Yvonne Boyer is Ontario's first Indigenous senator
Boyer has spent much of her career focused on improving Indigenous health care
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has picked Métis lawyer Yvonne Boyer to sit in the Senate and represent Ontario — the first Indigenous person appointed to the Red Chamber from that province.
A lawyer and scholar, Boyer has spent much of her career working on improving the delivery of health care services to Canada's Indigenous peoples.
In a release sent to reporters Thursday, Trudeau said Boyer is a member of the Métis Nation of Ontario with ancestral roots in the Métis Nation of Saskatchewan and the Red River.
Boyer lives in Merrickville, Ont., a town roughly an hour southwest of Ottawa. She's a former member of the Canadian Human Rights Commission and also served as in-house counsel for the Native Women's Association of Canada and as a senior policy analyst and legal adviser at the National Aboriginal Health Organization.
In addition to running her own law practice, Boyer currently serves as the associate director of the University of Ottawa Centre for Health Law, Policy and Ethics, and as a part-time law professor.
"I am delighted to welcome Parliament's newest independent Senator, Yvonne Boyer. I am confident that Parliament will benefit from Dr. Boyer's knowledge and experience, and that she will be a great ambassador for Ontario, the Métis Nation, and all of Canada," Trudeau said.
Boyer was recommended by the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments — created by Trudeau with the aim of ridding the appointments process of partisanship — and chosen through what has been called a "merit-based process" open to all Canadians.
With this appointment, Trudeau has named 33 senators to the Red Chamber. Boyer is expected to sit as an Independent, as all of the prime minister's other appointments have opted to do thus far.
The independence of Trudeau-appointed senators has been questioned lately, based on voting patterns that closely align with the government's agenda.
The Independent Senators Group (ISG) has a plurality in the Senate with 43 seats. There are 33 Conservative senators and 12 Liberals.
As of today, there are still 11 vacancies to be filled in the 105-member body.
The new addition also brings the Red Chamber closer to gender parity, as about 46 per cent of senators (43 of 94) will be women. Calls for gender balance in the Senate came shortly after Trudeau unveiled a cabinet with an equal number of women and men.