With degrees in political science and law, Larry Brown, President of one of Canada's largest unions, has a wide range of experience to draw on, having spent over 3 decades honing skills in government, public administration, labour relations, teaching and legal issues.
Born in southern Saskatchewan and raised on a farm there, Brown began his interest in social issues while at the University of Saskatchewan, where he served as secretary to the student union and president of the Saskatchewan Federation of Students.
While articling with a Saskatchewan law firm, Brown was hired by the provincial Department of Labour as executive secretary to the Task Force on Workers' Compensation. He later became executive assistant to the Deputy Minister of Labour. While working with the government, he drafted precedent-setting Canadian legislation protecting workers against imminent danger — the right to refuse dangerous work. He also contributed his expertise and talents to the first Occupational Health Act in Canada.
The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour was his next stop. As the chief staff officer, he led the provincial organizing team for the national day of protest against wage controls in 1976 and was labour's representative on both the provincial task force examining Workers' Compensation and the government's Commission reviewing rent controls.
He later became the chief executive officer of the Saskatchewan Government Employees Association, a Component of the National Union of Government and General Employees (NUPGE) and the province's largest union, where he led one of the first public service-wide strikes in Canada. He served for 7 eventful years during which it adopted the union name and demeanour of one of Saskatchewan's most active unions — SGEU
In 1986, he was elected as Secretary-Treasurer of NUPGE, where he served as chief financial officer and one of the spokespersons for the National Union.
In 2016, Brown was elected as President of the National Union.
Brown is also the President of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Canada's leading progressive research and policy organization.
For many years, he chaired the Public Sector Working Group of the 10 million strong Public Services International (PSI). He has also taught as a sessional lecturer at Carleton University, teaching in the Masters of Public Administration program.
He has written and spoken extensively about public finances, debt and deficit issues, the changes in federal-provincial financing, public sector restructuring and the resulting changes in the economic and political structures of Canada that have occurred in the last decade.
Brown chairs the National Union's Pensions Committee where he is leading the push to expand the control by unions of their members' pension funds, and of the use of those funds to better the condition of workers through ethical screening, shareholder activism and social investment.
Brown is married to television journalist Tricia MacDonald. The father of 3 children, he and his family reside in Ottawa.