Our Staff

The words above describe the people below. 

Each and every one of our staff represent the spirit of our organization: welcoming, cooperative and supportive.

This spirit guides how we work with each other and how we work with children, youth and their families. We are all driven by the confidence we have in young Nunavummiut and the hope we have for their future.

We also like to think outside the box and get a little creative! So instead of writing our own bios, we wrote each other’s. It is with great pride and pleasure that we introduce our amazing and diverse team!


Jane Bates
Representative for Children and Youth

Jane’s story starts in Mississauga, Ontario in a quiet neighbourhood with her adoptive family. She has always been passionate about helping young people, which lead her to earn her Bachelor of Social Work from Ryerson University. Early in her career, she responded to the call of the north and moved to Whitehorse.

While working in Yukon, Jane touched the lives of many young people and their families through her contributions to child protection, family services, critical incident investigation, youth justice, crisis intervention, and restorative community conferencing. Throughout her career, she has been guided by the principle of the best interests of the child.

A Winnie the Pooh and Star Wars fan of the highest order, she appreciates the diversity that life has to offer. Her husband Russ, and her dog Gizmo are extremely supportive of her move to Nunavut. Jane is honoured to serve young Nunavummiut and to ensure their rights are supported.




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Jessica Shabtai
Director of Child and Youth Advocacy Services

Jessica grew up in Thornhill, Ontario with three brothers. Her drive to help people, particularly younger people, led her to complete a Bachelors in Psychology at the University of Waterloo in 2006 and a Masters in Social Work at the University of Toronto in 2008. In pursuit of becoming a better advocate, she completed a Juris Doctorate from the University of Saskatchewan through the Nunavut Law Program in 2021.

Before joining our office, Jessica worked with the Government of Nunavut in a number of roles, primarily with the Department of Family Services. She lived in Gjoa Haven from 2011-2013 before moving to Iqaluit in 2014.

When she is not at work, Jessica can often be found crafting or cuddling her troublemaking cats, Saxi and Frage. She is also a fan of Marvel comics, enjoys playing board games and video games, and reading up on her latest interests.


Olivia Barker
Acting Manager of Individual Advocacy Services

Olivia joined the Representative for Children and Youth’s Office as a Child and Youth Advocacy Specialist with eight years of experience in the field of social services. Her approach is compassionate, collaborative, and trauma-informed.

Olivia graduated from Social Services at Dawson College in 2013. She went on to graduate with honors from McGill University’s Bachelor of Social Work program in 2017. Olivia is excited to have just completed her Master of Social Work degree from Laurier University and plans to continue her studies this fall by pursing certifications in various therapeutic modalities.

Following her graduation from McGill, Olivia worked as a Mental Health Case Manager for a community organization in Montreal and as a Homecare Social Worker within the public sector.

She moved to Iqaluit in 2019 to begin employment with the Department of Family Services where she worked as a Community Social Service Worker and later as the Acting Family Violence Project Officer. This experience led her to apply for a position with the RCYO. She hopes to leverage her skills and experience in the pursuit of justice for children and youth across Nunavut. She is eager to continue to learn and grow in her role. RCYO is as thrilled to have her as part of the team!

Olivia enjoys exploring new places, reading, playing the ukulele, and working on creative projects. 


Nubiya Enuaraq
Child and Youth Advocacy Specialist

Nubiya Enuaraq became our newest Child and Youth Advocacy Specialist in May 2020.

Nubiya attended Dalhousie University of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and in June 2017, she graduated as a valedictorian from Nunavut Arctic College receiving a Bachelors of Science in Arctic Nursing. She went on to complete the Nursing Mentorship program where she was placed in various acute- and long-term health care settings at Qikiqtani General Hospital (QGH). Prior to joining our team she was a nurse in the Emergency Department at QGH. Nubiya gained some valuable knowledge, skills, and abilities during her two years as a registered nurse at QGH and she feels that they will positively contribute to the vision of our office.

Her passion lies in serving the public and ensuring that services, policies, and procedures that are in place in Nunavut adequately meet the needs of its population. Through her work, she hopes to strengthen and/or contribute to the development of healthy public policies.



Mariama Fofana
Child and Youth Advocacy Specialist

Mariama was born and raised in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Growing up, she always wanted to help people and at a very early age, she was advocating for the rights of women and children in her community. She relocated to Canada at the age of nine.

She attended George Brown College taking the Assaulted Women’s and Children’s Counselling Advocate program and later attended the University of Windsor to study Family and Social Relations.

