Deborah Drake Matthews

Senior Fellow

Deb was born and raised in London, Ontario, the third of six children. She lived in London throughout her life until she moved to Toronto in 2018, where she now resides.

Deb was elected to the Ontario Legislature representing London North Centre in 2003, and served as a Member of Provincial Parliament until 2018.  She held a range of ministerial portfolios, including Deputy Premier, Children and Youth Services, Poverty Reduction, Health and Long-Term Care, President of the Treasury Board and Advanced Education and Skills Development. In each portfolio, she applied a social justice lens in combination with a commitment to evidence-based decision-making.

Her proudest accomplishments from her political life include being a driving force behind the Ontario Child Benefit, which helped reduce the number of children living in poverty by 50%.

Another proud accomplishment was the transformation of OSAP, the Ontario Student Assistance Plan.  As a result of those changes, hundreds of thousands of people were able to afford a post-secondary education.

Deb earned a PhD (2005) from Western University in Social Demography, with an interest in the impact of immigration on Canada.

She currently serves on the Board of the University Health Network Foundation, is a senior fellow at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and acts as a consultant in the health sector.

Deb is mother of three adult children and nana to five.