Deb Matthews

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The Honourable
Deb Matthews
Member of Provincial Parliament
Assumed office
October 2, 2003
Preceded by Dianne Cunningham
Constituency London North Centre
Personal details
Born 1953 (age 60–61)
London, Ontario
Political party Liberal
Residence London

Deborah Drake Matthews (born c. 1953) is a politician in Ontario, Canada currently serving as Deputy Premier of Ontario, and President of the Treasury Board. Prior to this appointment following the 2014 election, she played a high-profile role in the governments of Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne as Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. [1]

She is a member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, representing the riding of London North Centre for the Ontario Liberal Party since 2003.


Matthews was born in London North Centre and graduated from St. George’s Public School and A.B. Lucas Secondary School. She studied at the University of Western Ontario.

Family life[edit]

Deb Matthews is the third of nine children born to Donald Jeune Matthews, former president of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. Her mother is Joyce Eleanor Matthews. She is the sister of Shelley Peterson, wife of former Ontario Premier David Peterson, and the granddaughter of John Henry (Jack) Matthews, the former Mayor of Brantford, Ontario who ran as a CCF candidate. Matthews has three children and four grandchildren.

Work history[edit]

Before entering politics, Matthews held a number of positions in various fields. She has experience in the business community, the construction industry, fundraising in the non-profit sector and teaching at the University of Western Ontario. Matthews was honoured twice on the University Students' Council Teaching Honour Roll at the University of Western Ontario.

Community involvement[edit]

Matthews is actively involved in numerous community activities in London. This includes Orchestra London and the Thames Valley Children's Centre. Matthews also served on the advisory boards for the Salvation Army and the Canadian National Institute for the Blind and as board member and president of the Big Sisters of London. In 1995–96, Matthews served as the fundraising co-coordinator for the Boys’ and Girls’ Club of London.


In 2006, Matthews earned her PhD in social demography at the University of Western Ontario. Her dissertation was entitled "Consequences of immigrant concentration in Canada, 2001–2051."[2]


Matthews has been involved in the Liberal Party since 1975, when she helped run Peterson's campaign in the old riding of London Centre. She co-chaired the Liberal Party's provincial campaigns in the elections of 1987 and 1995. Matthews was elected as President of the Ontario Liberal Party in 2003 and held the post until resigning in late 2006.

In the 2003 election, Matthews defeated Progressive Conservative cabinet minister Dianne Cunningham by almost 7,000 votes. Her riding includes significant portions of the London Centre riding once represented by her brother-in-law.

On October 23, 2003, she was appointed parliamentary assistant to Sandra Pupatello, Ontario's Minister of Community and Social Services.

In the 2007 election, Matthews defeated Progressive Conservative Rob Alder by over 10,000 votes. She served as Ontario's Minister of Children and Youth Services and Minister Responsible for Women's Issues from October 2007 to October 2009.

On December 4, 2008, Matthews introduced Ontario's Poverty Reduction Strategy as chair of the Cabinet Committee on Poverty Reduction. The long-term reduction plan set a target to reduce the number of children living in poverty by 25 per cent over 5 years.

On October 7, 2009, Matthews was named Minister of Health and Long-Term Care to replace David Caplan.[3]

In the 2011 election, Matthews defeated Progressive Conservative Nancy Branscombe by over 6,000 votes. She was reappointed as Minister of Health and Long-Term Care on October 20, 2011.

In 2012, Matthews came under pressure because of revelations at Ornge, Ontario's air ambulance service. Members of the opposition Progressive Conservative and New Democratic parties called for her to resign. In response to the revelations at Ornge, Matthews announced an OPP investigation.[4][5]

During the Liberal Party leadership race in 2013, she was an early supporter of Kathleen Wynne's candidacy to lead the party.

Following the 2014 election, Matthews was shuffled from Health to a revamped role as President of the Treasury Board, where she will be front and centre in the government's bid to return to budgetary balance by 2017-2018. She served for almost 5 years as Health Minister, where she managed to keep annual health spending increases to under 2% a year, but was criticized for revelations of mismanagement at ORNGE and watered down chemotherapy medication that came to light in 2013.

Electoral record[edit]

Ontario general election, 2011
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Deb Matthews 19,157 43.81% -2.86%
Progressive Conservative Nancy Branscombe 12,628 28.88% +4.40%
New Democratic Steve Holmes 9,875 22.58% +6.07%
Green Kevin Labonte 1,512 3.46% -8.88%
Ontario general election, 2007
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Deb Matthews 21,669 46.7% +3.27%
Progressive Conservative Rob Alder 11,366 24.5% -4.42%
New Democratic Steve Holmes 7,667 16.5% -8.03%
Green Brett McKenzie 5,730 12.3% +10.62%
Ontario general election, 2003
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Deb Matthews 20,212 43.43% +22.54%
Progressive Conservative Dianne Cunningham 13,460 28.92% -11.29%
New Democratic Rebecca Coulter 11,414 24.53% -11.93%
Green Bronagh Joyce Morgan 780 1.68% +0.88%
Family Coalition Craig Smith 432 0.93% -0.09%
Freedom Lisa Turner 242 0.52% +0.18%

Table of offices held[edit]

Provincial Government of Kathleen Wynne
Cabinet Posts (2)
Predecessor Office Successor
Dwight Duncan Deputy Premier of Ontario
February 11, 2013–
Wynne Government Starts Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
February 11, 2013–July 2nd, 2014
Eric Hoskins
Provincial Government of Dalton McGuinty
Cabinet Posts (2)
Predecessor Office Successor
David Caplan Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
McGuinty Government Ended
Mary Anne Chambers Minister of Children and Youth Services
Laurel Broten


External links[edit]