Christine Burton has lived in the Wood Buffalo region with her family for 20 years and is an active volunteer and community leader. Christine has a BA (Hons) from the University of Toronto, most of a Master degree and a law degree from Osgoode Hall. She has used her education to build a wealth of experience in international issues, community development, policy, governance and legal issues. She has worked with aboriginal communities in the N.W.T and the Wood Buffalo region non-profit organizations across Canada, indigenous communities in Cambodia and South Africa, and all aspects of the political process both in Canada and abroad. She has worked as an Ontario Crown Prosecutor, political assistant to the Ontario Attorney General, international election expert, lawyer and manager for stakeholder relations and aboriginal affairs. She was elected as a Regional Councilor to the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo in 2012 and is the same year started a highly successful retail food business in Fort McMurray.
After Law School, Christine worked for the United Nations in Cambodia and South Africa – working on human and civic rights and setting up democratic elections.
After marrying Julio, a Colombian peacekeeper she met in Cambodia, the couple moved to Fort McMurray in 1995 where Christine was called to the Alberta bar and practiced law for four years before taking on a position as Manager with regulatory and legal affairs with Suncor Energy. Christine worked for Suncor for almost 10 years and developed further expertise in consultation, issues management, risk communications, multi-stakeholder processes, First Nations and Metis issues and community investment and development. In this role, she worked on a wide range of regional issues and was a frequent speaker at conferences and workshops across North America. Christine left Suncor to set up a consulting legal practice.
Christine sits on many Non-profit Boards in the Wood Buffalo region. She is past Chair and founding director of the HUB Family Resource Centres, Chair and founding director of the Wood Buffalo Wellness Society (operating the Mark Amy Addictions Treatment Centre), Chair and founding director of the Arts Council Wood Buffalo, founding director on the Wood Buffalo Artists Forum and Deputy Chair and founding member of the RMWB Combative Sports Commission. She also heads up the Penhorwood Condo Association – a task she took on after 7 condo buildings were evacuated permanently in May 2011. In this capacity, she also chairs the Litigation Committee directing a $60 million lawsuit against 28 defendants. Christine was the recipient of the 2010 and 2011 Heart of Wood Buffalo award for non-profit governance and social profit leadership and the 2013 Women of Influence award for Wood Buffalo.
Christine is also involved in issues affecting new immigrants, refugees and foreign workers. She has conducted free notary public clinics once a month with the YMCA Immigrant Settlement office since 2007.
As an artist, Christine is passionate about the arts and has worked to support visual artists and develop arts and culture in the Wood Buffalo region. She helped set up the first Community Art Gallery, established the regional Arts Council and successfully advocated for a public art program.
Christine is also an advocate for women’s health, particularly midwifery and breastfeeding, and has lobbied for midwifery regulation in Alberta since 1996. She and a dedicated group of community women are forming the Wood Buffalo Midwifery Association and are lobbying the new provincial government for midwifery funding to set up a practice in Wood Buffalo. The group’s long term goals are to also establish a birthing centre and mother and child wellness centre.
Christine’s practice will focus on Family, Immigration, Corporate, Real Estate, Wills and Estates, and Employment and Personal Injury.