Deb was elected by the residents of London North Centre to the Ontario Legislature in 2003 and re-elected in 2007 and 2011.
She was appointed Minister of Health and Long-Term Care in October 2009 and since that time, Deb led a major initiative to reduce the cost of prescription generic drugs – and, she spearheaded The Excellent Care for All Act which was passed unanimously in the Legislative Assembly. This Act will transform our health care system – through better value for taxpayer investments in higher quality care. It has been said that this Act could be the single most important piece of health care legislation since the creation of our publicly-funded health system.
Previously, Deb served as the Minister of Children and Youth, the Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues and the Chair of the Cabinet Committee on Poverty Reduction.
Deb led the development of Breaking the Cycle, a strategy focused on raising the standard of living for all children in Ontario and reducing the number of children living in poverty by 25% in 5 years - and she was recognized as the driving force behind the historic Ontario Child Benefit.
In 2009, Deb introduced the Poverty Reduction Act. When it was unanimously passed in the legislature, the Act became a permanent government commitment to poverty reduction.
Throughout her life Deb has been actively involved in the London community. She served as president of the Big Sisters of London and coordinated the capital campaign for the Boys and Girls Club of London. She has been a volunteer with many London organizations including the Thames Valley Children’s Centre, the Canadian Institute for the Blind, Orchestra London and the Salvation Army.
For her outstanding work for social justice, Deb was awarded the 2007 Political Award of Merit by the Social Work Doctors’ Colloquium. She was nominated by A.B. Lucas Secondary School and acknowledged by the Thames Valley District School Board as an Individual who Inspires Excellence. When she was teaching here at Western, she was honoured twice by the Students’ Council with a place on the Teaching Honour Roll. In March 2010, she was recognized as an Outstanding Woman of the Year by the Hamilton Road Business Association Ealing Girls Club.
Deb 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, where she completed her Ph D. in Social Demography. She has three children and four grandchildren.