About John

John Rafferty is the current Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay – Rainy River and a member of the New Democratic Party caucus in the House of Commons in Ottawa, Ontario.   John was first elected to serve as MP in the 2008 federal election and was subsequently re-elected on May 2, 2011 with 48.1% of the vote.

Educator, Broadcaster, Small Business Owner, Volunteer

John has served as an educator in Canada and abroad.  He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Waterloo (1978) where he specialized in English and Theatre Arts, and a Bachelor of Education from The University of Western Ontario (1979) where he specialized in Intermediate and Senior level education. 

He has taught in Yellowknife and was the first high school principal in Rankin Inlet. He is an alumnus of World University Service Canada (WUSC) and lived abroad while working as a teacher in Nigeria and a Field Director in Botswana for more than six years.

He has also worked as a broadcaster and owned a small business.   After earning a diploma in broadcasting from Confederation College (1994) he hosted an afternoon radio talk show on CKPR prior to his decision to enter political life.  He also started and successfully ran Rafferty Communications, which was a small business dedicated to producing voiceovers for health, training, and safety CD-ROMs.

John is also a dedicated community volunteer.  He has served as a volunteer with Special Olympics Ontario and Voyageur Lion’s Club.  He is also a supporter of a number of arts and cultural groups including the The Pictograph Gallery in Atikokan, and the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra among others.

John also holds a Certificate in Dispute Resolution from Lakehead University.

First Mandate

After taking office following his breakthrough election victory in 2008 John worked hard to put the interests of Northwestern Ontario on the map in Ottawa.  After conducting numerous surveys and meeting with constituents he tabled legislation that was aimed at protecting the pensions and severance pay of workers during corporate bankruptcy proceedings, reducing the occurrence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), enhancing the rights of injured and ill workers, and ensuring that First Nation’s veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces receive the same benefits and compensation as other members who serve. He was, and continues to be, a strong advocate for the Canadian forestry industry and the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC), and a strong opponent of the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) in Ontario. 

Second Mandate

Following his re-election in the spring of 2011 John has taken up much of the work he began in his first mandate.  In the first six months he has tabled several pieces of legislation to protect the severance and termination pay of workers during bankruptcy proceedings, reduce the occurrence of FASD, and has tabled forestry related motions that call on the federal government to establish a national forestry strategy, monitor the implementation of unfair subsidies in foreign countries, and assist the industry in transforming its operations from logging and paper production to bio-chemical, bio-pharmaceutical, and other more valuable products. 

On January 23, 2015 New Democrat Leader Tom Mulcair appointed John to be the New Democrat Critic for Pensions. In this role, John has committed himself to strengthening the 'Three Pillars' of Canadian pension and retirement system, namely: the CPP, OAS and GIS; private sector pension plans such as Defined Benefits that are commonly held by Canadians working the private sector; and private individual retirement savings vehicles such as RRSPs and RRIFs. In March, John announced that he will be tabling "several" Private Members' Motions to addresses what he and many refer to as the 'pension and retirement saving crisis' facing Canadians of all ages.


John presently lives in Neebing with his partner Pam and is the proud father of three adult children.