Nominated alongside Anne Wafula-Strike, Irene Chang, Dr. Hayat Khattab and Moekie Grobbelaar, Canada’s Carla Qualtrough was selected by the International Paralympic Committee for their International Women’s Day Recognition award”in honour of her impact and leadership within sport” according to the Canadian Paralympic Committee. The visually impaired Qualtrough is a multi-Paralympic medalist, winning total three bronze medals in swimming at the 1988 and 1992 Summer Paralympics.
Upon winning the award, Qualtrough was quoted by the Canadian Paralympic Committee as saying, “I couldn’t be more honoured, and humbled, to be bestowed this prestigious recognition on International Women’s Day along-side this formidable group of sport leaders. When the Prime Minister offered me my current role as Canada’s Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, he challenged me to take two of my life’s true passions and “go change the world.” Every day, I’ll work to live up to that challenge, in ensuring more active and inclusive communities for all Canadians.”
After retiring from competitive swimming, she attended the University of Ottawa where she studied political science. She then moved across the country to get a law degree at the University of Victoria.
She became involved with sports governance, and was the President of the Canadian Paralympic Committee from 2006 to 2010. Prior to that, in 2002, she joined the IPC’s Legal and Ethics Committee. In 2012, she served as IPC’s Legal Officer for the London 2012 Paralympic Games. In 2013, she was Vice President of the Americas Paralympic Committee. Qualtrough was involved with the Toronto 2015 Pan and Parapan America Games, serving on the Sport and Legacy Committee.
In her role as a lawyer, she also fought for human rights and was counsel for the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission. For this work, she was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.
The 44-year-old Qualtrough ran for office as a member of the Liberal party for the seat of Delta in British Columbia, winning the seat with 49.12% of the vote. Upon assuming office, she was named Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities in the government headed by Justin Trudeau.