Mayor Jim Watson presented the Key to the City to Maureen McTeer at a ceremony at City Hall this evening, in recognition of her strong advocacy and support of gender equality in Canada, her commitment to the defence of women’s health, care, and reproductive rights, and her outstanding accomplishment as a best-selling author.
Born in Ottawa and raised in Cumberland, Ms. McTeer is a distinguished lawyer and an adjunct professor of health law at the University of Ottawa. She is dedicated to fighting for gender equality and advocating for better health care. Her work has been recognized with a Governor General's Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case and a DIVA Award for Outstanding Contributions to Women's Health and Well-Being.
Ms. McTeer volunteers with several organizations, including the Commission on Pollution and Health, the White Ribbon Alliance, the Canadian Osteoporosis Society, the Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies and the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada.
A best-selling author, Ms. McTeer has written four books, including a memoir. She is currently working on her first novel and a collection of short stories.
“Maureen McTeer has spent much of her life working to improve the quality of life of others. She has been a champion for women’s health issues and a dedicated advocate for gender equality. She is an expert on law, science and public policy with impressive academic credentials and our City is richer for having her here.”
Ottawa Mayor, Jim Watson
The Key to the City
- The Key to the City is Ottawa’s most prestigious award.
- An ornamental key is presented to esteemed residents, visitors and others whom the City wishes to honour. This practice evokes medieval walled cities, the gates of which would be guarded during the day and locked at night. The key symbolizes the freedom of the recipient to enter and leave the city at will, as a trusted friend of residents.
- Previous recipients include:
- Figure skater Patrick Chan
- Former politician Paul W. Dewar
- Organ donor advocate Hélène Campbell
- President and CEO f the National Arts Centre Peter A. Herrndorf
- The Right Honourable David Johnston and Mrs. Sharon Johnston
- Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth (now Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II)
- Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands
- Author Margaret Atwood
- Photographers Yousuf and Malak Karsh
- The Community Foundation of Ottawa
- Actress Sandra Oh
- Former Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson
- The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, former Chief Justice of Canada
- Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek
- Journalist Michel Picard
Biography – Maureen McTeer
Born in Ottawa and raised near Cumberland, Maureen McTeer is a distinguished lawyer and author, and an adjunct professor of health law at the University of Ottawa. As an expert on law, science and public policy, Ms. McTeer has lectured at universities in Ottawa, Calgary, British Columbia, California and Washington. She has presented at several conferences on women’s equality and domestic violence.
For more than four decades, Ms. McTeer has been an advocate for gender equality in Canada and a role model for women at home and abroad. She has advocated for greater public funding for women’s health care and defended women’s health and reproductive rights.
Ms. McTeer has published four best-selling books, including a historical book about the residences of Canada’s leaders, a book for students on Canada’s parliamentary system, a personal memoir and a law and policy book on ethical and legal challenges raised by science and technology. She is currently writing her first novel and a book of short stories.
Ms. McTeer has focussed on major projects of democratic reform. She was a founder and the first chairperson of the Canadian Bar Association’s Eastern and Central European Legal Internship Programs, which, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, brought young lawyers and judges from Europe to Canada.
Ms. McTeer has volunteered with many organizations, including the Commission on Pollution and Health, the Canadian Nurses Association, the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada, the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools, the Trudeau Foundation, the Board of Governors of the University of Ottawa, the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, the Calgary International Organ Festival, the White Ribbon Alliance, the Canadian Osteoporosis Society, the Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies and the Shirley E. Greenberg Women’s Health Centre.