The Hon. Catherine McKenna
Former Minister of the Environment and Climate Change
As the former Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, The Honourable Catherine McKenna spearheaded groundbreaking environmental initiatives across Canada. She was a lead negotiator of the Paris Agreement, successfully defended landmark legislation to establish a carbon price, and led efforts to phase out coal, reduce plastics, and double the amount of nature protected in Canada. McKenna is dedicated to drastically reducing global emissions by 2030 and ensuring a sustainable planet for future generations.
Today, McKenna is the founder and principal of Climate and Nature Solutions, an organization that works with governments, not-for profits, academia, and the private sector to scale practical climate and nature-based solutions. She is also the Chair of the UN Secretary General’s new High-Level Expert Group on Net-Zero Commitments of Non-State Entities; a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Columbia’s Climate School and their Centre on Global Energy Policy; and she recently launched Women Leading on Climate at COP26.
Prior to this, McKenna was elected as a Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre. In addition to serving as the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change (2015-2019), she was also the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities from 2019 to 2021. In this role, she made historic investments in public transit and green infrastructure, leveraged private sector investment through the Canada Infrastructure Bank, and led the development of Canada’s first National Infrastructure Assessment to drive net-zero emissions by 2050.
While in government, McKenna helped establish the Powering Past Coal Alliance (with Canada, the UK, and Bloomberg Philanthropies), the Ministerial on Climate Action (with Canada, the UK, and China), the Women Kicking it on Climate Summit and the Nature Champions Summit, was Co-Chair of the World Bank’s Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition, and helped develop the Ocean Plastics Charter adopted at the G7 hosted by Canada in 2018.
McKenna earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto, a masters degree from the London School of Economics, and a law degree from McGill University. Before entering politics, she worked as a competition and trade lawyer and served as a senior negotiator with the United Nations mission in East Timor. She also co-founded the charitable organization Level Justice.