Marie Wilson spent over three decades building an illustrious career in journalism before becoming one of three commissioners of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC). At the TRC, she worked for six and a half years to reveal the history and impacts of more than a century of forced residential schooling for Indigenous children. She is now pursuing aspects of reconciliation beyond the TRC as the 2016 professor of practice at McGill University's Institute for the Study of International Development.
Wilson was appointed a TRC commissioner after 35 years as an award-winning journalist, trainer, senior executive manager, independent contractor, and consultant in journalism, program evaluation, and project management. She also worked as a university lecturer in Canada, and a high school teacher in Africa. In all, Wilson has lived, studied, and worked in cross-cultural environments -- including in Europe, Africa, South America and various parts of Canada -- for almost forty years.
In her journalism career, Wilson worked in print, radio, and television as a regional and national reporter, and as the founding host of the weekly television current affairs program, Focus North. As regional director of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's CBC North, she founded northern Canada's first daily television news service, which operated against a backdrop of four time zones and ten languages (English, French and eight Indigenous languages). Wilson also developed the Arctic Winter Games and the True North Concert series for national audiences with a view to exposing the rest of the country to unique Northern performing artists and traditional Indigenous sports. She also recruited and developed Indigenous reporters and hosts, established the CBC North Awards to acknowledge staff excellence, and acknowledged the wider community with programming that supported and promoted literacy.
For several years, Wilson was a member and chair of the CBC's Training Advisory Committee, providing training both within the CBC and outside the country. One of her career highlights was to work with the South African Broadcasting Corporation to prepare TV journalists to cover the country's first democratic election during South Africa's transition to democracy, and the start-up of their Truth and Reconciliation Commission. For several years, Marie Wilson served as an associate board member of what would become APTN, the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network.
Wilson holds post-graduate degrees in French and journalism and certificates in project management and program evaluation. She has earned various recognitions for her journalism, her writing, and her work on workplace safety. Wilson holds a CBC North lifetime achievement award, a Northerner of the Year award, a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and honorary doctorates from St. Thomas University and the University of Manitoba. In 2016, the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation appointed her a Trudeau mentor.