Laurel Broten was first elected to the Ontario legislature in 2003 and was re-elected in 2007 and 2011. She was appointed Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs in February 2013. Broten is also the Minister Responsible for Women's Issues.
Broten has served as Minister of Education, Minister of Children and Youth Services, Minister of the Environment, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care and to the Premier. She also had responsibility for Ontario's Poverty Reduction Strategy.
A tireless advocate for women and children, Broten conducted province-wide consultations that led to the government's Domestic Violence Action Plan and launched the Sexual Violence Action Plan in March 2011. Broten also established the innovative Microlending for Women in Ontario program, which will help low-income women start and build successful businesses.
Broten again took bold and progressive steps when she authored a report detailing a five-point action plan to create more opportunities and reduce barriers for internationally trained doctors in Ontario. Her report formed the basis for legislation introduced in 2008 that helps to improve access to health care for Ontario families.
As Minister of Children and Youth Services, Broten introduced legislative changes to make it easier for would-be parents to adopt, while removing legal barriers so that more kids in the care of children's aid societies could be adopted. In addition, Broten led the transformation of the children's aid society sector, appointed the first Aboriginal Advisor to the Minister of Children and Youth Services and hosted the province's first Aboriginal Child Welfare Summit. Minister Broten also helped launch Ontario's Comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions Strategy, which will ensure children get fast access to high-quality services and support.
As Minister of the Environment, Broten developed policies under one of Canada's most comprehensive climate change plans that supports business, creates jobs and sets aggressive targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. She also introduced the Clean Water Act designed to better safeguard Ontario's drinking water, ban diversions from the Great Lakes and, for the first time, charge commercial and industrial users for the water they take and use.
As Minister of Education, Broten introduced the Accepting Schools Act, which is helping ensure Ontario students feel welcome, accepted and connected to their school, making them more likely to succeed academically. She was also responsible for introducing the Putting Students First Act to protect the gains made in education, including smaller class sizes, increased test scores, more students graduating and the continued implementation of full-day kindergarten.
Broten's work in the area of corporate social responsibility and better protection of investors led to a review of Ontario's reporting standards after receiving unanimous support by the legislature.
Broten has always been an active member of her community. Prior to running for office, she built a successful career practicing equity, commercial and human rights law. She received a B.A. and B.Sc. from McMaster University and earned her law degree from the University of Western Ontario with distinction. She also articled at the Supreme Court of Canada for one of Canada's most preeminent jurists.