Deb Matthews was elected to the Ontario Legislature by the people of London North Centre in 2003, and re-elected in 2007 and 2011. Following her first re-election, she was appointed Minister of Children and Youth Services and Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues. In October 2009, she was appointed to her current position as Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.
As Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, she led a major initiative to significantly reduce the cost of prescription generic drugs for all Ontarians. As well, she spearheaded the unanimous passage of the Excellent Care for All Act (ECFA). This act is transforming our healthcare system by striving for higher quality care and ensuring better value for taxpayer investments. It has been said ECFA could be the single most important piece of health care legislation since the creation of our publicly-funded health care system.
As Chair of the Cabinet Committee on Poverty Reduction, Deb led the development of Breaking the Cycle, an ambitious strategy to raise the standard of living for all children and reduce the number of children living in poverty by 25% in 5 years and is recognized as being a driving force behind the historic Ontario Child Benefit. She also introduced the Poverty Reduction Act, which legislated an ongoing commitment to poverty reduction. Deb was honoured by the Ontario Municipal Social Services Association with the first Champion of Human Services award in recognition of her work in reducing poverty.
Throughout her life, Deb has been actively involved in community organizations. She served as President of Big Sisters of London, and has volunteered with organizations including the Thames Valley Children’s Centre, the Salvation Army, Orchestra London, and the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. Her annual community book drive has collected tens of thousands of books destined for the eager eyes of young readers.
Her professional experience includes time spent in the construction industry, fundraising for the Boys and Girls Club of London, and teaching at the University of Western Ontario where she was twice honoured with a place on the University Students’ Council Teaching Honour Roll while completing her Ph.D. in Social Demography.
Deb was born in London where she has lived her entire life. She has three children and four grandchildren.
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