First Métis Citizenship Judge | Culture & Community Leader | Speaker
Honourable Suzanne Carrière, Canada's first Métis citizenship judge, stands as a beacon of inspiration, weaving a remarkable story of dedication, empathy, and advocacy. With a career spanning over 13 years in law, including eight years with the federal Department of Justice in Aboriginal Legal Services, Judge Carrière has left an indelible mark on the Canadian legal landscape. In her previous role, she represented Canada in over 200 hearings and settlement interviews with Indian residential school survivors, playing a pivotal role in the dispute resolution process aimed at addressing claims of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse suffered at these schools. Describing this work as life-changing, she brought compassion and empathy to a challenging and historic task.
Judge Carrière's journey reflects her commitment to Indigenous issues, rooted in her upbringing as a proud Red River Métis. Her passion for the culture and community emerged early, and it shaped her career trajectory.
After earning her Bachelor of Laws at the University of Calgary and a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in criminology and psychology at the University of Manitoba, she embarked on a legal career that would become a powerful force for change. In 2018, Suzanne Carrière assumed the role of a citizenship judge at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
As an independent quasi-judicial decision-maker, her responsibilities encompass decision-making on citizenship applications, presiding over citizenship ceremonies, and engaging in promotional outreach activities within the community. In this capacity, she has personally welcomed over 100,000 newcomers into the Canadian family, making her an instrumental figure in the lives of those seeking a new beginning.
Beyond the procedural aspects of her role, Judge Carrière views her position as a platform for advancing reconciliation—a shared responsibility she believes extends to all Canadians, whether Indigenous or non-Indigenous. In June 2021, she made history by presiding over the very first citizenship ceremony using a revised oath of citizenship that recognized the rights of Indigenous Peoples, responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Call to Action #94.
Judge Carrière's dedication extends to her ceremonial duties, where she administers the Oath of Citizenship and witnesses the profound moments of individuals becoming Canadian citizens. The COVID-19 pandemic prompted the shift to virtual ceremonies, where she adapted to the challenges, presiding over hundreds of ceremonies on Zoom.
Her commitment to reconciliation is evident in every aspect of her work, from acknowledging the impact of the Kamloops discovery during ceremonies to wearing her Métis heritage proudly. She embraces the role of being the first Métis and Indigenous citizenship judge, using her platform to foster understanding and compassion among Canadians.
Suzanne Carrière's journey exemplifies the transformative power of individuals who leverage their positions for positive change. As she continues to champion Indigenous issues, reconciliation, and the significance of Canadian citizenship, Judge Carrière stands as a role model, embodying the spirit of inclusivity and shared responsibility in building a better future for all.
Social Media Handles:
LinkedIn: Suzanne Carriere