After graduating, she worked with a few wonderful organizations such as the Jays Care Foundation, Black Women in Motion, and Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities. While working for Jays Care Foundation, she was awarded the Hall of Fame award at the Curve Ball Gala. She also has experience as a college professor at a private college in Ontario, and has volunteered with Victim Services Toronto and travelled to Dominican Republic for humanitarian work.

In Nunavut, she has worked at the Illagiittugut Girls Group Home and we are so fortunate to have her join our office. She hopes to explore more of Nunavut to learn about the culture and land and wishes to obtain a Masters degree in Social Work.

Mariama as many interests outside of work including hiking, walking, dancing, going on new adventures, making traditional beads, camping, and cooking with new recipes. She also loves spending time with her family and friends.

Dustin Patar
Manager of Communications and Public Awareness

Born in San Francisco, California, and raised across the United States and Canada, Dustin often found himself surrounded by new environments and people. Although challenging, Dustin believes that these rich encounters fostered his strong sense of curiosity and passion for storytelling; lifelong guides that have taken him down a winding path of unique experiences.

Academically, Dustin's journey has been just as diverse as his life experiences. He spent two years at film school, honing his visual storytelling skills. Years later, he then pursued a bachelor's degree in communication from Simon Fraser University, followed by a master’s degree from the University of British Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. 

After completing his education, Dustin headed north, arriving in Iqaluit in September 2019 to work as a reporter for Nunatsiaq News. Since then, he has worked at Inhabit Education, CBC North, and also as a freelance journalist. He has contributed to well-known publications such as The Canadian Press, The Globe and Mail, and Canadian Geographic.

When Dustin isn’t holding a camera or in front of a computer, he can be found behind a sewing machine, fixing some sort of vehicle, or out on the land.


Ross Ferguson
Senior Systemic Investigator/Researcher

Ross was born and raised on a horse ranch in western New Brunswick. Despite growing up in what Ross considers to be one of the least diverse places on earth, he has always been interested in other cultures. In 1988, this curiosity led him to pursue secondary education in anthropology and native studies. Disgusted and disillusioned by what he learned about colonization, Ross left university. It was then that he began what he refers to as his “20-year camping trip” in western Canada. During this decades-long odyssey, Ross worked in the Rockies as a fishing guide, in Yukon as a wilderness guide, and on the coast of British Columbia doing forest engineering work.

When Ross eventually returned to New Brunswick, he was determined to tackle some of the problem he learned about during his first stint in university. This resolve led him to complete degrees in psychology, and social work with a focus on First Nations child protection. Although his work as a child protection social worker started in New Brunswick, Ross was again drawn back to British Columbia and Yukon. 

Ross' interest in the north has been a constant thread throughout his life. As an avid outdoorsman, he has dreamed of exploring Baffin Island for as long as he can remember. For Ross, being in Iqaluit, where he can assist young people and have the opportunity to catch char, is a dream fulfilled.




Kim Foster
Manager of Communications and Public Awareness

Having lived on both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, Kim moved to the Arctic Ocean of Iqaluit in 2017.

Supporting children, youth, and families, has always been a large part of Kim’s life, having previously worked for Ronald McDonald House Charities® Southern and Central Alberta.

In 2024, Kim completed the Master Certificate in Project Management Program offered in partnership between the Government of Nunavut and York University’s Schulich School of Business. She also received her degree in communications from the University of Calgary and her diploma in journalism from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.

One of her greatest passions is travelling, as she loves to learn about and experience other cultures and foods. Kim also enjoys mini adventures with her dog, Hudson; baking; and recently started teaching herself watercolour.





Our Summer Students

Shawna Kyak
Intake Specialist Summer Student
(Summer 2023)

Shawna Kyak was born in Iqaluit. She has one older brother and a dog she loves taking for walks. Shawna has lived in Iqaluit her whole life, until 2022 when she moved to Ottawa for college.

Shawna is currently enrolled in the Recreation and Leisure Services, two-year program at the Algonquin College. She will be going into her second year in September. After graduation, Shawna plans on going further in her education by studying Kinesiology. She is exciting for what the future holds!

Shawna enjoys beading earrings, sewing, and travelling across Canada. She in currently the Assistant Coach for Team Nunavut Women’s Volleyball and hopes to continue this in the future.

Shawna loves working with children and used to work at Aqsarniit Ilinniarvik School. She is excited to be working with RCYO for the summer and knows she will be able to help more youth with the child rights information she is learning. The RCYO is very happy to have Shawna with them for the summer!





