Senator Elaine McCoy is a lawyer and former Alberta cabinet minister with over forty years' professional experience in regulation and policy development in both the private and public sectors. She was appointed to the Senate of Canada by the Rt. Hon. Paul Martin on March 24, 2005, during the 100 th anniversary of Alberta's entry into Confederation.
Senator McCoy was born in Brandon, Manitoba although throughout her childhood she frequently moved with her family across Canada and overseas following various military postings. After completing a BA and LLB at the University of Alberta, Senator McCoy pursued a career in law as senior legal counsel for the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board and as counsel for TransAlta Utilities Corporation.
Senator McCoy was asked by Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed to run in Calgary West as his replacement upon his retirement from provincial politics. She won the seat in 1986 and was immediately named to cabinet as Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs and Minister responsible for Women's Issues. Senator McCoy created the Insurance Council of Alberta, restructured the Alberta Securities Commission, and introduced a variety of new policies to protect consumers and to recognize foreign credentials. In 1989, Senator McCoy was appointed as Alberta's Minister of Labour as well as Minister responsible for human rights and for Alberta's civil service. She set up an Alberta Human Rights commission inquiry which was responsible for investigating and eliminating supremacist activity in the province. Senator McCoy was also keen to shed light on family violence and spearheaded the Lake Louise Declaration which was Alberta's first action plan designed to fight violence against women. The Declaration was adopted by all Ministers responsible for women's issues across Canada.
Elaine McCoy is an important part of Calgary's environmental and charitable communities. She is President of the Macleod Institute which is known for its expertise on environmental management and program evaluations. While at the Macleod Institute, she authored the influential Bow Corridor Regional Mobility Strategy. Elaine McCoy is a past President of the Sir Winston Churchill Society and former Vice Chair of Climate Change Central, a multi stakeholder organization designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Alberta.
Since being appointed to the Senate, Senator McCoy has been an influential voice for the role of the individual Senator, for effective Senate modernization and for an inclusive federation. She broke new ground with her website, www.albertasenator.ca, as the first member of the Senate of Canada who regularly blogged on her experiences in Ottawa as well as political issues of the day. Also on her website, she pioneered Brains Trust, a collection of vignettes capturing highlights of the Senate's activities, and the impact they have had over the past 20 years or so.
Elaine McCoy has sat as an independent since the day she was appointed, although she also carried the designation 'Progressive Conservative' for some years to honour her political roots in Alberta. In March 2016, she became a founding member and the first Facilitator of the pathbreaking Independent Non-Partisan Working Group. Three months later, Senator McCoy was elected as the first Facilitator of the newly formed Independent Senators Group of the Senate of Canada.