Hon. Catherine McKenna

Ottawa Centre


Catherine McKenna is Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

McKenna is a lawyer by trade, focused on human rights and social justice. She has an undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto, a Master’s in International Relations from the London School of Economics and a law degree from McGill University. She has lectured at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and has been a member of the board at the Trudeau Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies.

During her law career McKenna has practiced around the world focussing on international trade, investment and constitutional issues. She also provided advice to a United Nations peacekeeping mission in East Timor. In 2002 she started work for Stikeman Elliott LLP focusing on competition, trade, and constitutional law. She also served as senior counsel on a review of Canada’s military justice system for the Right Honorable Antonio Lamar.

She is the founder of Canadian Lawyers Abroad, now Level, a charity based at the University of Ottawa that helps Canadian law students and law firms do pro bono work in developing countries. Canadian Lawyers Abroad also spearheaded the Dare to Dream Program, which educates aboriginal youth in justice.

Between 2013 and 2014 she served as Executive Director of The Banff Forum, an organization dedicated to increasing debate on key public policy issues.

McKenna is married to Scott Gilmore, a diplomat and political commentator who has a weekly column in Maclean’s Magazine. They have three children. The family lives in Ottawa’s Glebe neighbourhood and McKenna has been active in that community. She was the vice-­president of the Glebe Community Association and has served on the boards of the Elizabeth Fry Society of Ottawa and the Good Morning Creative Arts and Preschool..

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