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constitutional lawyer, activist
Deborah Coyne has, throughout her varied career, worked to build a better Canada. Lawyer, university professor, constitutional activist, public servant, writer, and mother of two children, her skills and hard work have often placed her at the centre of the great public debates of our times. Deborah currently practices law and public policy.
After completing a law degree at York University’s Osgoode Hall, Deborah earned a Masters of Philosophy in International Relations from Oxford University. Upon her return to Toronto, Deborah practiced law before embarking on an active public policy career.
Wanting to make a difference, Deborah served in the Prime Minister’s Office, the Business Council on National Issues, the Ontario Secretariat for Disabled Persons, and the 1986 Ontario Insurance Task Force.
From 1986 to 1988, she taught at the University of Toronto Law School. Beginning in 1987, Deborah became a leading figure in the constitutional debates that unfolded involving the Meech Lake Accord and the referendum on the Charlottetown Accord. As well as mobilizing civil society engagement, she was a co-founder of the Canada for All Canadians Committee and the Canadian Coalition on the Constitution.
Deborah subsequently worked at the Ontario Human Rights Commission, the Walter and Duncan Gordon Charitable Foundation, Informetrica Ltd., the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board, and the Ontario Health Professions and Health Insurance Appeal & Review Boards. She is the author of numerous articles and four books on a wide range of topics affecting Canada and Canadians. She has been a member of the Advisory Council and the Steering Committee of the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Policy Options, and the chair of the 2006 Liberal Party Task Force on Public Safety and Justice.
Deborah Coyne was the federal Liberal candidate in the riding of Toronto-Danforth in the 2006 general election, and a candidate for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada in 2012-2013. In 2015, she worked for the leader of the Green Party of Canada as a senior policy advisor.She now belongs to no political party.