lived and worked in several Central American countries – Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica - and is particularly fond of the region. She has held recent positions with USC Canada, the Halifax Initiative Coalition, the Canadian Council for International Co-operation and a coalition of human rights organizations in the Americas advocating to strengthen the Inter-American Human Rights System.

Dana hold a M.Sc. in Development Management from the London School of Economics and a B.A. (Hons) in Development Studies and Political Science from Queen’s University. She lives with her partner Sébastien and two children, Alexis and Sacha, in a house they built with their own hands in Wakefield, Quebec in the national capital region of Canada. Dana is a beer-loving foodie who speaks Greek, Romanian, Spanish, French and English.
Ian Thomson
Manager, Policy, Ottawa, Ottawa
Ian is the Manager of Policy, leading a dynamic team of policy and advocacy specialists promoting gender justice in Canada and internationally. He brings more than twenty years of experience in policy advocacy and global solidarity work, and holds degrees from the University of Toronto and Queen’s University.
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At Oxfam Canada, he coordinates government relations and private sector engagement on a broad range of policy areas including women’s economic equality, climate justice and natural resource governance, and gender in humanitarian emergencies.  Previously, he was the policy specialist on gender justice in extractive industries from 2017 to 2021, collaborating with a global team of Oxfam colleagues and partners across Latin America, Africa and Asia to bring a gender lens to injustices in the mining, oil and gas sectors.
 
Prior to joining Oxfam, Ian spent a decade coordinating the human rights and natural resources program of a national social justice initiative of the Canadian churches.  He has also worked as a researcher and campaigner on labour rights in the global apparel industry.  He lives on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabe people in Ottawa, and loves running, cycling and spending time in the kitchen.

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