The Ontario government is looking for a new human rights watchdog.
Former Toronto mayor Barbara Hall, chief commissioner for the Ontario Human Rights Commission, is retiring at the end of next month.
Hall, 68, who was appointed to the $167,000-a-year post by former premier Dalton McGuinty in 2005, has had her term extended four times.
Her contract expires Feb. 27 and a new chief is expected to be named before then.
From 1994 to 1997, Hall was the last mayor of the old city of Toronto and twice ran for the mayoralty of the amalgamated megacity, losing in 1997 to Mel Lastman and in 2003 to David Miller.
Sources say several prominent candidates are being considered for the job.
One person being touted is Bernie Farber, former chief executive of the Canadian Jewish Congress and a long-time anti-racism activist.
Farber — who ran for the Liberals in the 2011 provincial election, losing Thornhill to Progressive Conservative Peter Shurman — has worked with at-risk youth, battered women, and served on numerous community race-relations and safety committees over the years.
Another potential candidate is former New Democrat MPP Rosario Marchese.
Marchese, who lost the riding of Trinity-Spadina to Liberal Han Dong in the June 12 provincial election, was minister of culture and communications in former premier Bob Rae’s government and served at Queen’s Park for 24 years.
Both men are well respected by members of all three political parties at Queen’s Park.
The Liberals on Monday were not tipping their hand as to who will get the nod from Premier Kathleen Wynne for the influential gig.
“We’re currently working on advertising for a new chief commissioner,” a senior government official confirmed.
The commission combats discrimination and harassment by enforcing the Ontario Human Rights Code.
That’s the sweeping provincial law that gives everyone equal rights and opportunities in areas such as employment and housing, regardless of race, gender, age, disability, or anything else.