Bernadette Clement is a lawyer and politician, who has served as Mayor of Cornwall, Ontario, since 2018. Ms. Clement was the first woman to be elected as Mayor of Cornwall and the first Black woman to serve as a mayor in Ontario. Prior to this, she served three terms as city councillor. She is very proud of the fact that her mother, who passed away in 2021, grew up in Manitoba as a Francophone and her father, who is a few months shy of 100 years young, grew up in Trinidad, and that she reflects both Canada’s diversity as well as its linguistic duality.
In 1991, after being called to the Bar of Ontario, Ms. Clement started her legal career with the non-profit corporation Roy McMurtry Legal Clinic, where she still works today. She worked as a lawyer, before serving as Deputy Director for 16 years. She has been the Executive Director since 2017 and, in this role, she continues to practise law focused on representing injured workers and has been an ardent advocate for those less privileged in society. She also taught Ethics and Legalities to health care students part-time at St. Lawrence College from 2001 to 2005. She is a member of the Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Ontario and the Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry Law Association.
Along with her participation on numerous Cornwall City Council committees, including the St. Lawrence River Institute, Ms. Clement has been active in her community. She has been co-chairing the Race Equity Advisory Committee for the Association of Community Legal Clinics of Ontario since 2020, and served as member and Chair of the Maison Baldwin House, a women's shelter, for approximately 15 years. She also volunteered with the Kinsmen Community Residence and the Cornwall and District Immigrant Services Agency, and was a member and the Chair, for over 20 years, of Inspire Community Support Services, a counselling agency providing support for families and persons with disabilities.
Ms. Clement is a recipient of a Cornwall District and Labour Council award for outstanding service to injured workers and a Legal Aid Ontario GEM award for outstanding achievement.
Ms. Clement holds degrees in Civil Law and Common Law from the University of Ottawa.