Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond
Representative for Children and Youth in British Columbia
Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond is British Columbia’s first Representative for Children and Youth. She is on leave from the Saskatchewan Provincial Court, where she was the Administrative Judge for Saskatoon. She has been actively involved in projects relating to access to justice, judicial independence and public outreach, and has worked as a criminal law judge in youth and adult courts, with an emphasis on developing partnerships to better serve the needs of young people in the justice system.
Turpel-Lafond has received several awards and honourary degrees recognizing her leadership and commitment as a champion for the voices and rights of Aboriginal people, children and youth, as well as her advocacy on their behalf. From 2010 to 2013, Turpel-Lafond was the elected President of the Canadian Council of Child and Youth Advocates, an alliance of children’s advocates from across Canada who champion the rights of children in their respective provinces and territories.
She taught law at Dalhousie University´s Faculty of Law, the University of Toronto, the University of Notre Dame, as well as other universities. She holds a PhD from Harvard Law School, an MA in International Law from Cambridge University, and a JD from Osgoode Hall Law School. She also holds a certificate in the international and comparative law of human rights from the University of Strasbourg in France.
A member of the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation, Turpel-Lafond is actively involved in supporting First Nations children, families and communities, and has served as legal counsel and advocate in many cases involving the unique rights and freedoms of Aboriginal children, families and communities.