Speaker Profiles

The Honourable Helena Guergis

The Honourable Helena Guergis

Minister of State (Status of Women)

Government of Canada

Minister Guergis was first elected to the House of Commons in 2004. In January 2007, she was named Secretary of State (Foreign Affairs and International Trade)(Sport) and last fall she was appointed as the first dedicated Minister of State for the Status of Women, by the Prime Minister of Canada.

Minister Guergis previously served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade. She also served on the Parliamentary Standing Committees on Citizenship and Immigration, as well as Foreign Affairs and International Trade, and the subcommittees on Human Rights and International Development on International Trade, Trade Disputes and Investment.

Minister Guergis also had the pleasure of being a founding member of the standing Committee on the Status of Women.

Minister Guergis holds an MBA from the University of Alberta. She has earned a reputation as a champion for Canadian women in business and for those who aspire to become entrepreneurs. Notably, she is the recipient of one of the first ever International Luminary Awards for her outstanding work to ensure enhanced market access to women entrepreneurs by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council in June 2009.

She was recognized by Ottawa Life Magazine as being a champion for women at the Cabinet table. Minister Guergis was also named as an inspiring leader, particularly for women across the political spectrum who aspire to make a contribution in the political arena, in the October 2009 edition of Flare for her commitment to Equal Voice Canada.

Prior to her election, Minister Guergis owned a small business for seven years. Minister Guergis served as political staff for eight and half years as well as Vice President for the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario.

Minister Guergis also volunteered with the Barrie Rape Crisis Centre and contributed to fundraising efforts for a local food bank for several years.  She has also been a literacy tutor for seniors.  

She is married to Rahim Jaffer.

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