Mary Simon, O.C., O.Q., comes from Kuujjuaq, Nunavik (Arctic Quebec).
Mary is a celebrated leader and advocate for Inuit rights and culture. She has held numerous positions of leadership over her career including Special Representative to the Minister of Indigenous & Northern Affairs for the Government of Canada. In this role she advised on the development of a new Shared Arctic Leadership Model. You can view a copy of her report here, which includes recommendations on how to improve education, language, telecommunications, infrastructure and energy generation in Arctic communities.
Mary is the recent past president of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the National Inuit Organization (2006-2012), President of Makivik Corporation, and Chairperson of the National Committee on Inuit Education where her mandate was to implement a comprehensive national strategy, aimed at improving Inuit educational standards and achievements.(2012-2014)
She has advanced critical social, economic and human rights issues for Canadian Inuit regionally, nationally and internationally.
Mary led Canada’s negotiations during the creation of the eight Nation, Arctic Council in the mid 1990’s.
She is an Officer of the Order of Canada, Recipient of the National Order of Quebec, the Gold Order of Greenland, The National Aboriginal Achievement Award, the Gold Order of the Canadian Geographic Society, The Symons Medal, the Governor General’s Northern Award. She has been inducted into the International Women’s Hall of Fame.
Mary has also received nine honorary doctorates of Laws from 9 Canadian Universities. She also served as Chancellor of Trent University.
In 2013 Mary received recognition as a nation builder from the Famous Five. She was honoured by the Public Policy Forum for her contributions to public life, public policy and governance in Canada.
She served as an Honorary Witness for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Mary has been actively involved as Co-Chair on the Board of Directors of “Canadians For a New Partnership”, an initiative to build a new partnership between First Peoples and all Canadians so that together we can build a strong economy and values-based society that benefits future generations.