Deputy Minister of Ontario Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
Deborah Richardson, LL.B, BA is a seasoned intergovernmental affairs executive and Indigenous relationships expert. A business-savvy lawyer, with nearly two decades of private, not-for-profit and public sector experience, Deborah is a true visionary and deal-maker with an abundance of wisdom and experience in addressing inter-governmental affairs matters at all levels of government. Her caring, collaborative style and ability to nurture relationships have demonstrated wide-ranging impacts in the field of Indigenous affairs Canada-wide. A forward thinking, fiscally responsible leader, she has been able to effectively motivate large, diverse teams in rendering her ability to deliver, transform, connect and inspire.
Her distinguished career began as an articling student in a criminal law firm in Ottawa then she jumped into the finance industry where she worked as a business banker before becoming Manager of Diversity for the Royal Bank of Canada.
Over the years, Deborah Richardson has been on the forefront of Indigenous Affairs, spearheading many wide-ranging initiatives benefiting Indigenous youth, addressing poverty in the Far North and improving social conditions in Indigenous communities. Her professional foray into Indigenous Affairs began as Executive Director of the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto in 1999. She used her financial and operational expertise to build the Centre into one of the strongest Aboriginal organizations in Toronto. Much sought after for her operational experience, she then served as Director of Operations and Aboriginal Business Development for the OI Group of Companies located in Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. Beginning and since 2004, Deborah has held progressively senior positions in the federal and provincial public service including Regional Director General for Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Assistant Deputy Minister for the Aboriginal Relationships and Ministerial Partnerships division of the Ontario Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs, and the Assistant Deputy Minister at the Ring of Fire Secretariat at the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines. In 2013, Deborah took a two-year leave of absence from the provincial government to pursue an Executive opportunity in the private sector with a company based out of Akwesasne First Nation called Ishkonigan. She is currently the Deputy Minister of Ontario Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation since her appointment in January 2015. She has been recognized as a Top Leader under 40 (in 2008) and was selected for the Governor General in Leadership Program.
Deborah is a proud Mi’gmaq woman with strong ties to her home community of Pabineau First Nation on the north shore of New Brunswick. She lives with her husband Bob, and her daughters Jasmine and Fiona. She also has three step children: Katherine Faith, Griffin and Miigwans.