Bernard Richard was confirmed by the British Columbia Legislature as the province’s second Representative for Children and Youth effective Feb. 16, 2017.
Mr. Richard was previously appointed by the Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth as British Columbia’s Acting Representative for Children and Youth, effective Nov. 27, 2016.
Mr. Richard is a bilingual lawyer whose early career was in social work and as Secretary General of the Société Nationale de l’Acadie. He was elected to the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick, where he served from 1991 to 2003. During this time, he held several cabinet positions and also served as leader of the Official Opposition, Opposition House Leader and chair of the Official Opposition caucus.
In January 2004, Mr. Richard became New Brunswick’s sixth Ombudsman. In November 2006, he was named New Brunswick’s first Child and Youth Advocate. Mr. Richard has chaired the Forum of Canadian Ombudsman, the Canadian Council of Parliamentary Ombudsman and the Association des Ombudsmans et Médiateurs de la Francophonie
Since leaving the Ombudsman position in 2011, Mr. Richard has completed assignments for a variety of organizations, including the New Brunswick Legislative Assembly, the City of Fredericton, the P.E.I. Auditor General and New Brunswick First Nations Chiefs.
Mr. Richard has been the recipient of numerous awards, most notably the Léger-Comeau Medal of the Société Nationale de l’Acadie, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, an Honourary Ph.D from Mount Allison University, the Lieutenant Governor’s Dialogue Award, the Learning Partnership’s Champion of Public Education Award, the New Brunswick Human Rights Award and the designation of Queen’s Counsel.
He is actively involved in several charitable organizations, mostly in the areas of children’s rights, youth mental health and enhanced opportunities for Aboriginal children.