The president and CEO of the Canadian Women’s Foundation, Paulette Senior, has been appointed to serve as an independent senator in the Senate of Canada by Governor General Mary Simon. Born in Jamaica, Senior migrated to Canada in 1973 at the age of 11. She was one of three newly appointed independent senators and was selected in recognition of her commitment to removing systemic barriers and empowering women and girls from diverse backgrounds.
An Honor to be Appointed
Senior responded to her appointment by saying she was “deeply honored” to be placed in the role as a senator in the country she has devoted her life to for 50 years. She noted that she was proud of the grounding she received from her Jamaican grandmother, who provided her with the confidence she needed to thrive while navigating a new culture. She is also happy to have the chance to be an advocate for “justice and equality for all,” particularly for marginalized and shunned communities.
Known as a Change Maker
Throughout her work life, Senior has headed, managed, and operated shelters and employment and housing programs based in Toronto. These include organizations like the Yellow Brick House, Macaulay Child Development Center, and Lawrence Heights Community Health Center. She has also been a board member at equity-centered organizations, such as the Women’s College Hospital and the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council. Currently, Senior serves as a board director of Oxfam Canada, the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation, and the Women’s Funding Network. She was appointed a member of the Supreme Court of Canada Judicial Appointments Independent Advisory Board in 2022.
Awards and Honors
Paulette Senior has been recognized for her community service with several awards. These include the Black Business and Professional Association’s Harry Jerome Trailblazer Award and the African Canadian Achievement Award. She was named among the Top 25 Women of Influence and received the AfroGlobal Leadership Award. Most recently, Senior was presented with the Skills for Change Impact Changemaker Award.