Meet Patrice Barnes

A community champion and passionate advocate for community safety in the Durham Region. As a proud mother of two children who raised her children in Ajax, she has dedicated her life to serving her community in various roles. Currently, Patrice is honored to serve as the MPP for her community of Ajax and to represent its needs and interests on a larger scale.

Patrice also holds several key positions, including Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Education and Second Deputy Chair of the Committee of the Whole House of the Legislature, as well as a member of the Social Policy Committee. Her commitment to making a positive impact doesn’t go unnoticed, as she’s been recognized with awards such as the DBHM Madiba Awards and the Universal Woman’s Network Black Woman in Leadership Award.

Patrice Barnes is project management professional, community organizer, and a public education policy leader currently serving as the Member of Provincial Parliament for Ajax. Patrice was born in Jamaica and immigrated to Canada in her teens, where she pursued her project management education at Centennial College. With over a decade of experience in project management across the private and not-for-profit sectors, Patrice has received several professional accolades, awards, and media mentions. 

Patrice has also made an impact in the field of public education, where she served as a Public-School Trustee on the Durham District School Board (DDSB) for nearly a decade, beginning in 2014. During her tenure on the Board, she held critical leadership positions, including Chair of the Education Finance Committee, the Special Education Committee, Co-Chair of the Diversity Committee, and Vice-Chair of the Board. Patrice has been a passionate advocate for inclusive education and improving learning outcomes for marginalized students and families. She actively participated in the DDSB Poverty Strategy and championed high expectations for students of all socioeconomic backgrounds. Her innovative contributions to the education sector include co-creating the Cypher Program for Black boys, the Empower Her Conference for Black girls, and the first Getting Ready for Kindergarten Program for Black students.

Patrice’s commitment to public education extends beyond the local level. She has served as a Director with the Ontario Public School Board Association and a member of the advisory group that authored the Ontario Black Youth Action Plan. Additionally, she contributed to the policy paper “Education Post-COVID” as part of the Ontario Education Partnership Roundtable. Federally, she has been active on the Canadian School Board Association Antiracism Workgroup, addressing systemic barriers around education and advocating for the needs of marginalized students.

She has a strong passion for making a difference in the lives of those around her.