Paul Kariya is the son of a salmon fisherman. Born in Port Alberni, British Columbia, his formative years were spent in Ucluelet on the west coast of Vancouver Island. It is here that Kariya's commitment to the environment, creation care and socioeconomic justice was born.
Through 35 years in leadership positions in the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors, Kariya has consistently sought ways to find balance, compromise, accommodation, and lasting solutions to public policy issues. In the 1980s, he worked on Japanese-Canadians' drive to achieve an apology and redress for war-time internment, and sought to help First Nations escape the shadow of the Indian Act. In the 1990s, his work focused on determining whether fisheries could be better managed by British Columbia than by Canada, and whether tripartite treaty negotiations could escape the shadow of the Oka and Gustafson Lake crises to resolve long-outstanding land claims. And in the 2000s and until the present, he has sought ways to protect and restore Pacific salmon populations; reduce greenhouse gases and transition to clean energy in order to power economies and combat global warming and catastrophic climate change; and determine whether faith and faith perspectives can lead to new social movements that enable behavioural change.
Paul is the executive director of the Clean Energy Association of British Columbia. Previously he was the executive director of the Pacific Salmon Foundation, the CEO of Fisheries Renewal BC, and the executive director of the BC Treaty Commission. From 2005 to 2010, he represented Canada as a Commissioner on the Pacific Salmon Commission. Paul has held sessional and adjunct faculty positions at Carleton, Simon Fraser, Northern British Columbia and Trinity Western universities. He obtained a PhD and a MA in geography from Clark University in Massachusetts and a BA (Honors) from the University of British Columbia.
Paul serves on the board of A Rocha, an international Christian environmental organization active in 25 countries. Locally, he is on the board of the National Nikkei (Japanese Canadian) Museum and Heritage Centre. Paul is married to Diana. They have 3 adult sons.