Sylvia Kablutsiak
Advocacy Summer Student
(Summer 2021)

Sylvia is originally from Arviat and is currently living in Iqaluit. She was raised by her parents in Arviat along with her three sisters and one brother until she left for college when she was 18.

She studied at Nunavut Sivuniksavut for a year and then went over to Carleton University for another year. In the fall of 2021, she will be transferring to Laurentian University to work on her undergraduate studies. She is very excited for what her future has in place for her and her loved ones. 

Sylvia enjoys hiking, beading, running, travelling, and likes to challenge herself to try new things every now and then. She also likes to watch Grey’s Anatomy in her free time.


Sylvia has a passion in advocating for vulnerable children and youth in Nunavut which is why she is excited to be working with the Representative for Children & Youth’s Office for the summer! We are excited to have her join our team!

Rhea Monteiro
Communications Coordinator
(Summer 2018)

Rhea moved to Iqaluit from Mumbai, India, in May of 2017. Moving to the Arctic was a huge change for her having lived her whole life in a warm tropical city with many people. Her love of singing lead her to join the Inuksuk Drum Dancers which she says has been, “really great for me because it has helped me learn some Inuktitut and a bit about Inuit culture.”

Rhea’s summer employment at RCYO was her first job ever!

As the communications coordinator she was responsible for daily media monitoring and coordinating public outreach opportunities in Iqaluit at local grocery stores and summer camps.

Rhea also learned about the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and helped choose the right that would be the focus of the 2018 Your Story, Your Voice contest. Rhea was also heavily involved in visually highlighting youth voice in the office's review of mental health services.

Rhea says “working at the RCYO has not only given me a better understanding of how important children’s rights are, it has also helped me to be more responsible and get out of my comfort zone, mainly by sharing my thoughts and information with the team. I am so glad that I had the chance to work with such incredible people who believe that children and youth voices matter.”

It was our pleasure having Rhea join the office, if only for the summer!

Caroline Angalik
Assistant Systemic Researcher
(Summer 2017)

Caroline Angalik loves helping others and giving back. She is passionate about working with children and is fulfilling her goal of becoming a teacher by working toward her Bachelor of Education through the Nunavut Teacher Education Program. Caroline will enter the second year of her program in September 2017.

With time spent in Arviat, Baker Lake, and most recently Iqaluit, Caroline has lived in the territory all of her life. Caroline loves living in Nunavut – especially the beauty of the land, the abundance of wildlife, the culture, and the people. She also enjoys sewing, baking, and spending time with her family, especially her children.

Caroline’s ability to do research and share valuable input with her co-workers are just a few reasons why Caroline is a welcome addition to the RCYO as the 2017 summer student.

Clara Akulukjuk
Communications Officer
(Summer 2016)

Clara Akulukjuk is originally from Panniqtuuq, Nunavut where she was raised by her mother and her family. After completing high school, Clara lived in several places in Ontario to study post-secondary education. She attended and received diplomas from Nunavut Sivuniksavut at Algonquin College and the Early Childhood Education program at Georgian College. Clara is currently earning her Bachelor of Education through the Nunavut Teacher Education Program in Iqaluit. She will enter her third year of the four year program in September 2016.

She enjoys spending time with her family in Iqaluit and Panniqtuuq, camping with her grandparents in the summetime, traveling and photography. Clara strongly cherishes her Inuit culture and hopes to get to know more Indigenous cultures across the Arctic nations.

Clara says being a part of the Representative for Children & Youth’s office as a summer student has helped her understand how important children’s rights are and how we all can benefit from promoting and respecting them.

Clara has brought her strong organizational and planning skills to the RCYO. We are thrilled to have her with us!


Megan Blair
Youth Engagement Researcher
(Summer 2015)

Originally from Nova Scotia, Megan moved with her family to Iqaluit in 2004. As a long-time resident, she has enjoyed every aspect of growing up in Nunavut. She completed her schooling in Iqaluit and will soon earn her Bachelor of Arts in Human Rights from Carleton University. After completing her degree, Megan hopes to stay in Nunavut and continue human rights work at home.

Megan is an avid traveler and has enjoyed the many travel opportunities that have come her way. She hopes to one day travel the world and experience its unique cultures and histories.

Working as the summer student for the RCY has been an educational and eye-opening experience for Megan and has sparked a new passion for the rights and interests of children and youth. She is excited to see and contribute to the development of an advocacy office for children and youth in Nunavut.