Leilani Outdoor Leilani Farha, Executive Director, is a leading expert and advocate on economic and social human rights, especially for women. She has a long history promoting the right to adequate housing, equality and non-discrimination in housing in Canada and internationally. Prior to joining Canada Without Poverty, Leilani was the Executive Director of the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation for 12 years. She has extensive experience addressing homelessness, poverty and inequality in Canada through advocacy, casework, litigation, research and community based work. She has been at the forefront of applying international human rights law to anti-poverty issues in Canada, and is known internationally for her work on housing rights and women’s economic and social rights. In 2014, she was appointed  by the United Nations Human Rights Council to the position of United Nations Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing.


Harriett McLachlan, Deputy Director. Harriett is the immediate past-President of the Board of Directors of Canada Without Poverty (CWP) (2011 – 2017). She holds a Masters in Social Work degree from Carleton University and has previously worked as Director in various community organizations as part of her over 25 year career.  Harriett has presented at numerous Treaty Body reviews of Canada to the Human Rights Committee at the United nations in Geneva.  Presentations to various parliamentary committees has permitted her to bring the first voice experience of poverty and the human rights perspective to the discussion table on policy recommendations. Her early life of childhood violence and sexual abuse, close to 35 years of poverty, 19 years as a single parent, has inspired her to effect positive change within the community sector and for those living in poverty across the country. Click here to read Harriett’s Spotlight on Poverty blog.


  Michèle Biss, Legal Education and Outreach Coordinator, began work at Canada Without Poverty in May of 2014. She holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts with a specialization in Religious studies, with a minor in English as well as a Law degree from the faculty of Law both at University of Ottawa. She has extensive professional experience working for marginalized groups through casework, research and community legal education. Her particular areas of interest include support for women, persons with disabilities, recent immigrants, and persons living in poverty. She is a human rights lawyer and was called to the Ontario bar in 2014.




Laura Neidhart, Development and Communications Coordinator, joined CWP in September 2016. She holds a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice from Washington State University and a Master’s in the Theory and Practice of Human Rights from the University of Essex. Prior to moving to Ottawa to join CWP, she worked on a number of economic and social justice projects, including the Domestic Violence Housing First Initiative with the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence and on prison reform campaigns with both the Howard League for Penal Reform and the African Prisons Project in the United Kingdom. She is particularly interested in the intersection of poverty and the criminal justice system, as well as women’s labour issues.