Chief Terrance Paul

Member-at-Large
Chief, Community of Membertou

Financial sustainability, family, community, culture and a commitment to preserve his people’s language and history are top priorities for Chief Paul, as well as the desire to build a promising future for youth in his community.

First elected Chief in 1984, Chief Paul is a proud member of the Membertou First Nation in Unama’ki, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. He is a respected leader who has guided Membertou to becoming one of the most progressive, efficient and sustainable Indigenous communities in Canada. Prior to being elected Chief, he served Membertou as Economic Development Officer and Band Manager.

Under Chief Paul’s leadership, Membertou has doubled its land base and increased employment by close to 80 per cent. Chief Paul led the opening of the Membertou’s corporate office in Halifax and Nova Scotia which he has since been able to bring back to the community. He has enjoyed repeated business and community successes including the development of: Membertou Trade & Convention Centre; the Membertou Entertainment Centre; the Membertou Market; the Membertou Gaming Commission; the Membertou Data Centre; the Membertou Geomatics Centre; the Membertou Commercial Fisheries, Membertou Realty, Membertou Insurance Brokers, Petroglyphs Gift Shop. In January 2002, Membertou received official notification of its International Organization of Standards (ISO) status – establishing Membertou as the very first Indigenous government in Canada and the world to be ISO 9001 certified. Membertou has established itself as a credible organization in the business world with its ISO certification

Chief Paul began his career with the Boston Indian Council in the early 1970’s where he gained extensive knowledge in administration and financial management. He was a founding member of the National Aboriginal Capital Corporation Association, which he helped expand from seven members to more than 50 Indigenous corporations across Canada. Chief Paul assisted Donald Marshall Jr. in his successful Supreme Court defense of the Mi’kmaq Treaty Rights to fish. This resulted in approximately $600 million in benefits for the Mi’kmaq people. He sits on numerous committees, and is currently Chairperson of the First Nation Financial Authority Board, which recently issued its first long term loan.

Chief Paul was awarded an honorary doctorate of law from Cape Breton University.