Ministers with Indigenous Portfolios
Here we feature Ministers directly responsible for Indigenous relations and affairs, however several other cabinet ministers are in charge of ministries that offer programs and services to Indigenous people.
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs
Dr. Bennett has previously served as the Critic for Public Health, Seniors, Persons with Disabilities, the Social Economy, and Aboriginal Affairs. In 2003, she was named Minister of State for Public Health.
Prior to her election, Dr. Bennett was a family physician and a founding partner of Bedford Medical Associates in downtown Toronto. She was also an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto. Her fight to save the Women’s College Hospital of Toronto inspired her to enter politics.
Carolyn is an active representative of Toronto–St. Paul’s. She has organized over 75 town halls, quarterly meetings, information sessions on parliamentary affairs, and special activities for her constituents since 2000. She and her office have assisted hundreds of constituents with their immigration, tax, pension or employment insurance concerns.
She speaks passionately about Canada and citizens’ participation in the democratic process. She advocates for health, the environment, women’s involvement in politics and persons with disabilities; She is also known for her strong support of Israel.
In 1986, Dr. Bennett received the Royal Life Saving Society Cross – a Commonwealth award recognizing her more than 20 years of distinguished service. In 2002, she was the recipient of the coveted EVE Award for contributing to the advancement of women in politics and in 2003 received the first ever CAMIMH Mental Health Champion Award. Carolyn was the first recipient of the National Award of Excellence for Outstanding Leadership and Dedication to Injury Prevention and Safety promotion in Canada.
Carolyn is the co-author of Kill or Cure? How Canadians Can Remake Their Health Care System.
She and her husband, Peter O’Brian, a successful Canadian producer, have two sons, Jack and Ben.
The Honourable Jane Philpott
Minister of Indigenous Services
Prior to entering politics, Dr. Philpott led an extensive career in family medicine, public health, medical education and global advocacy for HIV/AIDS.
Dr. Philpott studied medicine at the University of Western Ontario, completed a Family Medicine residency at the University of Ottawa, and a Tropical Medicine fellowship in Toronto. In 2012, she completed a Master of Public Health degree at the University of Toronto.
Between 1989 and 1998, Dr. Philpott lived in Niger Republic, West Africa where she practiced general medicine and helped to develop a training program for village health workers.
In 1998, she and her husband, Pep, moved to Stouffville, Ontario where she practiced as a family physician at Markham Stouffville Hospital for more 15 years and served as Chief of Family Medicine from 2008 to 2014. She also led the opening of the Health for All Family Health Team – a new primary care home for 10,000 patients in Markham-Stouffville, and the Markham Family Medicine Teaching Unit that has trained 45 new family physicians in the community since 2010. Additionally, she is an Associate Professor in the University of Toronto’s Department of Family & Community Medicine.
Some of her global advocacy work includes founding Give a Day to World AIDS in 2004, which has raised over $4 million to help those affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa. Dr. Philpott was the first Family Medicine lead for the Toronto Addis Ababa Academic Collaboration, where she was instrumental in helping Addis Ababa University develop Ethiopia’s first training program for Family Medicine.
Locally, Dr. Philpott is a founder of TEDxStouffville, and is a member of the Community Mennonite Church in Stouffville.
Dr. Philpott is married, has four children, and lives in Stouffville, Ontario.
- Recently the Ministries of Indigenous and Northern Affairs have been split into two portfolios, learn more about that here.
The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
Jody Wilson-Raybould is a lawyer, advocate, and leader among British Columbia’s First Nations. As a former Regional Chief of the BC Assembly of First Nations, Jody brings extensive experience in law, public service, and First Nations governance to Cabinet.
After being called to the Bar in 2000, Jody began her legal career working as a provincial crown prosecutor in Vancouver. She later served as an advisor at the BC Treaty Commission, a body established to oversee treaty negotiations between First Nations and the Crown. In 2004, Jody was elected as Commissioner by the Chiefs of the First Nations Summit.
Since being elected Regional Chief of the BC Assembly of First Nations in 2009, Jody has devoted herself to the advancement of First Nations governance, fair access to land and resources, as well as improved education and health care services. She was re-elected as Regional Chief in 2012 and held responsibilities for governance and nation building on the Assembly of First Nations Executive. She has previously been involved with the Chiefs Committee on Claims and chaired the Comprehensive Claims joint working group.
An active volunteer in her community, Jody has served as a Director for Capilano College, the Minerva Foundation for BC Women, the Nuyumbalees Cultural Centre, and the National Centre for First Nations Governance. She was also a director on the First Nations Lands Advisory Board and Chair of the First Nations Finance Authority. She is the recipient of the alumni award from the Minerva Foundation and the University of Victoria.
Jody is a descendant of the Musgamagw Tsawataineuk and Laich-Kwil-Tach peoples, which are part of the Kwakwaka’wakw and also known as the Kwak’wala speaking peoples. She is a member of the We Wai Kai Nation and is married to Dr. Tim Raybould.
Jody Wilson Raybould Chairs the Working Group of Ministers responsible for reviewing relevant federal laws, policies and operational practices to help further a nation-to-nation, Inuit-Crown and government-to-government relationship with Indigenous peoples.