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Biography

The Honourable Yonah Martin is a Conservative Senator from British Columbia, appointed by The Right Hon. Stephen Harper in 2009. She is the first Canadian of Korean descent to serve in the Senate of Canada and the first Korean-Canadian parliamentarian in Canadian history.

She is currently the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (since November 2015); and previously served as the Deputy Leader of the Government (2013-2015); and as Deputy Whip of the Government (2011-2013). Her notable achievements in the Senate include the enactment of her Senate Public Bill (Korean War Veterans Day Act) and adoption of her motion to recognize June as Deaf-blind Awareness Month (June 2013); the successful campaign to add Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Acupuncturists to the schedule of health professionals for GST/HST exemption (April 2014); ‎and as Co-Chair of Canada Korea Interparliamentary Friendship Group (CKIFG), her involvement in the multi-year process to negotiate and eventually implement the historic Canada Korea Free Trade Agreement (January 2015). Born in Seoul, South Korea, Yonah Martin immigrated to Canada in 1972, and has resided in Metro-Vancouver ever since. She earned a Bachelor of Education in 1987 from University of British Columbia and enjoyed a 21-year teaching career (1987-2008) until her appointment to the Senate. She earned a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction in 1996. Martin later co-founded C3 Korean Canadian Society (in 2003) and currently serves as Honorary Patron of C3. She is also the Grand Patron of Korea Veterans Association Heritage Unit (since 2017), and serves on several regional and national boards and advisory councils. Passionate about youth and young adults, Martin established a Parliamentary Internship program in 2011; and launched the UBC Women in House program in 2019, in partnership with the UBC School of Public Policy and Global Affairs.