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Norton Rose partner named Canada’s first pay equity commissioner

Thursday, September 19, 2019 @ 12:44 PM | By John Chunn

The Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) announced that Karen Jensen, by order-in-council, has been named as Canada’s first pay equity commissioner.

According to the CHRC press release, Jensen is an experienced lawyer who has represented clients in human rights law, constitutional law and employment and labour law cases for over 25 years. She has provided legal advice and representation before all levels of Canada’s courts and tribunals. She has investigated and advised organizations on diverse issues such as allegations of sexual harassment, professional misconduct and compliance with constitutional, international and domestic human rights requirements.

Prior to her appointment as pay equity commissioner, Jensen was a partner at Norton Rose Fulbright LLP and was the national and local (Ottawa) chair of its labour and employment group.

Previously, she was assistant dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa and taught dispute resolution. From 2005–2009, she was a full-time member of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, where she adjudicated and mediated human rights disputes. Jensen was also a legal counsel at the commission, where she litigated human rights complaints before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and the Federal Court.

She holds a bachelor of arts from the University of Winnipeg, a masters in psychology from the University of Toronto and a bachelor of laws from Western University.

“Fundamental inequalities in pay still exist for far too many workers in Canada. The new pay equity commissioner will help ensure that everyone within federal jurisdiction receives equal pay for work of equal value. It will benefit not only individuals and families, but the Canadian economy and society as a whole,” said Marie-Claude Landry, chief commissioner of the CHRC.