Natalie Drolet – Executive Director/Staff Lawyer
Natalie joined MWC as Executive Director – Staff Lawyer in November 2014. Her legal practice focuses on the areas of immigration law and employment law, and she has represented migrant workers before all levels of court in BC. Natalie has been active in the fields of migration and human rights since 2003 when she worked as a researcher in Thailand for Rights & Democracy. Before joining MWC, she served as the Staff Lawyer for a multilingual access to justice initiative with with a community legal clinic in Ottawa. Prior to this, she worked in Phnom Penh, Cambodia as a Legal Advisor and managed initiatives to advance the rights of domestic workers with the Legal Support for Children and Women.
Natalie received her Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Civil Law from McGill University in 2009 and her Masters in Immigration and Settlement Studies from Ryerson University in 2005. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, vegetarian cooking and taking her dog Georgie to the beach.
Bríd McKeown – Managing Director
Bríd joined MWC in January 2022, after having worked as a Project Manager with the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland for 4 years. Bríd’s background is in conflict, migration and gender, working mainly in the UK and Ireland.
Bríd has experience in organising with migrant workers in the agri-food & domestic care sectors, working collectively to platform worker voices in community, policy & governance spaces, and enabling workers to speak out about exploitative conditions and access their rights. She has also worked to challenge conditions in immigration detention and volunteered with befriending services for peopled detained.
She is passionate about creative non-profit organisational structures and governance, with a focus on team collaboration, metrics analysis, and evidence-based decision making, and is experienced in supporting non-profits to deliver work with the biggest impact possible.
Bríd has an MA in Conflict, Governance and International Development. She also has experience in web development and CRM administration, and speaks Spanish, French and a small amount of Arabic.
Amanda Aziz – Staff Lawyer
Amanda is a part-time Staff Lawyer with the Migrant Workers Centre and also works as an immigration and refugee lawyer. She is a long-time advocate for migrant justice, is the proud daughter of immigrants and has supported many families in navigating their immigration status in Canada. She has appeared regularly before all levels of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada as well as the Federal Court of Canada and has testified before federal standing committees of the House of Commons and Senate.
Amanda has worked with organizations supporting women and workers’ rights, including the West Coast Legal Education and Action Fund, the BC Government and Service Employees Union and the Canadian Labour Congress, and is a member of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers National Executive and the Canadian Bar Association Provincial Executive. She is also a regular volunteer with Rise Women’s Legal Clinic and is actively involved with Vancouver’s sanctuary city movement, advocating for access to services for all regardless of immigration status. Prior to her life as a lawyer, Amanda represented students at the national level, advocating for accessible post-secondary education. She received her law degree from the University of Victoria in 2014.
Jonathon Braun – Staff Lawyer
Jonathon returns to MWC as a staff lawyer after previously working here as a legal advocate. In between these roles, Jonathon continued to advocate for the rights of workers as an articling student and lawyer at a boutique union-side labour and employment firm. During his time in private practice, Jonathon stayed involved at MWC as the Secretary of our Board of Directors.
In his legal practice, Jonathon has represented clients before a number of administrative bodies, including the Employment Standards Branch, Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal, Residential Tenancy Branch, Human Rights Tribunal, and Labour Relations Board. He has also assisted clients with a variety of immigration issues and has advocated for improvements to Canada’s immigration laws.
Jonathon received his law degree from the University of British Columbia in 2015. In his free time, he loves being outdoors and is an avid hiker and downhill skier. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Jonathon has been devouring books and has stayed social and connected by organizing online games and competitions.
Ravneet Kaur Riar – Staff Lawyer
Ravneet is a Staff Lawyer with the Migrant Workers Centre. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Master of Laws in June 2020. As a graduate student, she volunteered with MWC and the Law Students’ Legal Advice Program where she assisted clients with employment and immigration law matters. She is committed to using the law to amplify the voices and stories of marginalized people.
Ravneet has a Bachelor in Arts and Law (Honours) from the National Law School of India University, Bangalore. During her law degree, she was an active participant of the mooting society and law school journals. She spent a semester abroad at Ghent University, Belgium where she studied human trafficking among other courses. Post her law degree, she practiced as a lawyer in India briefly. She was called to the Bar in India before moving to Vancouver.
Outside of work, Ravneet can be found checking out local arts events, watching international films or reading. She loves live music, travelling and is keenly interested in different cultures.
Katie Lay – Articling Student
Katie is an Articling Student with the Migrant Workers Centre. Katie has an undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of British Columbia, and received her law degree from the University of Victoria in May of 2021. During her legal studies, Katie volunteered with MWC and Pro Bono Students Canada, helped to establish the University of Victoria’s chapter of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, and spent a clinical term at the University of Victoria Law Centre poverty law clinic. She is currently a member of the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (British Columbia) Society (FACL BC) Advocacy Committee. In her free time, Katie enjoys baking, playing with her friends’ pets, and spending time near the ocean.
