Margot Young

Professor Young began her teaching career at the Faculty of Law, University of Victoria in 1992 after doing graduate work at the University of California, Berkeley in the fields of feminist legal theory and reproductive technologies. Her focus quickly shifted to the areas of constitutional law, in particular, equality law and theory, and social welfare law. She has continued to teach and research widely in these areas. Professor Young has worked with a number of non-governmental groups on issues of women’s economic equality and justice. She has authored alternative NGO reports for Canada’s periodic reviews under the United Nations ICESCR, ICCPR and CEDAW Committees. Recently she is co-author of the collection Poverty: Human Rights, Social Citizenship and Legal Activism, published by UBC Press.

Penny Gurstein

Dr. Penny Gurstein is Professor and Director of the School of Community and Regional Planning and the Centre for Human Settlements at UBC. She specializes in the socio-cultural aspects of community planning with particular emphasis on those who are the most marginalized in planning processes. Her research focuses on developing strategies and interventions that encourage diversity, equity and urban sustainability in the planning and design of communities. She is currently the co-Principal Investigator of a major Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada Community-University Research Alliance (SSHRC CURA) project focusing on ‘Climate Justice’ (the link between climate change and inequality) http://www.policyalternatives.ca/projects/climate-justice-project. Past research projects focused on youth engagement and “the hard to house.” Her current research is investigating strategies for affordable homeownership and rental housing both internationally and in Canada. She is a member of the Canadian Institute of Planners.

Bruce Porter

Bruce Porter is the Director of the Social Rights Advocacy Centre in Canada and the Coordinator of the Charter Committee on Poverty Issues – a major litigation voice for poor people in Canada. He is Co-director of a major research project into “social rights practice” in Canada which partners four non-governmental organizations and four universities in order to provide effective research support for social rights advocacy. He has coordinated 12 interventions at the Supreme Court of Canada and has provided expert evidence on discrimination, stigmatization, poverty and homelessness in a number of constitutional cases in Canada and internationally. Internationally, Bruce has been active for many years in promoting improved monitoring and adjudication of ESCR – with a particular focus on ensuring meaningful participation by rights claimants. He is a member of the Steering Committee of the NGO Coalition for the OP-ICESCR, playing an active role in the advocacy for and the drafting of the protocol. He is now working actively with the Coalition in promoting the ratification of the OP as well as working with the Strategic Litigation Initiative at ESCR-Net to support strategic litigation in domestic and regional fora and under the OP-ICESCR.

Leilani Farha

Leilani Farha is the Executive Director of Canada Without Poverty and founded and is the Director of the Women’s Program at CERA – Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation, a non-governmental human rights organization. The Women’s Program is national in scope and is aimed at addressing women’s inequality in housing and income support programs. She also co-authored the report Women and Housing in Canada : Barriers to Equality. Prior to joining CERA, Leilani worked at an international human rights NGO, where she established and coordinated a women’s housing rights program. Leilani has worked extensively with international human rights instruments and within the international human rights system. She currently serves on the Steering Committee of the Feminist Alliance for International Action.

Matt Hern

Matt Hern lives in East Vancouver (Coast Salish Territories) with his partner, kids, cats and chickens. Matt helped found the Purple Thistle Centre and the Car-Free Vancouver Day. His books and articles have been published on all six continents, translated into ten languages and he continues to lecture globally. He holds a PhD in Urban Studies and teaches at SFU.

Spencer Lindsay

Spencer grew up in Victoria BC and spent his summer sailing in the Gulf Islands and visiting the family farm in Alberta. He identifies as Indigenous and is of mixed Scottish/German/English/Métis/Cree ancestry.

After completing a degree in First Nations Studies, he co-founded Decolonizing Knowledge, a student-led initiative that develops strategies to reconcile the prevalent cultural misrepresentation and appropriation that happens at UBC. His passion for activism, community development, and cross-cultural learning lead him to the UBC School of Community and Regional Planning where he’s a masters student specializing in Indigenous Community Planning.

Aerlyn Weissman

Aerlyn has worked as a writer/director, creating programs on topics from forensic archaeology and digital technologies, to censorship and internet culture. Aerlyn has received two Genie awards, earned a Masters Degree in Digital Media and won the Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award for Film and New Media. She spent part of the 2012 summer working as a video mentor with Israeli and Palestinian students and is currently putting together a mapping project on dog walking in the West End of Vancouver.