Dr. Carolyn Bennett was first elected to the House of Commons in 1997 to represent St. Paul’s. In 2017 she was appointed as Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs.
A family physician, Bennett is a graduate of the University of Toronto. She was a founding partner of Bedford Medical Associates, a practice in Toronto. She has received several awards for her work in medicine, including the W. Victor Johnston Award for lifetime contribution to family practice medicine in Canada and internationally in 2009.
During her medical career, Bennett served as President of the Medical Staff Association of Women’s College Hospital and Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto. She also served on the Boards of Havergal College, Women’s College Hospital, the Ontario Medical Association, and the Medico-Legal Society of Toronto. Bennett also penned a book on the Canadian health care system, “Kill or Cure? How Canadians Can Remake their Health Care System,” in October 2000.
Under Paul Martin, Bennett was named Canada’s first Minister of State (Public Health). In that role she dealt with the SARS outbreak in 2003, setting up the Public Health Agency of Canada and appointing Canada’s first Chief Public Health Officer.
In opposition, Bennett has served as health critic and critic for democratic renewal. She is also Chair of the National Liberal Women’s Caucus and and was Chair of the Liberal Women’s Caucus. 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.
Very active in Parliament, Bennett has served as Chair of the Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament, the sub-Committee on the Status of Persons with Disabilities (Human Resources Development Committee) and the Canada-Israel Parliamentary Friendship Group. She has served on the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, and the Standing Committee on Health. She was also a member of the Standing Committee on Finance.
Bennett is married to film producer Peter O’Brian and together they have two sons.