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 meets at least eight times annually and oversees an annual general meeting of members of the society.
Board of directors for 2020-21
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 (MAALS) from Simon Fraser University. Hassan has been a board member of People’s Law School since 2013, and is currently board chair.
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 vice chair of the People's Law School board.
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 has an MBA from the Edinburgh School of Business and a Master of Arts in Applied Legal Studies from Simon Fraser University. 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 People’s Law School board in 2017.
Robert is a retired lawyer and accountant with over 25 years’ experience in capital market regulation, international development, and corporate compliance. From 1988-2005 he held various counsel, legal policy development and managerial positions with the BC Securities Commission. More recently (2011-2016) he was deputy director and secretary to the board of the Anguilla Financial Services Commission, Anguilla BWI. From this experience as board secretary, as well as his experience on volunteer boards, Robert brings to People's Law School his knowledge of corporate and NFP policy development and board governance.
Since 2004, Bernard has held senior management positions with the Government of British Columbia, most notably with the Ministries of Housing and Social Development, Children and Family Development, and Attorney General. At Court Services Branch, Bernard led initiatives to modernize the court system and improve access to justice for British Columbians. This experience has contributed to Bernard’s proficiency in establishing high-level strategies and leading large teams in successful implementations.
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 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. She previously practised at Fasken in Vancouver and with the New York City Law Department. Her community activities include volunteering with Access Pro Bono and West Coast LEAF, and serving as a pro bono arbitrator with the Association of Arbitrators. Cindy has been a board member of People’s Law School since 2016.
Mara Tessier is senior counsel with the Department of Justice Canada, British Columbia Regional Office. She is a graduate of the University of Victoria Law School. Her practice areas include civil litigation and Indigenous law. Mara has been a board member of People’s Law School since 2016.
Wendy is a senior consultant with Humanity Financial Management Inc., specializing in providing accounting and financial management advisory services to not-for-profit organizations and charities. She brings over 10 years of accounting and consulting experience in both NFP and public sectors, as well as her understanding of corporate governance, gained from positions she has occupied on volunteer boards of industry associations. Wendy was designated a chartered accountant (CA, CPA) in 2008, after completing her Bachelor of Economics degree at Fudan University, Shanghai, China and her Master of Professional Accounting degree at Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia. She also holds CPA designations in Illinois and Australia and is a certified fraud examiner (USA).