Minister of Democratic Institutions Karina Gould has made history as the first federal cabinet minister to give birth while in office.

Gould posted a photo to Facebook on Friday showing herself holding her newborn baby boy Oliver alongside her husband Alberto.

“We are grateful to be able to say that everyone is happy and healthy,” she wrote.

Gould, who represents the Ontario riding of Burlington, thanked her midwives and hospital nursing staff and said she looks “forward to returning to work when I am ready.”

“As we join so many other Canadian parents who juggle the responsibilities of career and family, Alberto and I want to thank everyone for their kind words and support,” Gould added.

Nova Scotia MP Scott Brison has temporarily taken on Gould’s portfolio, where her duties include defending the electoral process from cyber threats and reviewing the Access to Information Act.


Welcome to the world, Oliver! My husband, Alberto, and I were thrilled to finally meet our son earlier this week. We are...

Posted by Karina Gould on Friday, March 9, 2018

Liberal Sheila Copps was the first sitting member of Parliament to give birth, in 1987.

A number of high-profile pregnancies in Ottawa have recently renewed the conversation about the difficulties parliamentary parents--particularly women--face when trying to juggle children and their work duties.

MPs do not pay into Employment Insurance and therefore are not entitled to any parental leave. Time off is something expecting MPs have had to work out on a case-by-case basis with party leadership. The Liberals committed in last month’s budget to changing that.

Manitoba MP Niki Ashton, who ran for the New Democratic Party’s leadership while pregnant, has been a particularly vocal proponent of parental leave for parliamentarians.

Ashton, who represents the riding of Churchill-Keewatinook Aski, gave birth to twins in November and was back in Ottawa working by January.

She recently told that even the time she did take off of work wasn’t like a normal parental leave for many other Canadians. “Just because we’re not on Parliament Hill doesn’t necessarily mean we’re not doing the work,” she said.

Ashton said that parental leave for MPs could be different from what is available to the general population. "We should be looking at a bit of a different time frame absolutely, but what I would say is right now there is no recognition… and that’s not good enough,” Ashton said.


Manitoba MP and Conservative House Leader Candice Bergen recently told that parental leave should be no more generous than what other Canadians receive.

"You’re always working, you’re always on, always needing and wanting to meet with people, and to do your job,” said the Portage-Lisgar MP.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was among those congratulating Gould about the birth on Friday. “Welcome, Oliver!” Trudeau said on Twitter. “I can’t wait to meet him.”

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer also offered his congratulations.

With files from Rachel Aiello and The Canadian Press