A lawyer and author, Renée Dupuis was appointed to the Senate of Canada as an Independent Senator in November 2016.
Ms. Dupuis is a member of the Barreau du Québec and specializes in human rights, law in regard to Aboriginal peoples and administrative law. She is also accredited in civil and commercial mediation with the Barreau du Québec.
Ms. Dupuis served as Vice-President of the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse du Québec from August 2011 to October 2016 and was appointed Honorary Witness of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. From 2003 to 2009, Ms. Dupuis chaired the Indian Specific Claims Commission, a federal commission of inquiry and mediation. Over the course of her career, Ms. Dupuis has served as counsel to a number of Quebec First Nations groups and consulted on Indigenous issues with the federal and Quebec governments. She also has significant experience in bilateral and multilateral negotiations with the federal and provincial governments.
Ms. Dupuis was also a member of the Canadian Human Rights Act Review Panel in 2000 and served as a commissioner with the Canadian Human Rights Commission (1989-1995), where she took a special interest in such issues as discrimination against women, sexual harassment, pay equity and employment equity. The Canadian Human Rights Commission published a study that Ms. Dupuis was asked to conduct on the handling of sexual harassment complaints (1997). Over the past 30 years, she has been involved both professionally and as a volunteer in training initiatives for women and women’s organizations.
From 2010 to 2011, Ms. Dupuis sat on the joint working group of the Barreau du Québec−Collège des Médecins du Québec that studied the right to die with dignity. She chaired the Barreau du Québec committee on Law in regard to Aboriginal peoples from 2002 to 2011.
Ms. Dupuis has volunteered with many women’s support groups, including the Relevailles, where she has been a volunteer for 10 years. She was also a member of the collective that established the Centre de Santé des femmes de Québec.
Ms. Dupuis was involved in the research program of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples and produced a number of studies for the commission between 1992 and 1995. In 1995, the Royal Commission published a report she co-authored entitled Canada’s Fiduciary Obligation to Aboriginal Peoples in the Context of Accession to Sovereignty by Quebec.
Ms. Dupuis was a lecturer in administrative law at the École nationale d’administration publique, where she also designed and produced training programs on human rights and the development of democratic institutions for senior officials in member countries of the Francophonie.
Her professional accomplishments and personal commitment have been honoured on many occasions. Ms. Dupuis became a Member of the Order of Canada in 2005. In 2012, she was awarded the Barreau du Québec Medal and, from Laval University, an honorary doctorate of law.
The Barreau du Québec also designated Ms. Dupuis Lawyer Emeritus, a distinction it established in 2007, and presented her with the Christine Tourigny Award in 2004.
The Fondation du Barreau du Québec awarded Ms. Dupuis its Prix du concours juridique 2001 (monographs) for her publication Le statut juridique des peuples autochtones en droit canadien (Éditions Carswell, 1999). In 2001, she won the Governor General’s Award for non-fiction for her book Quel Canada pour les Autochtones? La fin de l’exclusion (Boréal, 2001), which was later published in English as Justice for Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples (Lorimer Publishers, Toronto, 2002).
Ms. Dupuis’s other publications include Max “One Onti” Gros-Louis, Constance et détermination (Varia, 2008), Tribus, Peuples et Nations (Boréal, 1997) and La question indienne au Canada (Boréal, 1991). Many of her articles have appeared in academic journals and popular magazines, and she has authored a number of publications and delivered many workshops and lectures in Canada and abroad.
Ms. Dupuis was recognized for her significant contribution in Leading the Way: Canadian Women in the Law (Soloway & Costante, Lexis Nexis, 2015). In 2002, she received the YWCA Women of Distinction Award for her personal and professional involvement in advancing women’s issues.