Laurel Broten

President & CEO, Nova Scotia Business Inc.

Laurel Broten is the President and CEO of Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI), the agency responsible for investment attraction and export development for the Province of Nova Scotia, Canada. She is the first female to hold this position in the history of the organization. Since taking the helm in 2015, she has led the agency’s transformation, attracting over 90 investments, increasing average export sales and the number of exporters, approving over 250 film funding commitments, and working with 160 businesses of diversity.

Having served in highly visible public leadership positions, Laurel’s background experiences include fiscal responsibility, economic inclusion, environmental sustainability, strong public services, and global connectivity. She is a seasoned executive, public policy expert, former senior Ontario Cabinet Minister, lawyer, legislator and advocate.

From 2013 to 2015, as President and CEO of Broten Public Policy International Inc., Laurel provided strategic advice on complex public policy challenges, change management and government transformation to clients in Canada and abroad, including conducting a comprehensive review of Nova Scotia’s taxes and regulations. Her recommendations, identified in Charting a Path for Growth, continue to have direct impact on the economic growth of Nova Scotia.

From 2003 until 2013, Laurel served in a number of senior roles in the Government of Ontario, including Minister of Education, Minister of Children and Youth Services, Minister of the Environment, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues, Vice-chair of Treasury Board/Management Board, and Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier, to the Minister of Health and Long-term Care and to the Minister of Energy.

After graduating with distinction with her Juris Doctor from the University of Western Ontario, Laurel clerked at the Supreme Court of Canada for Madam Justice Claire L’Heureux-Dubé. Laurel then practiced as a commercial and civil litigation lawyer with three leading Canadian law firms until her election to government in 2003.

For more than 25 years, Laurel has driven positive change and real results in some of the most pressing and challenging areas facing our communities, notably: child poverty, children and youth mental health, the residential school legacy, bullying and homophobia in schools, domestic violence, sexual abuse, misogyny, climate change, environmental degradation, economic inclusion, and the sustainability of our public services.

Laurel has engaged in communities across the region, as well as nationally, by serving as a director with several boards. She currently serves on the boards of the International Women’s Forum – Atlantic, Prince’s Trust Canada, the Prosperity Project, the Public Policy Forum of Canada, and Roots of Empathy. Since 2019, Laurel has been a part-time lecturer with Dalhousie University’s Schulich School of Law, focused on law and public policy.

Laurel has been the recipient of several awards, including Atlantic Business Magazine’s Top 50 CEOs; Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 — CIBC Trailblazers and Trendsetters; the Women in Communication and Technology Gamechanger Award; and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Laurel, her husband, and twin teenaged sons live in Halifax, Nova Scotia.