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Mary Anne Chambers


Mary Anne Chambers

Mary Anne Chambers’ life experiences have spanned the private, public and not-for-profit sectors through executive management level roles in Canada’s financial services sector, elected office as a member of provincial parliament and cabinet minister in the government of Ontario, corporate governance and governance of not-for-profit organizations dedicated to providing opportunities for youth, education, health, community building and international development. Her career demonstrates a long-standing commitment to the values of accessibility and inclusiveness in higher education, as well as a commitment to improving the circumstances of young women and racialized communities in Canada and around the world.

After immigrating to Canada from Jamaica with her husband and two young sons in 1976, Dr. Chambers held progressive roles with Scotiabank and eventually served as senior vice-president. She took early retirement in 2002 and ran for public office the following year.

Dr. Chambers served as member of provincial parliament for Scarborough East from 2003 to 2007. She was sworn in as a member of the executive council of Ontario, and appointed minister of training, colleges and universities in October 2003. In June 2005, Dr. Chambers was appointed minister of children and youth services, and served in that capacity until October 2007, when she declined to seek re-election.

As minister of training, colleges and universities, Dr. Chambers announced the largest multi-year investment in post-secondary education in four decades and introduced major improvements to student assistance policies and funding.

Dr. Chambers has personally funded more than 60 scholarships for students at Ontario universities and colleges, including at U of G where she created an entrance bursary for Black students in the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences.

As a member of U of G’s Board of Governors from 2010-2016, she served on the Board’s audit and risk committee and physical resources and property committee and chaired the working group on responsible investing. She currently sits on the external advisory board of the Guelph Institute of Development Studies and acts as the external advisory board member for the GIDS Anti-Racism Working Group.

A graduate of the University of Toronto, Dr. Chambers has received honorary doctorates from U of G, the University of Toronto, York University and Lakehead University.

Among her honours, Dr. Chambers has been named to the Order of Ontario and has received the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee and Diamond Jubilee medals, the Prime Minister of Jamaica’s Medal of Appreciation, a University of the West Indies Vice-Chancellor’s Award and a YWCA Toronto Woman of Distinction Award.

Dr. Chambers is currently a governor of Canada’s International Development Research Centre, a senior fellow at York University’s Glendon School of Public and International Affairs and is the special advisor for the City of Markham’s anti-Black racism strategy.

Dr. Chambers has served on the governing council of the University of Toronto and on the boards of not-for-profit organizations including Cuso International, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the Project for the Advancement of Childhood Education, the United Way of Canada, United Way Toronto, YMCA Toronto and the Rouge Valley Health System.