Kathleen Finlay is CEO of The Center for Patient Protection. She founded The Center after a horrific hospital experience which saw her elderly mother subjected to a record number of medical errors and a cardiac arrest following a serious breakdown in care at Canada’s largest teaching hospital. After becoming the voice for her mother in seeking safer care, she became the voice for countless patients and families around the world who have known the same kind of suffering, or are seeking ways to avoid it.
In the seven years since The Center’s inception, Kathleen’s inspiring writing, tireless advocacy for the most vulnerable in the healthcare setting and groundbreaking ideas for improving patient safety have made her a much‐quoted figure in the patient safety movement.
A particular focus of her research and advocacy has included the design and use of true 21st‐century patient and family engagement practices to combat medical errors and the role that the collective wisdom of patient and family experiences plays in helping providers to achieve better outcomes.
Kathleen is a fearless champion of eliminating gender‐based barriers that prevent women from obtaining the quality of care they need. She founded the Safer Women Health Initiative to raise awareness about the life‐altering healthcare practices and outcomes that see too many women harmed — just because they are women.
Kathleen’s work also focuses on the serious and underreported impacts on women’s emotional and physical health caused by sexual violence and sexual harassment.
She is a vigorous advocate of a healthcare culture that is open, respectful and supportive of patients and families, where apology and explanations for medical breakdowns become common, and the deny and defend form of institutional betrayal that still occurs in the aftermath of medical harm becomes a thing of the past.
Her professional work has also focused on strengthening transparency and accountability mechanisms as they relate to patient safety, professional misconduct and the handling by the regulated health professions disciplinary and appeal bodies of patient complaints, including physician sexual misconduct and sexual abuse.
Kathleen operates the only online outreach clinic of its kind, which over the years has answered the call of thousands of patients and families worldwide who are seeking help in navigating through the healthcare barriers that often deprive them of the answers they need in the face of unexplained or unaccounted for medical failures. While those who have reached out to her have typically been the most vulnerable in the healthcare setting, especially the elderly and the financially disadvantaged, they have also included nurses and doctors who have been personally devastated by their experiences. Kathleen has never charged any patient or family member for this support.
Alarmed about the serious and often life‐threatening shortcomings that exist in the way women receive medical care, Kathleen created The Safer Women Health Initiative™ to raise awareness about specific diagnostic, cultural and communication obstacles women face that compromise their medical condition.
A long‐time champion of equality, Kathleen is founder of The ZeroNow Campaign™ which supports and advocates for victims of sexual violence and sexual harassment, and spearheads initiatives with governments and policy makers to reduce sexual misconduct and its impact.
The ZeroNow Campaign™ supports victims through all stages of their experience and healing journey, using the combined narratives of survivors to empower victims in their recovery. Through its fearless advocacy and bold bar‐raising initiatives, The ZeroNow Campaign™ makes a significant difference in the lives of everyday women every day.
Kathleen’s advocacy work before the House of Commons in 2018 led the Canadian government to adopt key changes in the handling of sexual violence and sexual harassment (Bill C‐65) in federally regulated entities, along with a sunlight provision to improve the disclosure and transparency of incident statistics. She was called upon to advise the Canadian Senate on the legislation and her work has been cited in debates in the House of Commons.
Known for her signature skills in strategic communication and policy innovation, Kathleen held senior positions in intergovernmental affairs, finance and the regulation of Canada’s capital markets. Over two decades, she advised cabinet ministers and top government officials on the review and development of major policy initiatives and legislation, including the creation of the flagship legislation that saw the Ontario Securities Commission transitioned to a self‐funding body. She was subsequently sought out to join the OSC’s executive management team, where she also held responsibility for the coordination of national securities regulation.
She holds a B.A. (Hons) from Victoria University and an M.A. with first class standing from the University of Toronto. Kathleen is a published author on Ontario legislative history. Earlier in her professional career she provided lead research for the best‐selling Canada and the Reagan Challenge, considered one of the foremost contemporary studies of Canada-U.S. relations, and contributed major research for the iconic political best‐seller, Grits: An Intimate Portrait of the Liberal Party.
Kathleen’s authentic and passionate voice have made her a sought‐after commentator in the media. Since 2012, she has been a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and has written op‐ed pieces for The Hill Times, Now Magazine and the Times Colonist. She recently appeared on the CTV National News and the Global Radio Network.Contact Kathleen Finlay Now