Former Minister of Environment and Climate Change, addresses Mohawk College graduates at fall convocation
Hon. Catherine McKenna honoured as a Distinguished Fellow of Mohawk College
Mohawk College recognized Hon. Catherine McKenna, former federal minister of environment and climate change, during one of three convocation ceremonies at the college on October 12, 2023. McKenna was honoured as a Distinguished Fellow of Mohawk College.
McKenna is Canada's former Minister of Environment and Climate Change as well as Minister of Infrastructure. She is the Principal of Climate and Nature Solutions, an advisory firm focused on scaling action and financing to tackle the climate crisis. She chaired the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Expert Group on Net-Zero, setting out criteria for net zero commitments of businesses, financial institutions, cities and regions. She is a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Columbia University and founded Women Leading on Climate.
As Canada’s former Minister of Environment and Climate Change, she was a lead negotiator of the Paris Agreement (Article 6 on carbon markets). She successfully negotiated Canada’s first comprehensive climate change plan, including a coal phase-out and a price on carbon across Canada — a policy successfully upheld at the Supreme Court. She brought in Canada's new Impact Assessment Act to review major projects, led efforts to ban single-use plastics, and doubled the amount of nature protected in Canada in partnership with Indigenous Peoples. Internationally she helped establish the Powering Past Coal Coalition, the Ministerial on Climate Action and the Nature Champions Summit.
Originally from Hamilton, Ms. McKenna visited Mohawk College on several occasions during her time in parliament. A strong supporter of the college’s work on Climate Action, in 2018, she publicly voiced her support for Mohawk College and Hamilton when she spoke out against the province’s decision to withdraw funding needed to support the Centre for Climate Change Management and the Bay Area Climate Change Office. She later helped to secure additional funding for these initiatives, including $262,000 in direct support for the Centre for Climate Change Management through the federal government’s Climate Action Fund. She continues to be a friend of the college and recently showed her support for Canadian Colleges for a Resilient Recovery by recording a special welcome message for the consortium’s inaugural meeting.
Mohawk College’s Distinguished Fellows make invaluable contributions to the college through academic advisement and student engagement, community outreach and strategic advisement to the college’s senior leadership team. Participation in the Distinguished Fellow program is by invitation only, with the title conferred and service to the college recognized during Convocation ceremonies.