Aisha Weaver, Policy Director
Aisha Weaver joined the BC Civil Liberties Association as the Policy Director in April 2020. Aisha is responsible for directing and developing the policy work of the BCCLA. She is passionate about advocating for the civil liberties and human rights of all Canadians, and particularly marginalized and vulnerable people.
Aisha’s commitment to social justice is long standing. Aisha has researched, written, advised and advocated on a variety of human rights and civil liberties issues, including state accountability, corporate accountability, access to justice, discrimination, equality, prisoners’ rights, conflict resolution, socio-economic rights, land rights, property rights, women’s rights, and labour rights in various contexts around the world. Aisha has worked with communities on these issues in Canada, China, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, South Africa, and the US.
Most recently, Aisha served as General Counsel of Strategic Initiatives at a leading health care center and non-profit in Canada. Aisha holds a JD from Columbia University School of Law, LLM from the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies, and BSc in Economics & International Development from Tulane University. Aisha is called to the bar of Ontario, has applied to transfer to the bar of British Columbia, and is a member of the New York State bar.
Amy Gill, Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator
Amy Gill joined the BCCLA in 2018 after completing a BA at the University of British Columbia with a Double Honours in English Literature and Political Science. Her academic interests includes political theory (particularly postcolonialism and decolonization), diasporic literature, and interculturalism in popular culture. Amy also has previous experience working as the President and Letter Writing Coordinator for the UBC Chapter of Amnesty International, where she was active in organizing events and activism opportunities on campus to raise awareness about human rights abuses in Canada and abroad. Amy is passionate about social justice, community organizing, and the oxford comma.
Carly Teillet, Community Lawyer
Carly joined the BCCLA as the Community Lawyer in September 2019. Carly is Métis from the Red River Métis community (Winnipeg) and the great-great-grand-niece of Louis Riel.
Carly was legal counsel for two Parties with Standing (Vancouver Sex Workers Rights Collective and the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society) in the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls. She has represented Indigenous clients in child protection and criminal matters, worked as the inaugural Gladue Lawyer for Legal Services Society of BC, and taught as an Adjunct Professor at the Peter A. Allard School of Law at UBC. Carly was the inaugural articling student at the Indigenous Community Legal Clinic in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. She has written Gladue Reports for individuals in Provincial and Supreme Courts of British Columbia. Carly is a board member of Wish Drop-In Centre Society and Rise Women’s Legal Centre.
In addition to her experiential knowledge as a result of her cultural background, Carly has worked for and developed relationships with individual Indigenous clients, elders, families and communities across Canada for over a decade.
Emily Lapper, Senior Counsel (Litigation)
Emily joined the BCCLA as Senior Counsel (Litigation) in 2018. Before joining the BCCLA, Emily practiced civil litigation for seven years with a large regional firm in Vancouver, where her practice involved both commercial and public law. She has acted as counsel in cases involving Charter rights, Aboriginal law, the federal division of powers, and criminal sentencing. She frequently provides advice on complex issues of constitutional and administrative law. Emily has argued before all levels of court in British Columbia, appeared before the appellate courts in Ontario and Alberta, and has argued in the Supreme Court of Canada.
From 2012-2013, Emily served as a law clerk to Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella at the Supreme Court of Canada. From 2010-2011, she served as a law clerk for Justice K. Smith and Justice Kirkpatrick of the Court of Appeal for British Columbia. Emily is a graduate of the University of Victoria Faculty of Law.
Grace Pastine, Litigation Director
Grace Pastine is the Litigation Director for the B.C. Civil Liberties Association. Grace conducts litigation and oversees the management and strategic direction of the legal activities of the BCCLA on a broad range of civil liberties cases.
She has directed over 70 high profile cases for the BCCLA on issues including freedom of speech and expression, national security issues, access to governmental information, police misconduct, privacy rights, women’s rights, voting rights, right to counsel and prisoner rights. She has appeared as counsel or co-counsel for the BCCLA at public inquiries and at all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada.
