Diversity and Inclusion at the PPSC
Message from Kathleen Roussel, Director of Public Prosecutions
The Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC) is a key partner in the criminal justice system. The work we do is important for all Canadians and all communities.
Those who interact with the PPSC, be it as victim, accused or witness, deserve the type of decision-making that is enlightened by diverse perspectives. Increasing the representativeness of the PPSC to truly reflect Canadian society can only lead to better criminal justice outcomes.
As the Director of Public Prosecutions, I am committed to doing our part to reduce over-representation of Indigenous, Black and other historically marginalized Canadians in our jails and before the courts, while fostering better community outcomes through outreach and education.
In recent years, the PPSC has been increasing its focus and efforts on equity and diversity, and fostering dialogue on what it means to be inclusive. As many employers have discovered, we are not as diverse as we should be and we have room to grow in respect of inclusiveness. Recruitment and promotion of diverse individuals is a crucial step in supporting those efforts.
Our diversity and inclusion agenda is ambitious and challenging, but can only lead to better results for Canadians. To get there, we need a diverse group of individuals motivated to see real and lasting change. Help us change the face of criminal justice by joining the PPSC.
Director of Public Prosecutions and
Deputy Attorney General of Canada
Why does Diversity and Inclusion Matter at the PPSC?
A message from Baljinder Girn,
Bias-Free Workplace Co-Champion
I am a Senior Counsel in the British Columbia Regional Office and have been with the PPSC since 2002. I am a passionate advocate for the mentorship of students and young lawyers in the legal profession. Working at the PPSC has enabled me to pursue that passion through extensive work in mentoring students and young lawyers in my office. As a proud member of the Punjabi Sikh community it is my strong belief that the public service must reflect the diversity of Canadians it serves.
The role of Crown Counsel in Canada is "to promote the cause of justice" and serve the Canadian public interest. A large part of fulfilling this role involves ensuring that the PPSC reflects the Canadian communities we serve.
Diversity and Inclusion is so important. It is not just about the PPSC "looking" more like the public we serve—it is something that encourages wider perspectives and ranges of discussion on how we operate. This includes promoting cultural sensitivity amongst our Crown Counsel, managers and employees, removing barriers to advancement, increasing workplace engagement, and attracting and retaining diverse talent.
A PPSC that reflects the public we serve contributes to increased engagement in, and acceptance of, the prosecutorial litigation process. Consequently, we believe this strengthens the legitimacy of our judicial system and the effective functioning of our society.
The PPSC is committed to creating an inclusive workplace where everyone feels they belong.
- Althea Francis, Senior Counsel, Toronto
- Angela Caseley, Team Leader, Halifax
- Anjali Bali, Executive Assistant, Yukon
- Bertrand Malo, Counsel, Alberta
- Faith Chipawe, Legal Assistant Supervisor, Alberta
- Jaycie Steinhauer, Legal Assistant, Alberta
- Joshua Hunt, IT Support Technician, IT Infrastructure/ Operations, Administration Services Division, Yukon
- Kelvin Ramchand, Counsel, Toronto
- Laura Pitcairn, General Counsel, Headquarters Counsel Group, Ottawa
- Marina Elias, Counsel, Toronto
- Martin Park, Counsel, Brampton
- Michael Foote, Chief Federal Prosecutor, Manitoba
- Rawan El-Komos, Senior Director General of Corporate Services, Ottawa
- Surinder Aujla, General Counsel, Brampton
- Trang Dai Nguyen, Counsel, Quebec
Senior Counsel, Toronto
I am a Senior Counsel in Toronto and have worked at the PPSC since my call to the Bar in 2001. I am a member of the Anti-Organized Crime Team, where I am responsible for prosecuting large-scale drug investigations involving complex issues surrounding wiretap and criminal organizations. In this role, I also regularly provide legal advice to investigative agencies. In 2012, I received the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Award for my contributions to public service through my work as a prosecutor.
I am passionate about mentoring and act as a mentor to many junior counsel in the office. I am the Diversity and Inclusion Champion in the Ontario Regional Office and a member of the National Diversity and Inclusion Committee. In these roles, I promote diversity by delivering programs aimed at fostering a cultural shift around inclusivity in the workplace and bringing people together. In recognition of my work in this area, I was awarded the 2018 PPSC Leadership Excellence Award, and in 2019 the Canadian Lawyer magazine Innovatio Award for innovation around diversity in a law department. I am proud to be a member of the PPSC. I believe diversity drives innovation and makes teams smarter.
