Audrey McLaughlin

Audrey McLaughlin, who was born in Ontario, wore many hats before entering the political arena. She was a farmer, social worker, and professor. McLaughlin earned a BA from the University of Western and went on to teach at a private college in Ghana from 1964 to 1967. Following her years of teaching, she started the Social Work program at the University of Toronto, earning her MA. After a few years at Toronto Children’s Aid Society as a social worker, she became the Executive Director of the Canadian Mental Health Association     

She was elected the Federal Member of Parliament for the Yukon from 1987 to 1997. In 1988 she was appointed caucus chair, and in 1989 she won the NDP 1989 leadership convention, becoming the first woman to lead a national political party in Canada. In 1995, she stepped down as the leader and was succeeded by Alexa McDonough.  

In 1992, McLaughlin published her autobiography A Woman’s Place: My Life and Politics. Shortly after she was elected President of Socialist International Women. Additionally, she promoted democracy and peace abroad as part of the National Democratic Institute. McLaughlin became a special representative for the Government of Yukon on Circumpolar Affairs. She was also added to the Order of Canada. 

She is also a grandmother and great grandmother. She is part of the Stephen Lewis Foundation, and a member of the Canadian Commission on the Pandemic and Education at the University of Toronto. 


“Audrey McLaughlin.” The Canadian Encyclopedia, Accessed 2 May 2023. 

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