Jeanne Robert – Legal Advocate (on maternity leave)
Jeanne Robert grew up in France and in Peru. She arrived in Canada in 2012. She graduated from the Quebec Bar School in 2016 and she has a Master’s Degree in International Law focused on Human Rights from the University of Montreal. Before moving to British Columbia, she practiced family law and immigration law in a law firm in Montreal. In 2018, her strong interest for social justice led her to join the Vancouver Island Human Rights Coalition in Victoria as a human rights advocate. In this position, she provided advocacy in human rights cases, primarily in regard to complaints made to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal. She joined MWC as a legal advocate in 2019. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and volunteering in various cultural areas.
Lauryn Boag – Legal Support Coordinator
Lauryn joined MWC in May 2022 as Legal Support Coordinator. She is currently a second year law student at the Peter A. Allard School of Law in Vancouver. During law school, Lauryn has volunteered with Pro Bono Students Canada and was also a clinician at the school’s International Justice and Human Rights Clinic working on issues pertaining to forced labour. Prior to law school, Lauryn worked as an advocate for people facing housing instability and as a legal assistant at a U.S. immigration law firm. When not at work, she enjoys reading, running, playing board games, and traveling.
Perla Villegas – Community Legal Worker
Perla is originally from Mexico, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Law, and a Diploma in Human Rights from the Institute of the Federal Judiciary. She also holds a Diploma in International Development from the Okanagan College in Kelowna, BC. For more than 15 years, she worked for a Human Rights Tribunal in Mexico, where she acted as a Project Secretary for complaints involving discrimination, indigenous’ rights, family violence, unlawful imprisonment, labour exploitation and trafficking, among others.
In addition, she has worked as a Research Assistant for the Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, of the Western University in Ontario, the University of British Columbia and Okanagan College for the project Testing a Support Model to Address Gaps in Services that Contribute to Migrant Agricultural Workers’ Vulnerability in the Okanagan Valley. She also volunteers with RAMA Okanagan. In her role as Community Legal Worker with MWC, Perla conducts outreach to migrant agricultural workers and providing referrals, document translation and legal navigation.
Nira Elgueta – National Coordinator and Advocacy Lead
Nira joined MWC in March 2022 after having worked as a Project Coordinator for a Gender Based Violence Building Leadership Capacity Project at the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI). She has extensive experience in project coordination, governance, the intersection of precarious status, work and gender-based violence.
Nira is an advocate for inclusiveness and accessibility for newcomers and the effective eradication of isolation, poverty and exclusion. She is also an alumnus of the Emerging Leaders Network and Civic Action. In the past she created accessible spaces to facilitate community engagement for newcomer women at the Working Women Community Centre and took care of governance, leadership and board-related matters for The Redwood Shelter.
Sabrina Rivera – Regional Coordinator: Pan-Canadian Taskforce on Women in Migration
Sabrina is a settler from Ilocos Norte, Philippines. She has been living in Vancouver since she was eight years old and she is currently studying psychology. She is pursuing graduate studies in this field with specific interests in Developmental and Clinical Psychology.
Prior to attending post-secondary, she worked as a legal administrative assistant at the Child and Youth Legal Centre and has extensive experience in management roles within hospitality and customer service. Through working in these different sectors, Sabrina has worked with (and learned from) diverse populations in diverse settings, resulting in a deep connection to supporting women and children through the development of meaningful and collaborative relationships. This deep connection and relationships are what drive her work. In addition to her educational pursuits and work as Regional Coordinator for BC, Sabrina is also an art program facilitator with DAREarts and an Advocacy Committee member at MWC.
In her spare time, Sabrina loves to spend time with her family and can be found trying out a new restaurant with her partner. Additionally, in order to quit her relationship with fast-fashion and its detrimental impact on the environment, she has been learning to sew and attempting to construct a fully me-made wardrobe!
Jaskiran Gakhal – Public Interest Work Placement Program Law Student
Jaskiran is a law student with the Migrant Workers Centre and a J.D. candidate at the Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at UBC, during which time she volunteered at RISE Women’s Legal Centre and the Pacific Immigrant Resources Society, supporting refugee women in English language acquisition. As a law student, Jaskiran has volunteered with Pro Bono Students Canada and the Law Students’ Legal Advice Program, assisting clients on civil, employment, and criminal law matters. In her free time, she enjoys reading, hiking, watching musicals, and spending time with family and friends.