Grace was counsel for the BCCLA at the Braidwood inquiry, a public inquiry established to inquire into the death of Robert Dziekanski, a Polish immigrant who died after he was tasered five times by the police at the Vancouver airport. That inquiry led the provincial government to announce the establishment of a civilian-run investigation body, ending the practice of police investigating themselves. She was co-counsel for the BCCLA before the Supreme Court of Canada in Vancouver (City) v. Ward, which established that monetary damage awards are available to Canadians whose Charter rights have been violated even if the government did not intentionally violate the person’s rights.
Prior to joining the BCCLA, Grace was a lawyer with Bull, Housser & Tupper LLP in Vancouver, B.C. Grace is a frequent speaker on civil liberties issues. She has taught law school courses as an adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria.
Grace received her law degree from the University of Washington and graduated summa cum laude from Wells College with a B.A. in English Literature. Grace is called to the bar of British Columbia and is a member of the Oregon State bar.
Harsha Walia, Executive Director
Harsha Walia is a long-time advocate for migrant justice, Indigenous rights, equality rights, and economic justice. Her advocacy work has resulted in significant transformation in government policies at the municipal, provincial, federal, and international level on issues relating to immigration detention, women’s equality, Indigenous land rights, policing practices, and social assistance regulations. She is also the award-winning author of Undoing Border Imperialism, co-author of Never Home: Legislating Discrimination in Canadian Immigration as well as Red Women Rising: Indigenous Women Survivors in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, and active in social movements including No One Is Illegal and Women’s Memorial March Committee. She is a graduate of the Allard School of Law at UBC and remains committed to be in service to those most impacted by state regulation and violence.
Iman Baobeid, Communications and Outreach Manager
Iman Baobeid is a Yemeni artist, storyteller, and communications specialist. She joined the BCCLA in 2017 and is currently the Communications and Outreach Manager. Iman holds a Master of Arts in Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, Law, and Society from the University of British Columbia.
Iman’s art tackles mid and post-conflict state transformation from intersectional feminist and postcolonial lenses – particularly situated in Yemen. Her work is embedded in the archives – living, oral, and written – as she seeks to unpack the impact of successive wars in Yemen on its people. Her art brings to life the stories of her ancestors and community.
Jennifer MacNeil, Operations & Donor Relations Associate
Jennifer began working with the BCCLA as a contractor in 2018, and is now joining the organisation as Operations and Donor Relations Associate. Several years after completing a B.Ed specialising in Instrumental and Choral Music from the University of Victoria, her increasing interest in social and climate justice issues led her to complete a post-degree Certificate in Food Security from Ryerson University with a focus in the many intersections of food and gender. In addition to her work at the BCCLA, Jennifer also teaches music part-time at a Vancouver elementary school.
Since moving to Vancouver in 2017, she has been volunteering in her community as a children’s soccer coach, a pick leader for the Vancouver Fruit Tree Project, and an executive on her school’s parent advisory board.
Jessica Magonet, Staff Counsel (Litigation)
Jessica joined the BCCLA as Staff Counsel (Litigation) in 2019. Before joining the BCCLA, she was a lawyer at Arvay Finlay LLP and spent two years clerking for the Honorable Madam Justice Karakatsanis at the Supreme Court of Canada. Jessica is called to the bar of British Columbia and Quebec. She graduated from McGill University in 2015, receiving degrees in civil law and common law, with a minor in cognitive science.
Jessica has been involved in the social and environmental justice movement for many years, and previously worked for Ecojustice and the Public Interest Law Clinic. She is the former Editor-in-Chief of the McGill International Journal of Sustainable Development Law and Policy. In 2016, she was named one of Canada’s Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25.
