Founded in 1983 - United for Diversity and Racial Equality

Executive Director - Fo Niemi


Mr. Fo Niemi is the co-founder and since 1983, executive director of the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR), a small non-profit civil rights organization based in Montreal. Fluently bilingual and multicultural, and a graduate in social work from McGill University, Mr. Niemi also studied political sciences at Concordia University, with specialization in judicial activism and the civil rights movement in the US and Canada.

At the same time, Mr. Niemi has held numerous part-time positions in the last two decades, including the Chair of the Montreal Urban Community Transit Corporation's Complaints Examination Committee (1987-1990) and the Quebec Human Rights Commission (1991-2003). During his term at the human rights commission, he chaired the Commission’s public hearings in 1993 on discrimination and violence against gays and lesbians.

Other professional and volunteer activities including advisory roles within public and non-profit agencies such as the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Quebec Treasury Board. He has also served as Chairman of the Board of AIDS Community Care Montreal (1996-1997) and the Court Challenges Program of Canada (1997); as member of the board of directors of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation (1996-1998) and the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (2001-2005) and as member of the Canadian Bar Association’s Committee on Racial Equality in the Legal Profession (2003-2004); the Advisory Committee to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada (2005), the City of Montreal Task Force on Democracy (2003-2006) and the Quebec Government’s Task Force on Racial Profiling (2003-2006). He is currently serving on a committee of the Quebec Community Groups Network on the English-speaking community of Montreal.

Mr. Niemi has been recognized by the Indigenous Bar Association), the Montreal Association of Black Business and Professional People, the Chinese Neighborhood Society, the National Association of Canadians of Origins from India, the Muslim Council of Montreal and the Lord Redding Society (Montreal Jewish Bar association) for his civil rights work. He was the recipient of the Quebec Justice Award in 1995 and the Queen’s Commemorative Silver Jubilee Medal in 2002 (from Dr. Irwin Cotler, MP).

His passions include sports, martial arts, travel, cinema and reading (political biography, war, history and science). He is also a devoted Trekkie, which explains his philosophy on diversity and humanity.