Dec 9, 2022  |  8:00am - 9:00am

[New Horizons Speaker Series] From the clinic to the House of Commons: A conversation with the Honourable Carolyn Bennett

New Horizons is a speaker series hosted by Dr. Danielle Martin, Chair of the University of Toronto Department of Family and Community Medicine. This conversation is the fourth of the series.

Join us as we hear from Minister Bennett as she shares what inspired her to enter politics, the skills from family medicine that serve her well in her current work and the ways in which family doctors can engage successfully with policymakers.

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About Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett was first elected to the House of Commons in 1997 and was re-elected in 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2015, 2019, and 2021 representing Toronto—St. Paul’s.

She previously served as Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, and Minister of State for Public Health.

Prior to her election in 1997, Minister Bennett was a family physician and a founding partner of Bedford Medical Associates in downtown Toronto. She was also an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto. Her fight to save the Women’s College Hospital of Toronto inspired her to enter politics.

Minister Bennett is an active representative of Toronto—St. Paul’s. She has organized over 75 town halls, quarterly meetings, information sessions, and special activities for her constituents since 2000. She and her office have assisted hundreds of constituents with their immigration, tax, pension, or employment insurance concerns.

Minister Bennett speaks passionately about Canada and Canadians’ participation in the democratic process. She advocates for health, the environment, women’s involvement in politics, and persons with disabilities. She is also known for her strong support of Israel.

In 1986, she received the Royal Life Saving Society’s Service Cross – a Commonwealth Honour Award recognizing her more than 20 years of distinguished service. In 2002, she was the recipient of the coveted EVE Award for contributing to the advancement of women in politics, and in 2003, she received the first-ever Champion of Mental Health Award from the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health. She was also the first recipient of the National Award of Excellence for Outstanding Leadership and Dedication to Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion in Canada, and is the co-author of Kill or Cure? How Canadians Can Remake Their Health Care System.

Minister Bennett and her husband, Peter O’Brian, a Canadian film producer, have two sons, Jack and Ben.

About the speaker series

"New Horizons: Navigating towards the future of family medicine" is hosted by Dr. Danielle Martin, Chair of the University of Toronto Department of Family and Community Medicine, the largest academic department of family medicine in the world. 

As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and look toward the future, DFCM has an opportunity to help shape the health system in Canada. Our department aspires to dream big about the potential of primary care, family medicine, and the role of the university in our society and our communities. This requires us to learn across disciplines and to take inspiration from the broadest possible range of fields – the arts, public health, community activism, the social sciences and more.

In each session, a wise interprofessional colleague will provide a fresh perspective on the role of family physicians in a changing world and challenge us to consider what a community responsive department of family medicine should be aiming for.

For more information on future sessions in the New Horizons series, visit our landing page at