Swift has a background with the Canadian federal government from 1976 to 1983, in the Departments of Consumer and Corporate Affairs, Industry and Communications. She was Senior Economist with the Toronto-Dominion Bank from 1983 to 1987.
Swift joined the Canadian Federation of Independent Business as Chief Economist in 1987. She became President in 1995, CEO in 1997, and Chair in June 1999. For the CFIB, Swift coordinated policy issues at the federal and provincial level, and she represented CFIB to government and civil society members. From 2009 to 2014 she was the President of the International Small Business Congress, representing the interests of small- and medium-sized businesses globally.
As the head of CFIB, she was widely published in journals, magazines and other media on issues such as free trade, finance, entrepreneurship and issues facing small business owners, particularly female entrepreneurs. She contributed the article in The Canadian Encyclopedia entitled Small Business, and wrote for Canadian newspaper, The Globe and Mail, and the National Post, among others, about small business issues.
- "Catherine Swift steps down as CFIB president". Wallace Immen. The Globe and Mail, June 7, 2012
- "Catherine Swift resigns from C.D. Howe institute over her involvement in attack ads on Trudeau". National Post, May 26, 2015
- "Board of Directors « Canadian Youth Business Foundation". Cybf.ca. Archived from the original on 2013-07-18. Retrieved 2013-08-04.
- "Our Board of Directors". Soschildrensvillages.ca. 2013-07-15. Retrieved 2013-08-04.