Jessi Halliday, Operations Manager
Jessi joined the BCCLA in February of 2016 as the Legal Administrative Assistant. At present, she is our Litigation and Operations Coordinator. Although she mainly provides support to the legal team, her role includes supporting all other departments, as well as providing general reception services. Jessi’s educational background includes a Communications Certificate and a Legal Administrative Assistant Certificate, both of which were obtained from Douglas College. Her past vocational experience includes working as a support worker for children and youth with developmental disabilities and behavioural conditions. Most recently she was a Legal Assistant at Farris, Vaughan, Wills and Murphy LLP, where she provided assistance to a team of lawyers whose practice focused on constitutional, aboriginal and administrative law matters. Jessi’s experience as a legal assistant includes work at all levels of court throughout British Columbia, as well as the Court of Queen’s Bench of Manitoba, Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta, and the Supreme Court of Canada.
Latoya Farrell, Staff Counsel (Policy)
Latoya Farrell is a recent addition to the BCCLA team from Edmonton, AB. She graduated from the University of Saskatchewan – College of Law in 2018, completing her final year abroad at the University of Birmingham in England where she focused on Human Rights and Criminal Justice. Prior to that, Latoya worked as a Multicultural Liaison with the Fort McMurray Catholic School District helping Aboriginal and newly immigrated students to successfully complete High School.
In 2009, she graduated from the University of Alberta – Augustana Faculty with a B.A in Sociology and a B.A in Studio Foundations. She has volunteered as a Youth Coordinator with the National Black Coalition of Canada, developing youth programs for the African-Canadian community. She is also an accomplished artist and has been featured in various shows around Edmonton.
Leila Toledo, Director of People and Operations
Leila joined the BCCLA in 2020. She was born and raised in Mexico before becoming a settler in unceded Coast Salish territories. Leila has over seven years of experience in the not-for-profit Arts sector. Her background ranges from administrative support for small business to large event and project management. She has worked for the Coastal Jazz and Blues Society, the Vancouver Queer Film Festival, and the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, where she served the human resources and financial operations with a lens in accessibility, inclusion, and system development. She is an avid reader of fiction and gender theory and is passionate about her involvement in social change.
Leila holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy from the University of British Columbia.
Maggie Knight, Managing Director
Maggie has over a decade of experience advocating for human rights and environmental justice. An experienced political strategist, she’s built expertise in leading and growing organizations engaged in cutting-edge advocacy through work in BC, Québec, and Nova Scotia.
She served as President of McGill’s undergraduate student union during the 2012 Quebec student strike, led the organizational development of start-up political advocacy non-profit Leadnow.ca as their first Managing Director, and was active for several years in national and international climate policy and justice movements. Before joining the BCCLA in 2016, she led communications and operations at RADIUS, a start-up social innovation lab and venture incubator housed at Simon Fraser University. As the BCCLA’s first Operations Director, she led the modernization of the BCCLA’s operations, refined the organization’s financial strategy, oversaw organizational development during a period of team expansion, and led the complex relocation of the BCCLA’s head office.
She holds a BASc in Environment (Honours) and Economics from McGill University and is the recipient of numerous awards for academic achievement and community advocacy. She has served on several non-profit boards and volunteered with many organizations, including Journalists for Human Rights, Canadian Friends Service Committee, Amnesty International, and the Sierra Youth Coalition.
Maggie is passionate about transforming structural injustices and building people-powered movements that can hold governments accountable. She was raised on unceded Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ territories in Victoria, BC.
Mark Hosak, Director of Community Engagement
Mark Hosak joined the BCCLA in 2018. He brings a background in fundraising, communications, and organizing from his previous experience with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, various progressive political campaigns and work as a Legislative Assistant to a Member of Parliament. His past campaigns have included advocating for wild salmon protection, for veterans pension rights and against climate change.
Mark holds a Masters of Political Management from Carleton University and a BA Hons in Political Science from Simon Fraser University. His work focused on applied campaign theory and political narrative development.