Team Leader, Halifax
I was raised in a rural community in Prince Edward Island in a single-parent family where the values of hard work, respect for all, and equality were not only taught but also lived. I was raised to value community service
and speak up for those less fortunate. It is no surprise that I went on to law school at Dalhousie University in 1989 and then moved to Vancouver where I worked in a criminal defence firm. Many of my clients struggled with addiction, food scarcity and living conditions that are unimaginable for most. Although this was incredibly hard work, it
was very rewarding to help people navigate the justice and social systems. I joined the Provincial Crown's office a few years later. My work there was a wonderful opportunity to find creative ways to help young people reset and change course. It became clear that the key determinant for predicting recidivism was simple. If the young person
had someone 'in their corner,'
they rarely returned to court. Believing in the goodness of people and truly seeing them beyond their actions made a significant difference in their lives
and ultimately the lives of others.
Since joining the PPSC in 2000, I have held several positions including Litigator, Advisory Crown with the Proceeds of Crime unit, Headquarter Counsel for Proceeds and Offence Related Property, Team Leader for the Proceeds of Crime and Organized Crime team, and most recently, Team Leader for the Agent Supervision team. I have served on several regional and national committees. I sincerely hope my voice is one that encourages positive change, increases diversity and inclusion, and will leave the justice system and our community better.
Executive Assistant, Yukon
I am an executive assistant in the Yukon Regional Office. I was born and raised in India and came to Canada in 2016 as an international student. I began my career in retail and never pictured myself working anywhere else until I received a golden opportunity to work with the PPSC. Since I started working with the PPSC, the entire staff has been welcoming and respectful to me. Being from a different background, I wasn't sure whether I would fit in. But I received so much training and support, which made me confident about working here. I find that everyone is treated equally no matter what culture they belong to. We celebrate other people's work and festivals like our own. To me, diversity at the PPSC stands for Different Individuals Valuing Each Other Regardless of Skin, Intellect, Talents or Years. It is my pleasure to work
for the PPSC in the Yukon.
I am Jewish and a French Canadian from Quebec. I began my law career in Ontario prior to becoming a Crown Prosecutor in Alberta. I value the PPSC's commitment to inclusivity and diversity and believe that the public service should reflect Canadian society and its values. This is crucial within the context of Crown prosecutions, given our regular interactions with members of the public and the highly visible nature of our role. Being fluent in French and English and having a cross-cultural background expands the ways I connect with my work, the courts, my colleagues and the public. I love being in the Edmonton Office — my colleagues are warm and welcoming, and every single person strives to create and maintain a supportive work environment.
Legal Assistant Supervisor, Alberta
I am currently a Legal Assistant Supervisor in the Alberta Regional Office. I started my career with the PPSC in 2012 in the Yellowknife office. While there, I soon realized that I was the only person of colour in that office. However, with great support and mentorship from management, who moulded and believed in me, I was able to advance in my career. I have enjoyed being a part of a supervisors' network and participating in the PPSC Mentors Program. I believe diversity and inclusion leads to innovative ideas and makes for a safe working environment, knowing that every member's ideas are heard. In light of all the Black Lives Matter protests that have been and still are taking place across the world, I see that the PPSC is striving to fill in the gaps. The Calgary office, where I work, is a fun-filled environment, which makes it enjoyable to wake up every morning and come in to work. As Maya Angelou said: "… In diversity there is beauty and there is strength."
Tansi! [Hello!] I am a Legal Assistant from Whitefish Lake First Nation, and I work in the Edmonton office. I started to pursue a career in policing when I decided that I loved university and wanted to pursue knowledge. I completed a criminal justice degree and later took a course in paralegal studies. I was granted an excellent opportunity to intern at the PPSC and a year later joined the office as a Legal Assistant. I love my job and have been welcomed in the office by my colleagues. Knowing that Indigenous people are more susceptible to drug offences, I know that my presence here is important in the legal community. I have faced hardships as an Indigenous woman and this pushed me to play a role in the criminal justice system. The role I play is to help others see Indigenous people differently and not through the lens of a stereotype. The PPSC supports inclusion while providing services to the community, which truly makes this a great place to work.
