Gary Anandasangaree came to Canada as a refugee in 1983. His memories, personal history as well as that of his community inform and animate his engagement with human rights work locally, provincially, nationally and internationally. Gary is both human rights activist and lawyer: for more than twenty years he has worked to safeguard justice for refugee and recent immigrant communities through public advocacy, education, mediation, direct intervention and legal frameworks. Gary’s legal advocacy work on major national and international issues, along with his local experience representing a racially marginalized and recently immigrated community, both internally and externally, have provided him an understanding of the challenges and barriers faced by community members in the exercise of their rights. Gary holds government, public institutions and private enterprises accountable for the application and adherence to their obligations, as set forth in local, provincial, national and international legal frameworks.
As a passionate advocate for the right to education, he regularly intervenes in cases of student expulsions and suspensions under the Ontario Safe Schools Act. His advocacy focuses on those laws which severely restrict the educational opportunities of students with disciplinary or gang related issues, which disproportionately affect minority and marginalized populations. He staunchly maintains that education is the key for successful integration of marginalized and youth involved in street gangs, and therefore makes it his mission to ensure that these opportunities remain open to them.