A social justice advocate
- Sen. Pate is an internationally renowned human rights expert and champion for social justice, equality and criminal justice.
- She has contributed to national and international policy discussions on women in the criminal justice system through her research, writings and volunteerism. She has also shed light on the special needs of Aboriginal women, who are overrepresented in Canadian federal prisons, and those with mental health issues.
- She is trained as a teacher and a lawyer and has been at the forefront of public education campaigns, research, and legislative and administrative reform at the regional, national and international level.
- She graduated from Dalhousie Law School in 1984 with honours in the Clinical Law Programme and has completed post graduate work in the area of forensic mental health.
- She is currently a part-time professor in the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law, has authored many articles in academic journals, and has acted as a mentor to women and law students.
- Since 1992, she has worked with and on behalf of women in prison in her role as the Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies (CAEFS). She also worked for several years with the John Howard Societies.
- In 1994, she was one of the first people permitted to enter the Kingston Prison for Women after a violent altercation between six inmates and officers.
- She has also served on a host of boards, committees and advisory groups, and is currently on the advisory board of the National Women’s Legal Mentoring Program, Human Rights International’s Canadian Advocacy Committee, and Legal Aid Ontario’s Prison Advisory Committee. She also occupied the Sallows Chair in Human Rights at the University of Saskatchewan College of Law in 2014 and 2015.
- Sen. Pate is the recipient of many awards and distinctions, including five honorary degrees, and was awarded the Order of Canada in 2015. In 2003, she received Dalhousie Law School’s Weldon Award for Unselfish Public Service, and in 2009, she received the Canadian Bar Association’s Touchstone Award for furthering equality in the legal community in Canada.
Current Senate Committee Membership
- Member, Aboriginal Peoples
- Member, Human Rights
- Member, Legal and Constitutional Affairs
- Women & Gender
- Social Justice
- University of Victoria - Bachelor of Arts
- Dalhousie Law School
- Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies
“For the past 35 years, I have often found myself driven either by rage or despair as I’ve tried to address that which I could not and will never accept, that which I observed all around me, the suffering that I’ve had to witness first-hand.”
Maiden Speech in the Senate, Dec 8, 2016
In the News
Date of Birth
10 November 1959
Place of Birth
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau (Liberal)
Date of Appointment10 November 2016
Place of Residence
Ottawa, ON, Canada
Expected Retirement Date10 November 2034
Last modified March 17, 2017
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