Denise Batters is an experienced lawyer and mental health advocate. A life-long resident of Saskatchewan, she holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Regina and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Saskatchewan.
Ms. Batters was admitted to the Saskatchewan Bar in 1995, and was in private practice in Saskatchewan until 2007. She was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2008. From November 2007 until June 2012, she was the Chief of Staff to Saskatchewan’s Minister of Justice. From June 2012 until her appointment to the Senate, Ms. Batters was the Executive Director of Regulatory Affairs for the Crown Investments Corporation of Saskatchewan.
She has been an active member of the business community through directorships and involvement in the Regina Women’s Network and the Regina and District Chamber of Commerce.
Ms. Batters is a strong supporter of mental health and suicide prevention. She advocated for a national suicide prevention strategy, appearing before the House of Commons Health Committee in 2012.
Since 2010, Ms. Batters has organized a number of charity golf tournaments that have raised a total of $215,000 in honour of her late husband, former Member of Parliament Dave Batters, who fought anxiety and depression, and died by suicide in 2009. The funds raised are used to produce and broadcast a television commercial focusing on awareness about depression and suicide. (This commercial can be seen by clicking this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uN1iPXNcq1U.)
Ms. Batters has spoken to many large audiences and given numerous media interviews, both locally and nationally, encouraging Canadians to raise awareness and fight the stigma surrounding mental illness and suicide. Senator Batters was awarded the 2015 Champion of Mental Health Award (Parliamentarian) by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health. And, Senator Batters was honoured with another prestigious national mental health award in 2017, as she was named a “Difference Maker” by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).
Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed Ms. Batters to the Senate of Canada on January 25, 2013.
Senator Batters currently serves as Deputy Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. She was elected to this position in the Fall of 2020, right before the Committee launched an intensive study on Bill C-7, the Trudeau government’s bill to expand assisted suicide. Senator Batters has served as a member of the committee since 2013.
Senator Batters served as a Deputy Chair of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration from November 2017 to April 2020. In this role, Senator Batters acted as a careful steward of taxpayers’ money, focusing on transparency, accountability, and proper governance of Senate operations. She also pushed for increased openness in Senate communications with the Canadian public, including the public televised broadcasting of Senate Chamber proceedings.
Senator Batters also served as a Joint Chair of the Scrutiny of Regulations Committee from September 2014 to August 2015.
She is currently a member of the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament. She has been a member of this committee since 2013.
Senator Batters is also a past member of the following Senate Committees:
- Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration (2015 to April 2020)
- Subcommittee on Senate Communications (2013 to 2020)
- Audit Subcommittee (2015 to 2020)
- Scrutiny of Regulations (2013 to 2015)
Senator Batters sponsored three government bills in the Senate which have now become law, including 2014’s Bill C-36, Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (the federal government’s prostitution law). As a member of the Steering Committee of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee in 2016 and 2017, Senator Batters was instrumental in the Committee’s comprehensive study and report on the issue of criminal court delays in Canada. In 2018, Senator Batters proposed an amendment removing random alcohol testing from the Trudeau government’s Bill C-46 (impaired driving), on the basis that random alcohol testing is unconstitutional and could increase racial profiling. Her amendment passed both the Senate Legal Committee and the full Senate Chamber, but was ultimately rejected by the Trudeau majority government.
Senator Batters resides in Regina, Saskatchewan.