Governing Council

The Northern Institute of Social Justice is overseen by the NISJ Governing Council, which provides overall leadership and sets the vision, mission, guiding principles, priorities and strategic direction. Current Council members are:

Dr. Karen Barnes
President, Yukon College

Barnes was appointed President in July 2011. She joined Yukon College in 2008 to become the first Vice-President Academic in 15 years. Prior to this, Karen spent six years with Lethbridge College as Dean of Applied Arts and Science where she managed six Schools, and 17 years with NorQuest College as instructor, project manager and program chair. Barnes holds a Doctor of Education, University of Alberta 2003.

Ruth Massie
Grand Chief, Council of Yukon First Nations

Ruth Massie became Interim Grand Chief of the Council of Yukon First Nations (CYFN) in March 2010, and was officially elected in July 2010. In July 2013, she was re-elected Grand Chief CFYN for a second consecutive term.

Ruth (Mongllut) is a Wolf Clan member of the Jenny LeBarge family from Winter Crossing, Yukon. A citizen of Ta’an Kwäch’än Council, Grand Chief Massie was born and raised in Whitehorse, pursuing post-secondary studies in business and commerce.

She is a founding member of the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council which, in 1987, re-established itself as a distinct First Nation by negotiating their separation from the Kwanlin Dün First Nation. From 1989 to 1992, as a Director on the Board of the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council, she participated in the start of negotiations of Ta’an Kwäch’än Council’s land claim and self-government agreements.

An experienced businesswoman, Massie went on to serve as General Manager of the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council’s Mundessa Development Corporation, a position she held until 2004 when she was elected Chief of the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council. She served two terms as Chief of Ta’an Kwäch’än Council, during which time she was also appointed Chief of the Southern Tutchone Tribal Council.

Paddy Meade
Deputy Minister, Health and Social Services, Government of Yukon

Deputy Minister of Yukon Health and Social Services since February 2013, Paddy Meade is committed to leading the department in health and social services transformation to increase access, quality and sustainability.

A seasoned administrator, Meade has more than 25 years of experience with western and northern governments. Prior to her arrival in Yukon, Meade was the Chief Executive Officer for the Institute for Health System Transformation and Sustainability, a not-for-profit, independent research organization supporting sustainability of health care organizations in British Columbia and Canada.

She has also served as the Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services in the Northwest Territories. Meade served the Alberta government in leadership and Deputy roles within Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission, Alberta Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, Alberta Health and Wellness and the Alberta Health Services Board. She also has experience with the Justice system.

Catharine Read
Public Service Commissioner

Read was appointed Yukon Public Service Commissioner in September 2010. Her prior experience includes 12 years with the British Columbia (BC) government in Assistant Deputy Minister and Deputy Minister positions, including: Deputy Minister for Management Services; Small Business Tourism and Culture; and Agriculture Fish and Food. She resigned from the BC government to work as Chief Economist for the Cayman Islands government. Upon her return to BC, she undertook consulting work for governments, industry and First Nations.

Read holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Alberta, and a Master of Arts in Economics from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

Thomas E. Ullyett
Deputy Minister and Deputy Attorney General, Department of Justice, Government of Yukon

Ullyett started his career with the Department of Justice in 1985 as an articling student. Tom went on to work in the Legal Services Branch as a litigator for 12 years, as the acting Director of Court Services for 3 years, and then as an assistant deputy minister until his appointment as deputy minister of Justice on November 28, 2013.

Ullyett holds a law degree (LL.B) from the University of Ottawa (1985), a BA (Hons) in political science from Carleton University (1982), and a management certificate from Yukon College (1992).

Note: There are three vacant positions on the NISJ Governing Council, one is to be filled by the Deputy Minister of Education, and two are to be filled by First Nation leaders. These positions were held by former Deputy Minister of Education, Valerie Royle, former Chief Mark Wedge, Carcross Tagish First Nation, and former Chief Eric Morris, Teslin Tlingit Council.

Founding Council Members

The NISJ opened in 2010. The founding members of the NISJ Governing Council were:

  • Dr. Terry Weninger (then-President, Yukon College)
  • Patricia Daws (then-Public Service Commissioner)
  • Pamela Hine (then-Deputy Minister of Education)
  • Dr. Dennis Cooley (then-Deputy Minister of Justice)
  • Stuart Whitley (then-Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services)
  • Eric Morris (then-Chief of Teslin Tlingit Council)
  • Mark Wedge (then-Chief of Carcross/Tagish First Nation)