Executive Director, Centre for Law and Democracy
Toby Mendel is the Executive Director of the Centre for Law and Democracy, a Canadian-based international human rights NGO that focuses on providing legal expertise regarding foundational rights for democracy, including the right to information, freedom of expression, the right to participate and the rights to assembly and association. Prior to that he was for 12 years Senior Director for Law at ARTICLE 19, a human rights NGO focusing on freedom of expression and the right to information. He has provided peak level expertise on these rights to a wide range of actors including the World Bank, various UN and other intergovernmental bodies, and numerous governments and NGOs in countries all over the world. This includes law reform work in 2012 in Bhutan, Egypt, Morocco, Myanmar and Tunisia. Before joining ARTICLE 19, he worked as a senior human rights consultant with Oxfam Canada and as a human rights policy analyst at the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). He has published extensively on a range of freedom of expression, right to information, communication rights and refugee issues, including comparativelegal and analytical studies on public service broadcasting, the right to information and broadcast policy.
A recent global assessment of right to information (or access to information) laws placed Canada 55th out of the 93 countries with RTI laws. Despite this poor track record, Canadians have demonstrated little enthusiasm for the issue. If Canada were in 55th place on other human rights issues -- such as women's equality, freedom of expression, discrimination or privacy -- there is little doubt that Canadians would be outraged.
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