Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond

The Representative for Children and Youth

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond is B.C.’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.

She has received several awards and honourary degrees recognizing the leadership and outstanding commitment she has provided to her work as a champion for the voices and rights of Aboriginal people, children and youth, as well as her advocacy on their behalf and her commitment to their well-being. From 2010 – 2013, Turpel-Lafond was the elected President of the Canadian Council of Child and Youth Advocates, an alliance of children’s advocates from across the country who champion the voice and rights of children in their respective provinces and territories.

She taught law at Dalhousie University Faculty of Law, the University of Toronto, the University of Notre Dame and other universities. She holds a PhD from Harvard Law School, an MA in international law from Cambridge University, and a law degree from Osgoode Hall. 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 active in her First Nations community and published a book on the history of the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation that was short-listed for a Saskatchewan Book Award.