How we work

Formed in 2005, the CNCA brings together 40 environmental, human rights, religious, labour and solidarity groups from across Canada. We represent the concerns of millions of Canadians from coast to coast to coast. We are connected with communities, workers, Indigenous peoples, environmental and human rights defenders from around the world. We welcome new members.

The CNCA is coordinated by a full-time Coordinator and a seven-member Steering Committee. CNCA members meet bi-monthly via conference call and in person.

Emily Dwyer, Policy Director

Emily joined the CNCA as Coordinator in August of 2012. Prior to joining the CNCA, Emily worked as the Program Officer for Latin America for Lawyers Without Borders Canada; as the Coordinator of the Human Rights Accompaniment Program for the Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network (BTSN); and as a human rights accompanier/international observer in Guatemala with the Coordination of International Accompaniment in Guatemala. Emily has supported BTSN’s mining justice campaigns and Amnesty International’s Business and Human Rights Committee. She has also interned at the Canadian Department of Justice’s War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity Department, the Dalhousie Legal Aid Clinic and the Halifax Refugee Clinic, and focused on related issues in law school. Emily holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree from Dalhousie University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in International Development and History from Trent University.

Aidan Gilchrist-Blackwood, Network Coordinator

Aidan joined the CNCA as Network Coordinator in February 2022. Prior to joining the CNCA, he worked as a consultant with MiningWatch Canada and in community organizing and administrative positions in Montreal’s community sector. Aidan holds a Master of Arts Degree in Political Science and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and History, both from McGill University, where he was a member of the McGill Research Collective Investigating Canadian Mining in Latin America (MICLA).

Catherine Coumans, MiningWatch Canada

Catherine, Ph.D, is the Research Coordinator and Co-Manager at MiningWatch Canada. Departing from a rights-based perspective, Catherine works in solidarity with communities and Indigenous peoples affected by Canadian mining companies in the Asia Pacific region and in Tanzania. Her policy and advocacy work as well as her publications focus on, among others, human rights and community agency in corporate accountability, home country legislative reform to assure access to judicial and non-judicial remedy for people who have been harmed by Canadian mining companies overseas, full-cost accounting for mining, participatory health assessment, and participatory research with women in mining-affected communities.

Karen Hamilton, Above Ground

Prior to joining Above Ground, Karen headed the Guatemalan office of Project Accompaniment Quebec-Guatemala, a grassroots NGO that works to support and protect threatened human rights defenders. Karen has also worked as a researcher with the Centre d’études sur le droit international et la mondialisation and as a consultant for the Inter-Council Network, a Canadian coalition of provincial and regional councils for international cooperation. She completed a master of laws degree in 2014.

Fiona Koza, Amnesty International

For the past ten years, Fiona has campaigned for Amnesty International Canada on corporate accountability and business and human rights, with a focus on the extractive industries. Previously, Fiona worked for Greenpeace in India, Australia and the Philippines, as well as the International Institute for Sustainable Development and the Sierra Club. She has a Master’s degree in Environmental Policy and Management from the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics at Lund University, Sweden.

Emily Norgang, Canadian Labour Congress

Emily is a Senior Researcher in the Social and Economic Policy Department at the Canadian Labour Congress. She has been a researcher and activist for a number of socially progressive organizations ranging from labour and equity, to environmental justice, to food sovereignty, to peace and conflict transformation. Her most recent research focuses on public policy and governance, de-regulation, and corporate accountability domestically and internationally. Prior to the CLC, Emily worked at the Professional Institute for the Public Service of Canada, the Food Action and Research Centre and Public Outreach. Emily holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and Peace Studies from McMaster University and a Master of Arts in Political Economy from Carleton University.

Jean Symes, Inter Pares

Jean works with Inter Pares’ Africa program team and its Economic Justice thematic, with an emphasis on resource extraction and tax justice. Previously, Jean was part of Inter Pares’ Latin America team, focusing on refugees and people displaced by political violence. Jean was responsible for developing Inter Pares’ programs in Peru and Colombia, including its first programs on peace-building, and on sexual violence against women in the context of war. Jean is currently the Chair of the Canary Research Institute for Mining, Environment and Health and a member of the Board of Directors of MiningWatch Canada.

Doug Olthius, Steelworkers Humanity Fund

Doug has been a Staff Representative of the United Steelworkers (USW) since 1985 and was named the Executive Director of the Steelworkers Humanity Fund in 2004. Doug has worked as part of the Research Department of the USW Canadian National Office and has been involved in much of the major bargaining of the union in the steel and mining industries. From 1998 to 2004, Doug acted as USW Area Coordinator for North-Eastern Ontario in Sault Ste. Marie. Doug serves on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Council for International Cooperation.