Ena Chadha, an instructor at York University’s Schulich School of Business, was recently appointed as the interim Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) in recognition of her academic and professional accomplishments advocating for social justice. Previously, Chadha served as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Human Rights Legal Support Centre (2018-20) and as a co-reviewer of the systemic discrimination review of the Peel District School Board.
The OHRC is one of the three pillars of Ontario’s human rights system. It is a world leader in human rights policy, education and advocacy. As corporations and businesses around the world are coming to recognize the importance of human rights in the form of equity, diversity and inclusion, the work of the OHRC is being relied upon by corporations and businesses more than ever.
When asked to reflect on current but overlooked human rights issues, Chadha took note of one particular issue close to home as an instructor. “In all my years of teaching, neither I nor my spouse, who has been teaching in universities for about two decades, have ever taught an Indigenous student. Where are Indigenous students learning about business, governance and leadership?”
As a sessional instructor of Negotiations and Power & Politics in Schulich’s MBA program and Executive Education Centre, Chadha also noticed that many students did not have previous academic exposure to issues of gender, race and sexual orientation in their studies. She believes Schulich’s diverse range of students are interested in learning about their rights and responsibilities in the workplace, so she always tries to incorporate a human rights lens into her teaching content. In doing so, many students have expressed gratitude at being provided with the opportunity to learn about social justice and business.
“Teaching at Schulich has greatly enhanced my professional interactions in this capacity,” said Chadha. “Now that I better understand the theory behind organizational structures and relationships, I am a more skilled leader and mediator.”