Erin O’Toole was first elected in a 2012 by-election, and served as the Minister of Veterans Affairs under Prime Minister Stephen Harper. More recently, he was Official Opposition Critic for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.
He resigned his critic role to run in the 2017 Conservative Party leadership election, and placed third. Veterans issues were a major plank of his campaign.
O’Toole has a Bachelor of Arts from the Royal Military College and served as a member of the armed forces in the Royal Canadian Air Force. O’Toole served as an assistant controller at the Rescue Coordination Centre at CFB Trenton before being posted to Winnipeg where he earned his wings. He chose to fly on the Sea King Helicopter as a Tactical Navigator. While serving with 423 Squadron in Shearwater, Nova Scotia, O’Toole received a Sikorsky Helicopter Rescue Award for his participation in operations related to the crash of Swissair Flight 111.
Following his completion of service, O’Toole transferred to the reserves and earned a law degree from Dalhousie University. He formally retired from the forces in 2003 after serving more than a decade. He received the Canadian Forces Decoration for faithful service to his country. Following his retirement he returned to Ontario to practice law. For several years he served as the in-house lawyer for Procter and Gamble. He also worked with Stikeman Elliott LLP and Heenan Blaikie LLP.
O’Toole is one of the founders of the True Patriot Love Foundation which has raised more than $10 million to support members of the military, veterans and their families. He has also been a director for the foundation. He is a member of the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 178. He is also a member of the Rotary Club of Courtise. He is also a member of the Board of Governors of the Royal Military College of Canada.
O’Toole is married and has two children.