The Honourable, Dr. Carolyn Bennett, PC, MP, was first elected to the House of Commons in the 1997 general election and was re-elected in 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008 and again in 2011 representing the electoral district of St. Paul’s.
In December 2003, in the wake of the SARS outbreak, Prime Minister Paul Martin appointed Carolyn as the first ever Minister of State (Public Health). In her two years as Minister, she set up the Public Health Agency of Canada, appointed the first Chief Public Health Officer for Canada and established the Public Health Network which enabled all provinces and territories to work with the Federal Government on protecting the health of Canadians.
Carolyn 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. Dr. Bennett served on the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, and the Standing Committee on Health. She was a member of the Standing Committee on Finance and was Chair of the Liberal Women’s Caucus. Most recently Carolyn was the Health Critic for the Official Opposition and Critic for Democratic Renewal.
Currently Carolyn is Critic for Aboriginal Affairs & Northern Development and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency. She is also Chair of the National Liberal Women’s Caucus.
Prior to her election, Dr. Bennett was a family physician and a founding partner of Bedford Medical Associates in downtown Toronto. She was 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. Dr. Bennett served on the Boards of Havergal College, Women’s College Hospital, the Ontario Medical Association, and the Medico-Legal Society of Toronto.
In 1986, Dr. Bennett received the Royal Life Saving Society Service Cross — a Commonwealth award recognizing her more than twenty 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.
In 2009, the College of Family Physicians of Canada honoured Dr. Bennett with the W. Victor Johnston Award for lifetime contribution to family practice medicine in Canada and internationally.
Dr. Bennett obtained her degree in medicine from the University of Toronto in 1974, and received her certification in Family Medicine in 1976. Dr. Bennett is author of “Kill or Cure? How Canadians Can Remake their Health Care System,” published in October 2000. She and her husband, Canadian film producer Peter O’Brian, have two sons and a chocolate lab, Marley.