The Honourable Chrystia Freeland
Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance
Ms. Freeland was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Toronto Centre in July, 2013. She was elected as Member of Parliament for University—Rosedale in October, 2015 and re-elected in October, 2019.
From 2015 to 2017, Ms. Freeland served as Canada's Minister of International Trade, overseeing the successful negotiation of Canada's free trade agreement with the European Union, CETA. From January, 2017 to November, 2019, she served as Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. During this time, she was a leading advocate for democracy, human rights, and multilateralism around the world.
As Foreign Minister, she led and successfully concluded the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Canada, Mexico, and the United States.
In November, 2019, Ms. Freeland was appointed Deputy Prime Minister of Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. In this capacity, she led Canada’s united response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She was appointed Minister of Finance in August, 2020.
An esteemed journalist and author, the Deputy Prime Minister was born in Peace River, Alberta. She was educated at Harvard University before continuing her studies on a Rhodes Scholarship at the University of Oxford.
After launching her career in journalism as a Ukraine-based freelance correspondent for the Financial Times, The Washington Post, and The Economist, Ms. Freeland went on to various roles at the Financial Times of London. She then served as deputy editor of the Toronto-based Globe and Mail between 1999 and 2001, before returning to the Financial Times as deputy editor and then as United States managing editor.
In 2010, she joined Canadian-owned Thomson Reuters. She was a managing director of the company and editor of consumer news when she decided to return home and enter politics in 2013.
Ms. Freeland has written two books: Sale of the Century: The Inside Story of the Second Russian Revolution (2000); and Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else (2012). Plutocrats has been an international best-seller and won the Lionel Gelber Prize and National Business Book Award.
In 2018, the Deputy Prime Minister was recognized as Foreign Policy's Diplomat of the Year. She was also awarded the Eric M. Warburg Award by Atlantik-Brücke, for her achievements in strengthening transatlantic ties. In 2020, she was awarded Freedom House’s Mark Palmer Prize, in recognition of her years of work in championing democracy and human rights.
Ms. Freeland speaks Russian, Ukrainian, Italian, French, and English. She lives in Toronto with her husband and three children.
Senior Adviser, Canadian Centre for the Purpose of the Corporation and 2020-21 Visiting Professor, Western University
David Simmonds is a Senior Adviser at the Canadian Centre for the Purpose of the Corporation and 2020-21 Visiting Professor at Western University. He brings deep experience with reputation, brand, strategy, investor communications and corporate affairs across regulatory environments with advisory experience to senior leaders in a variety of sectors.
Most recently, David was Senior Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs for McKesson Canada. A member of the company’s executive leadership team, David was responsible for employee communications, media relations, public policy, corporate and event marketing, corporate social responsibility and strategic partnerships for McKesson’s business units in Canada.
Prior to leading Communications and Public Affairs, David served as Vice President Enterprise Strategy and Chief of Staff to McKesson Corporation’s Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer. In this role he led a team responsible for designing the company’s multi-year growth strategy across Canadian, U.S., and European operations.
David is a member of Western University’s Board of Governors; Director and President Elect of the Canadian Club of Toronto; a Governor of the Strafford Festival and, an Advisory Board Member at Catalyst Canada. His earlier board work includes six years with Casey House, Canada’s leading HIV Specialty Hospital and the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy.
A sought-after speaker his commentary can be found in national media including the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, and CBC News. In 2015 the Diversity Advancement Network named David one of Canada’s Top 100 Black Canadians.
A graduate of Western University, David holds an Honours BA, MA, and completed the executive development program at the Wharton School.