A counsel with the Fasken Martineau law firm from 1995 to 2007, the Honourable Céline Hervieux-Payette graduated with a law degree from the University of Montreal in 1973. Summoned to the Senate in 1995, she was a member of various committees, as well as co-chair of the Joint Committee on Scrutiny of Regulations.
She was the first woman Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, a post that she held from January 2007 to November 2008. On October 2007, she was appointed Lieutenant and Chief Organizer of Québec until November 2008. In April 2009, she became the first woman elected as vice-chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce. In October 2010, she was elected vice-chair of the National Liberal Women’s Caucus.
Recruited as a project manager by the office of Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa in 1973, she went on to serve as a several seniors positions with the Quebec government until 1979. During this time, she was elected to the le Gardeur School Board, serving as Commissioner and then President for a total of six years.
Making the jump to the private sector in 1978, she joined Steinberg, Inc., as director of public relations, before being elected as Member of Parliament in the riding of Montreal-Mercier in 1979. At first Parliamentary Secretary to the Solicitor General of Canada, she was subsequently appointed Minister of State for Fitness and Amateur Sports in 1983, and then Minister of State for Youth in 1984.
Defeated in the 1984 federal election, she returned to the private sector as vice president, Business Ventures, with the SNC Group from 1985 to 1989. In 1991, she was appointed Vice-President for Regulatory and Legal Affairs for the telecommunications company Fonorola, a position she held until her appointment to the Senate in 1995.
Since 1985, Senator Hervieux-Payette has been a board member with several private companies and non-profit organizations. As a member of the Canadian and Quebec Bars, she works with numerous organizations in the business and international relations sectors.
A dedicated practitioner of parliamentary diplomacy, Senator Hervieux-Payette has been President of the Canada-Mexico Friendship Group, Vice-President of the Canadian Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, as well as founding member and President of the Inter-parliamentary Forum of the Americas, which includes 35 member countries.