IT Support Technician, IT Infrastructure/ Operations, Administration
Services Division, Yukon
I work with the Information Technology Division in Whitehorse, Yukon. I was diagnosed 21 years ago with a brain tumour, and underwent treatments to have it removed. Since then, I have lived with the various challenges brought on by the side effects of the removal and the treatments. With my disability, I have felt welcome and appreciated working with the PPSC. I believe that everyone has equal rights, and having a diverse and inclusive office makes me proud to be a Canadian and a PPSC employee. I am also proud to be part of the social committee, so we can plan activities for the office to bring us together as a team for fun.
My experience from a grade 7 mock trial fueled my interest and passion for criminal law. A huge barrier in navigating this path was not having anyone in my family or social network who attended university, let alone worked in the legal field. My parents immigrated to Canada from Guyana, settling in Toronto, where I was born and raised, so I needed to be creative to make my dream come true. To help me get to the PPSC, where I have been Crown Counsel since 2015, I was fortunate to have mentors who graciously provided guidance and support every step of the way. I was taught how to take a principled approach to my work with integrity, empathy and fairness while promoting the interests of justice on issues that affect all Canadians. This inspired me to be a mentor myself, which has been truly one of the most rewarding aspects of my career. It is important that the PPSC be a reflection of the communities we serve. That is why as an ambassador of the PPSC, I aim to inspire law students of all backgrounds to pursue a career in our office, where they will gain invaluable experiences, access to amazing mentors, and lifelong friends like I have.
General Counsel, Headquarters Counsel Group, Ottawa
I am General Counsel at the PPSC Headquarters Counsel Group in Ottawa. I lead a number of national committees, including the National Wiretap Experts Committee and the PPSC-RCMP Technology Working Group. I started my career with the public service in 1996 in Edmonton and within a year I realized my goal of becoming a prosecutor, eventually moving to the newly-established Calgary office in 1998. In 2002, I made the move to Ottawa to join the Strategic Prosecutions Policy Section at the Federal Prosecution Service headquarters. I have been with the PPSC Headquarters Counsel Group since 2009, after returning from working with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service legal services unit for a little over 3 years. I am a proud member of the LGBTQ2I community in Ottawa. Having worked in various offices over the years, I have experienced different comfort levels about coming out to my colleagues; however, I have always felt at home and treated respectfully at the PPSC.
I am the daughter of Egyptian immigrants. As leaders in the Coptic community, my parents raised me to use my voice to pursue justice. When I graduated from law school, I searched for a career where I could find my voice in the courtroom. The PPSC became a natural fit for me.
I am currently a member of the Anti-Organized Crime Team in Toronto. On this team, I am responsible for prosecuting cases involving large quantities of drugs and firearms and have appeared at all levels of courts in Ontario.
I believe mentorship unlocks the door of potential and unleashes the voices of young persons from equity-seeking groups. As such, I co-founded the Ontario Regional Office's Mentorship Program to empower young prosecutors. For my work in this program, I have received the PPSC Innovation and Creativity Award. I also teach Lawyer as Negotiator at Osgoode Hall Law School, where I encourage law students to find their voice while advocating for their clients at the negotiation table. For many years, I have coached mock trial and mooting competitions and I received the Altman Award for Fellowship and Excellence in Legal Education. I am proud that the PPSC has supported my career goals and passion for mentorship.
I have been a Crown Counsel at the PPSC in Toronto since 2010. My journey began in South America. I was born in Asunción, Paraguay, to immigrant parents from South Korea. My native languages are Spanish and Korean. At the age of nine, my family immigrated to Montreal before settling in Toronto, where I have spent most of my life. I have always been passionate about my community and have volunteered as a mentor for incarcerated youths and also worked as a Child Protection Worker for an agency supporting Indigenous children and families. These life experiences have shaped my approach to the practice of law and given me a richer understanding of the impact criminal law has on vulnerable members of society. I am both grateful to work for the PPSC and proud of my colleagues who are passionate about the law, care deeply about their community, and are devoted to public service.
Chief Federal Prosecutor, Manitoba
I have been very fortunate in the course of my career over the past 25 years to work with many exceptional people at the PPSC. I am currently the Chief Federal Prosecutor in the Manitoba Regional Office. Along the way, I've learned many lessons from all my colleagues. Every day is an opportunity to learn and one of the keys to success is to be attuned to all that people have to teach you. That's where the benefit of true diversity is really evident. Diversity of ethnicity, citizenship, culture, and thought enrich us all if we are open to the different perspectives that result from different experiences.
