Province appoints new interim chief of Alberta Human Rights Commission

Evaristus Oshionebo's term is slated to end in early 2023. (Adrienne Lamb/CBC - image credit)
Evaristus Oshionebo's term is slated to end in early 2023. (Adrienne Lamb/CBC - image credit)

Evaristus Oshionebo has been named as the new acting chief of the Alberta Human Rights Commission, after the provincial government rescinded the earlier appointment of Collin May.

Oshionebo will serve as the Chief of the Commission and Tribunals until March 26, 2023, or until the province appoints someone else, whichever is first.

Oshionebo is a tenured professor and associate dean in the Faculty of Law at the University of Calgary who specializes in business law, contract law and mining law, according to the commission's website.

Before Calgary, Oshionebo taught at Osgoode Hall Law School and the Faculty of Law at the University of Manitoba.

Oshionebo has a Bachelor of Laws from the Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria, and two Masters of Laws degrees: one from the University of Lagos and one from the University of Alberta.

He also has a Doctor of Philosophy from Osgoode Hall Law School at York University.

The ministry congratulated him in a statement emailed to CBC Wednesday afternoon.

"We know his skill, knowledge and experience, including his time on the commission, will serve him well in this acting role," justice ministry spokesperson Joseph Dow wrote in the statement.

"[Oshionebo], a tenured professor at the University of Calgary's Faculty of Law, has experience in both Canadian and African law. He will serve as acting chief until an appointment to the chief position on a permanent basis, which we are currently recruiting to."

CBC News has reached out to the commission for comment on Oshionebo's appointment.

The appointment comes after May's job as chief was rescinded after pressure from a Muslim advocacy group.

Earlier this month, Justice Minister Tyler Shandro urged May to resign, after the group said May had failed to keep a promise to meet with the group regarding comments in a book review May had written 13 years ago that they deemed Islamophobic.

May refused to resign. He hired lawyer Kathryn Marshall, who said in a earlier statement that her client has done nothing wrong.