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Our Board

People’s Law School is governed by a dedicated team of experienced professionals. Our Board of Directors keep us focused on the organization's vision and strategy, and provide oversight on our finances and governance.

The People's Law School Board of Directors meets at least eight times annually and oversees an Annual General Meeting of members of the Society. 

Board of Directors for 2019-20

Hassan El Masri, Board Chair

Hassan El Masri is a notary public practicing in Vancouver with W. Masri Notary Corporation, with a focus on real estate transactions, mortgages, and estate planning. He holds a Masters of Arts in Applied Legal Studies (M.A.A.L.S) from Simon Fraser University. Hassan has been a Board member of People’s Law School since 2013, and is currently Chair of the Board.

Mara Tessier, Board Vice Chair

Mara Tessier is counsel with the Department of Justice Canada, British Columbia Regional Office. Her practice areas include civil litigation and Indigenous law. She is a graduate of the University of Victoria Law School and was called to the Bar in 2006. Mara has been a Board member of People’s Law School since 2016 and became Vice Chair in 2017.  

Guy Belanger, Board Treasurer

Guy Belanger is an accountant, recently retired from a career as an auditor with Canada Revenue Agency/Agence du Revenu du Canada. He previously worked for the Consumer Taxation Branch of the province of British Columbia and for a publicly listed company specializing in the manufacture and design of consumer electronics. Guy is currently Board Treasurer.

Dean Tate, Board Secretary

Dean Tate is a lawyer with Somers Poulin Hall, where he practices family law. He is a graduate of University of Alberta Law School and was called to the Bar in 1994. He has been a contributor to Continuing Legal Education Society of BC publications and programs, a Director of the Richmond Jewish Day School, and a volunteer with the Volunteer Housing Registry. Dean is currently Board Secretary.

Grant Christoff, Board Member

Grant Christoff is a lawyer working with the First Nations Health Authority and with his community, Saulteau First Nations. From 2009 to 2015, he was the Director of the Aboriginal Law Section at the Department of Justice, where he was accountable for all litigation and advisory services within the BC region. He previously worked as senior counsel at the Department of Justice, as associate counsel of the Indian Claims Commission, and as a sole practitioner in Vancouver. He is a graduate of University of Victoria Law School, an adjunct professor at UVic Law School, and presenter at events hosted by Indspire (formerly the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation) and the Canadian Bar Association. Grant has been a Board member of People’s Law School since 2015.   

Cindy Switzer, Board Member

Cindy Switzer is a lawyer at Maynard Kischer Stojicevic. Cindy is an internationally experienced lawyer whose practice is focused on business and corporate immigration, citizenship law and related matters. Prior to joining her current firm, she practised at Fasken Martineau in Vancouver and with the New York City Law Department. Her community activities include volunteering with the Mental Health Program of Access Pro Bono, participating on the Law Reform Committee of West Coast LEAF, and serving as a pro bono arbitrator with the Association of Arbitrators, Inc. Cindy has been a Board member of People’s Law School since 2016.   

Vicki Van As, Board Member

Vicki Van As is a notary public in Delta at Sterling Notary Public. Originally from South Africa, Vicki and her husband moved to Canada in 1999 and now call Ladner their home. Vicki graduated with a Master of Business Administration degree from the Edinburgh School of Business in 2008 and a Master of Arts, Applied Legal Studies degree from Simon Fraser University in 2016. She was presented with the Leadership Award from the Society of Notaries Public at her graduating ceremony. Vicki's diverse business background spans multiple industries and functions, including advertising, marketing, sales, consulting and project management. Vicki joined the Board of People’s Law School in 2017.