Canada is a mosaic of many cultures, and my own background is a piece of this mosaic and reflects the immigrant experience so many share. I was born and raised in Jamaica and emigrated to Canada as a teenager with my parents. Jamaica has benefited from a diverse mix of peoples and formed a well-defined strong national character, exemplified by the country's motto "Out of Many, One People." My family certainly exemplified this motto, with a Jamaican father, a Scottish mother, and an extended family that truly was ethnically and culturally diverse. I think this lived experience has certainly helped me understand and embrace the importance of diversity in our own society and in our workplaces. We all have something to add to our collective conversation whether we have always been here or arrived yesterday. That conversation is always ongoing at the PPSC as we continue to strive toward greater openness and the sharing of diverse perspectives that make us all stronger together.
Senior Director General of
Corporate Services, Ottawa
I was born in Kuwait to an Egyptian father and Jordanian mother. We moved back to Egypt in 1987 and immigrated to Halifax, Nova Scotia when I was 12, in 1992. Transitioning from Kuwait to Cairo and then to Halifax were not easy transitions. They are different places with different cultures and realities. My background and lived experiences have given me a great sense of social responsibility and commitment to always ensuring that those I work with, play with, and live, with feel included and have a true sense of belonging. I have been a public servant since 2001 and have been in leadership roles since 2007. As a leader in the public service and as a member of one or more equity-seeking groups, I have the privilege and responsibility to create and nurture work cultures that are equitable, diverse and inclusive. I am very honoured to continue to play this role at the PPSC both in my leadership capacity and as the departmental Bias-Free Workplace Co-Champion. I look forward to embracing and welcoming new recruits with diverse backgrounds, thoughts, opinions and lived experiences.
General Counsel, Brampton
I was a lawyer in India and in order to become one in Ontario, I attended Osgoode Hall Law School and subsequently articled with the Provincial Crown's office. During this period, I also served my community as a Toronto police officer. In 1999, I joined the Department of Justice and later obtained my LL.M. in Criminal Law. Currently I am a General Counsel with the PPSC and I am a designated wiretap agent. Throughout my career I have held multiple leadership positions across various offices and have appeared at all levels of court in Ontario on a broad range of cases.
I have always taken a mentorship role with lawyers in my office and I regularly give presentations on various legal topics within the PPSC, to the Bar, and to law enforcement. My experience spans complex prosecutions involving wiretaps, conspiracies and large quantities of drugs, money and tobacco. I also enjoy serving on the boards of community and legal organizations. This service has allowed me to give back to my community.
Trang Dai Nguyen,
I was 4 years old when I fled the aftermath of the Vietnam War and the oppressive Communist regime with my family. I was part of the exodus of Vietnamese refugees known as "boat people".
I began my career in the 2000s with an internship with the Department of Justice Canada as part of the Legal Excellence Program for articling students, where I held various positions. As Crown Counsel, I have worked at many places, including the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Section of the Department of Justice. In this position, I was responsible for prosecuting war crimes. I also worked at the Criminal Law Policy Section, where I was responsible for all policy matters relating to electronic surveillance and searches.
I am dedicated to community work to achieve changes and strengthen our legal system. I am the Chair of the Criminal Law Executive Committee and a member of the Equality Committee of the Canadian Bar Association, Quebec Division, as well as a member of the National Criminal Law Directorate of the Canadian Bar Association. In addition, I am a member of the Committee on Women in the Profession and a member of the jury for the distinction of emeritus lawyers within the Barreau du Québec. I choose to be a public service employee so that I can be on the front lines of the fight for social justice and make my voice heard through legislation, policies and prosecution.
Inclusive Initiatives at the PPSC
The PPSC continues to be intentional about building a more diverse and inclusive workplace by:
- Establishing an Advancement Centre for Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (EDIA);
- Creating and supporting new National Councils of Employees for five (5) distinct groups to date for:
- Persons Living with a Disability;
- Indigenous Peoples;
- Black employees;
- Racialized persons; and
- the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community.
- Nurturing Regional EDIA Committees across the country;
- Updating our corporate values to include Equity and Inclusion, Respect and Truth and Reconciliation;
- Executing an ambitious EDIA Action Plan and National Accessibility Plan;
- Partnering with the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion to offer free learning tools and events;
- Ensuring accessibility is at the forefront of our initiatives and accommodating employees to remove technological and workplace barriers, so that all can work to the best of their ability;
- Offering flexible work arrangements and family leave options; and
- Hosting and promoting learning events focused on EDIA for all employees.
- PPSC’s Mental Health and Wellness Committee continually provides tools to assist employees in maintaining a positive, healthy, and respectful workplace.
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