Megan Tweedie, Staff Counsel (Litigation)
Megan joined the BCCLA as Staff Counsel (Litigation) in 2019. She brings with her eight years of experience in private practice, focusing on litigation, labour and employment law, human rights, and privacy matters. Megan has represented clients at all levels of court in BC and at various administrative tribunals. She has also done extensive work providing pro bono legal services to people facing barriers to access to justice.
In 2008, when Megan was a law student at the University of Toronto, she received a Public Interest Fellowship to become the BCCLA’s first summer law student, an experience that cemented her interest in public interest law. Years later, she is thrilled to return to the BCCLA and is passionate about furthering the organization’s goals.
Meghan McDermott, Staff Counsel (Policy)
Meghan McDermott joined the BCCLA as staff counsel in March of 2017. With a B.A. in philosophy from Concordia University, her compassion and curiosity drove her to study law at the University of Victoria so that she could collaborate with others to pursue law reform in the interest of enhancing social justice. She has an LL.M. from the University of Edinburgh where her studies focused on whether parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change have a responsibility to share the benefits of their forestry-related activities with local and Indigenous communities. Prior to joining the BCCLA she worked for many years as an advisor with the government of British Columbia, developing environmental and health policy and legislation. She has also provided legal services for the government of Ontario and interned as a legal analyst with the Dullah Omar Institute for Constitutional Law, Governance and Human Rights in South Africa.
When she isn’t working, Meghan can usually be found gardening or exploring the city with her dogs. She loves current affairs, arts and culture and volunteers as an executive with the board of Island Mountain Arts, a unique gallery and school of the arts in the Cariboo.
Ryan Carter, Legal Administrative Assistant
Ryan joined the BCCLA as a Legal Administrative Assistant in 2019 after completing his MA in Political Science at the University of British Columbia where he specialized in energy politics. He wrote his thesis on the effect of energy insecurity on perceptions of Russian interference in postcommunist Europe. Prior to this, Ryan completed his BA in Political Science at the University of Calgary. Ryan moved from Calgary to Vancouver in 2018.
Ryan’s professional background includes criminal law, finance, client services, and more. A recent addition to Vancouver, he is involved with several community-focused organizations and regularly volunteers around the city. Ryan is passionate about informed debate, community dynamism, and fitness.
Sambriddhi Nepal, Supporter Engagement and Development Manager
Sambriddhi Nepal is a fundraising and communications professional with almost a decade of experience in the non-profit sector. Prior to working at the BCCLA, she worked at WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre. Sambriddhi’s greatest professional joys come from creating content that inspire people to take action for something they believe in.
Sambriddhi is a settler on Coast Salish Territories. She was born in Nepal and lived in 6 different developing countries before immigrating to Canada in 2009. She is an avid reader, and hopes to add “Host of a Well-Attended Book Club” to her list of achievements in the future.
Sonya Pighin, Legal Consultant, Policing Indigenous Communities Initiative
Sonya Pighin is an Indigenous lawyer who is working with BCCLA as a legal consultant. Sonya is a member of the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation, as well as the Gitdumden Clan of the Wet’suwet’en. She currently resides in Victoria, BC, in the territories of the WSÁNEĆ (Saanich), Lkwungen (Songhees), Wyomilth (Esquimalt) peoples. She has spent the past 15 years working with Indigenous communities in a variety of contexts. For the past 3.5 years Sonya has provided in-house and ad hoc legal services to First Nation “Bands” across BC. She has also represented indigenous organizations on legal matters. Sonya’s background also includes experience working with Maori communities in New Zealand on comprehensive treaty claims and with Maori and Pacific Island families as a youth justice coordinator. In Canada, Sonya has worked as a child and youth mental health worker (Coast Salish Territory), as a child rights advocate (all over BC), and as a child and youth care worker in a residential setting (in Lheidli T’enneh Territory and Coast Salish Territory). Sonya has a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in criminology from Vancouver Island University, and a Bachelor of Law degree from University of Victoria. She is also currently working towards a Masters in Law with a specialization in Constitutional Law through Osgoode Hall Law School at York University.