Senator Yonah Martin

@ Senate of Canada

The Honourable Yonah Martin is a Conservative Senator from British Columbia, appointed by The Right Honourable Stephen Harper in 2009. She is the first Canadian of Korean descent to serve in the Senate of Canada and the first Korean-Canadian parliamentarian in Canadian history.

Presently, Senator Martin is Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (since November 2015). She previously served as Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate (2013-2015); and as Deputy Whip of the Government (2011-2013).

Some of her notable achievements as a Senator include the establishment of a Parliamentary Internship and Mentoring Program (since 2011); the enactment of her Senate Bill – Korean War Veterans Day Act (June 2013); a successful multi-year campaign to add Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)/Acupuncturists to the schedule of health professionals for GST/HST exemption (April 2014); ‎the adoption of a Motion to annually recognize June as Deaf-Blind Awareness Month (since 2015); and contributions to the successful conclusion of negotiations and as the Senate Sponsor of the historic Canada Korea Free Trade Agreement Bill (implemented January 2016).

Born in Seoul, South Korea, Yonah Martin immigrated to Canada in 1972, and has resided in Metro-Vancouver ever since. She earned a Bachelor of Education in 1987 from University of British Columbia and had a 21-year teaching career (1987-2008) until her appointment to the Senate. She earned a Master of Education in 1996. Later, she co-founded C3 Korean Canadian Society (, a non-profit organization that aims to “bridge communities”. Currently, she serves as Honorary Patron of C3 and several other regional and national Advisory Boards and Committees.

In recognition of her community service in the Tri-Cities region, Yonah Martin was awarded the Spirit of Community Award for Cultural Harmony (in 2004). She was also awarded the Order of Civil Merit Moran Medal by the President of the Republic of Korea (in 2009); the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal by Governor General David Johnston (in 2011). As part of UBC’s centennial, she has been recognized as one of UBC’s top Education 100 Alumni (in 2015); she received the King Clancy Award from the Canadian Foundation for Physically Disabled Persons (CFPDP) for her advocacy work on the Hill for people with physical disabilities (in February 2016); and most recently Yonah Martin was among 100 Canadians to be featured in MacLean’s special Canada Day issue of “Canada’s Stories”, to mark the magazine’s 100th anniversary: ( )

She has been married to Doug Martin for nearly 30 years, and they are proud parents of their daughter, Kiana Mi-Sun.