Friday, December 14, 2018
Portrait of Renu Mandhane

Alumna Renu Mandhane, JD 2001, chief commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC), and former executive director of the Faculty of Law’s International Human Rights Program, is the 2018 recipient of the Ed McIsaac Human Rights in Corrections Award.

The award recognizes Mandhane’s advocacy work to improve correctional practices, and was established in honour of Ed McIsaac, who served as executive director of the Office of the Correctional Investigator for 18 years.

"In a distinguished career, Ms. Mandhane has brought public attention to correctional practices that are discriminatory or violate the human rights of prisoners, including federally sentenced women, Indigenous people, persons with mental health disabilities and immigration detainees," said Dr. Ivan Zinger, correctional investigator of Canada.

"As chief commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, Renu has become a leading voice on national and provincial efforts to end the use of solitary confinement. I am extremely pleased to recognize and celebrate Renu's contributions to improving corrections and protecting the human rights of incarcerated people."

In fall of 2015, Mandhane was appointed chief commissioner of the OHRC. She has an LLM in international human rights law from New York University. She began her career in a practice focused on criminal law, where she represented many prisoners and survivors of sexual violence. She sits on the Canada Committee of Human Rights Watch, and has appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada and the United Nations. Most recently, Mandhane was recognized by Canadian Lawyer magazine as one of Canada's most influential lawyers for her advocacy related to solitary confinement.

Presented annually since 2009, there have been nine other recipients of the award.