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Erin O’Toole is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Durham in Ontario, Canada. He was elected to Canada’s Parliament in a by-election in 2012 and re-elected at the 2015 general election. He currently serves as the Official Opposition Critic for Public Safety. Previously, he served as the Minister of Veterans Affairs.
Born in Montreal, Erin was raised in Bowmanville and Port Perry, Ontario as the oldest of five children. After graduation from Bowmanville High School in 1991, he joined the Canadian Forces and enrolled at the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) in Kingston. He graduated from the RMC in 1995 with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and was commissioned as an officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).
Erin’s first posting with the RCAF was at 8 Wing in Trenton, Ontario working at the Rescue Coordination Centre on search and rescue operations. He was later posted to 17 Wing in Winnipeg, Manitoba to complete his training as an Air Navigator. He received his wings and in 1997 was posted to 12 Wing in Shearwater, Nova Scotia. Erin flew with 423 Squadron as a Tactical Navigator on the CH-124 (Sea King) Helicopter. The Sea King flew in support of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) conducting anti-submarine, maritime surveillance, search and rescue and naval support operations. Erin sailed with the RCN as part of the air detachment aboard the Canadian frigate HMCS St. John’s.
Training Exercises near Puerto RicoWhile serving at 12 Wing, Erin was promoted to the rank of Captain and later received the Canadian Forces Decoration (C.D.) for 12 years of faithful service to Canada. Erin and members of his Sea King crew received the Sikorsky Helicopter Rescue Award for the rescue of an injured fisherman at sea.
Upon completion of his service in the regular forces in 2000, Erin transferred to the Canadian Forces reserves and attended law school at Dalhousie University in Halifax. He continued to work during law school serving with 406 Squadron as a training officer. Erin graduated from Dalhousie Law School in 2003 (LL.B) and returned to Ontario to practice law.
Following his articles and call to the bar in Ontario, Erin practiced law in a variety of corporate settings giving him a broad understanding of Business issues. He began his career practicing litigation, insolvency and energy regulation at the Toronto office of one of Canada’s largest law firms.
Erin then spent five years as in-house counsel to one of the world’s largest consumer products companies managing all litigation in Canada and advising management on environmental, commercial and Competition issues. The company was also the largest private sector employer in Eastern Ontario so he got a first hand appreciation for issues related to manufacturing, Trade and competitiveness for employers in southern Ontario. He was nominated as a Leader of Tomorrow at the 2009 Canadian General counsel Awards for his work developing a national Brand protection strategy to combat the rise of counterfeit goods.
Before running for office in 2012, Erin had returned to private practice at a national law firm working on corporate and Business development issues for clients in Canada and internationally. He was also a contributing columnist for Marketing magazine writing a column called Rules of Engagement on advertising and strategy.