CTV National News describes Kathleen Finlay as “another modern thinker who can save lives.”
Whether in the public arena, on op-ed pages or advocating before Parliamentary committees, Kathleen Finlay has been an unwavering voice for the right of women to be free from sexual violence, harassment and discrimination wherever they live, work or learn, and for innovative policies to combat the trauma of emotional harm. She is founder of The Zer0Now Campaign™, which is the only organization of its kind to champion changes in law and corporate practices, provide one-to-one support to victims through its online outreach clinic and support survivors of sexual and mental health trauma on their healing path to recovery.
Kathleen’s particular focus is the subject of institutional betrayal and the need to replace systemic harm too often inflicted on vulnerable victims wth what she calls institutional compassion. It is a subject on which she has been widely published and quoted. Her work has been cited in debates in the House of Commons and on the floor of the Ontario Legislative Assembly. In 2019, MPP Nathalie Des Rosiers championed Kathleen’s recommendations for advancing trauma-informed practices, and victim-friendly policies for all entities of the Ontario government, including the Office of Premier. Her ground-breaking recommendations to curb workplace harassment at the federal level, including a Sunshine law for disclosure by governments of sexual misconduct statistics, first raised in her HuffPost columns and in The Zer0Now Campaign’s™ Call for Action, were adopted in amendments to Bill C-65 in 2018. The government of Manitoba also adopted the sunshine law proposal. Kathleen frequently advocates before committees of the House of Commons and has professionally advised members of Canada’s senate.
In 2019, the federal government responded to her call to create a national action plan to combat gender-based violence. It also adopted her frequently voiced recommendations that it address gender-based gaps in access to healthcare and treatment. Kathleen has urged the federal government to appoint an officer of Parliament to ensure independence of investigations of complaints about sexual misconduct in the RCMP, Canadian military and throughout the federal public service. The commissioner would investigate all forms of gender-based violence and sexual harassment, as well as propose policies to mitigate gender-based harm that too often occurs in society.
A much-quoted expert in patient safety from the patient and family perspective, Kathleen is CEO of The Center for Patient Protection, an internationally recognized healthcare advocacy empowering patients and families to achieve safer care in the hospital setting and providing policy initiatives to ensure greater safety and transparency in the healthcare system.
Using her signature skills in policy development and regulatory innovation honed through decades of public service after graduate school, Kathleen’s work now embraces other challenging areas that require outside-the-box thinking, including improved mental health delivery and suicide prevention. Kathleen brings both the passion and experience of the survivor’s voice — her own, and those of countless others she has helped over the years who have shared their stories in ways that have forged a unique knowledge base of lived experiences that is an indispensable learning tool for every compassion-driven organization.
Recognized by CTV National News anchor Lisa LaFlamme as “another modern thinker who can save lives,” Kathleen launched a campaign to bring innovation to the public health crisis of suicide. Her plan calls for the federal government to adopt 9-8-8 as a new, easy-to-remember three-digit dialing code for Canada’s national suicide prevention hotline. CTV National News called her proposal “three numbers that could make all the difference in saving lives.” After her tireless campaign, including frequent media appearances, to gain widespread acceptance of the idea she first introduced to Canada in 2019, the Canadian House of Commons unanimously endorsed the proposal in late 2020. Kathleen is also calling for a national discussion to rebuild Canada’s compassion infrastructure, particularly in light of the glaring fault lines in care and support for the most vulnerable in society which became apparent during the pandemic.
Recognizing from her own experience, and that of countless survivors who have reached out over the years, that a job is too frequently a casualty of coming forward about sexual misconduct, Kathleen created a program to work with organizations to provide a trauma-informed and supportive path for rebuilding survivor careers. The program, called Hire Us Back, has been adopted by several major organizations in the United States, including a leading university.
For many years, Kathleen held senior positions in public finance and intergovernmental affairs, where her work took her into the highest levels of government and interaction with members of Ontario’s cabinet. She was a member of the executive management team of one of Canada’s major financial regulators, where her responsibilities included coordination of capital markets regulation among Canada’s 13 securities commissions.
Leading media platforms, including the Wall Street Journal, CTV News and the CBC frequently turn to Kathleen for expert commentary on breaking news stories. Her op-ed columns regularly appear in the Hill Times and have been featured on the CBC’s website, in the Ottawa Citizen and in other leading comment pages. She is a frequent guest on the CTV News Channel and has appeared on CBC’s “The National” and “Go Public.” Earlier in her career, Kathleen contributed research and writing to best-selling books on Canadian politics and she is the author of a volume on Ontario legislative history. She holds a BA (Hons) from Victoria University in the University of Toronto and an MA from the School of Graduate Studies, University of Toronto.
CTV National News interview with Kathleen Finlay on Three Numbers that Could Make All the Difference