The board

Brigitte McKinnon


Following a 25-year career alongside her husband in medical publishing, as both graphic artist and office manager, Brigitte founded the Pure Art Foundation in 2010.

Her work with the Foundation is closely interwoven with its sister project, Pure Art Inc., a fair-trade boutique and active member of the Fair Trade Federation. Through them, Brigitte is fully engaged in working with marginalized artisans, with a particular commitment to the protection of culture. 

Brigitte established the Pure Art Foundation as a means of redressing inequalities that were impossible to ignore after she first traveled to Peru with her husband and five sons. Bringing hope, protecting the basis of human dignity, and empowering families in impoverished communities became the cornerstones of her vision.

In 2014, Brigitte received the Prix de Manuvie award for her impact against poverty.

Robert McKinnon


With 30 years of experience in medical publishing, Robert has explored corporate social responsibility during the last 10 years with his wife on their joint venture with the Pure Art Foundation.

Robert has also served as a board member of the Fair Trade Federation for the last six years, developing strategies to help build capacity in marginalized communities, particularly in Peru. Closer to home, as an advisor to the Canadian Fair Trade Network, he plays a role in mobilizing the local fair-trade movement, particularly in the formation of Fair Trade Towns, and raising awareness about the importance of the principles governing fair trade.

With his wife, life partner and Pure Art co-founder, Brigitte, Robert travels twice a year to the Pure Art Hub of Hope in Pucallpa, Peru, to help build stronger, thriving communities.

François Larocque


Francois Larocque is a full professor at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, holder of the University Research Chair in Language Rights, and counsel at Power Law.

As one of Canada’s leading experts on the rights of official-language minorities, Francois has received l’Ordre des francophones d’Amérique from the Government of Quebec and l’Ordre du mérite de l’Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Ontario.

His pro bono practice and academic research also focuses on civil responsibility for grave international human rights violations.

A passionate advocate, François has represented several human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International and the Canadian Centre for International Justice, at every level of court in the country. In recognition of his outstanding work in the area of transnational human rights litigation, he received the Ontario Bar Association Award for Excellence in International Law.

He joined the Pure Art Foundation in 2012.

Marie Laure Leclercq


Lawyer emeritus recognized by the Quebec Bar, Marie Laure Leclercq, Ad.E., currently sits as commissioner of the Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission, where she is a leading spokesperson on human rights.

Marie Laure was the 2016 recipient of the Heroine Award from the Sexual Orientation and Identity Forum for her commitment to the cause of people from sexual minorities. She recently acted as co-chair of the Government of Canada’s Advisory Committee on Abuse of the LGBTQ+ Community.

An engineer by training, she has a real passion for technology. She represents small and large companies, evolving in several avant-garde fields, in matters of business law, contractual law, as well as intellectual property law and information technologies. Her professional excellence has been recognized by Best Lawyers in Canada since 2016.

Marie Laure has been a board member of the Pure Art Foundation since its founding in 2010. 

Suzie Côté


Suzie Côté trained as a translator in Switzerland, Scotland, Mexico and Canada, and completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in translation at the Université de Montréal.

She has worked for more than 35 years in the pharmaceutical industry as a medical translator, and has been head of her own translation agency, Linguapharm Inc., since 1996.

In 2011, Suzie joined the Pure Art Peruvian trip as a volunteer and has returned every year since. Strongly convinced by the  instrumental role that education plays in sustainable development, she has been managing the Foundation’s One School for All program for the past seven years, which oversees the education of over 300 children in Pucallpa, Peru.

Liam McKinnon


Liam first visited Pucallpa at the age of eleven, at the dawn of the Foundation and the network of programs that would come to be. He has returned nearly every year since, growing up in tandem with the children there and witnessing firsthand the crucial impact sustainable development has on the most basic of human rights.

Following the completion of his bachelor’s degree in creative writing at Concordia University, Liam now maintains the Foundation’s communications, social-media platforms, and outreach efforts. He sees storytelling as a powerful tool in bringing the plight of marginalized communities to the foreground of global awareness.

Liam is particularly committed to the current development of the Foundation’s capacity in the Himalayan province of Humla, Nepal, in close partnership with the Himalayan Children’s Society.

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