Clare Beckton received her LLB and her BA from the University of Saskatchewan and spent an LLM year at the University of Illinois. She taught law at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, from 1974 to 1984, and, in that capacity, published a number of articles on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and several books. In 2005, as a Fulbright Scholar, she obtained an MPA, with a focus on leadership, from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. In recognition of academic excellence and her exceptional contribution to public service and leadership, Ms. Beckton was awarded the Littauer Fellowship.
In 1984, Ms. Beckton joined the Human Rights Law Section of the Department of Justice. In 1988, she assumed the position of General Counsel with the RCMP Legal Services, and in 1992, subsequently took on the role of General Counsel, Department of Fisheries and Oceans. In 1996, Ms. Beckton became Senior General Counsel with Human Resources Development Legal Services and served there until her appointment as Assistant Deputy Attorney General, Aboriginal Affairs, Department of Justice. She led the Aboriginal Affairs Portfolio from 1998 until June 2004 managing an extensive budget and contingent liabilities. Following her year at Harvard University, Ms. Beckton co-led, with the Aboriginal Leadership Institute and other partners, a multi-sectoral Aboriginal Leadership Initiative to find new and innovative ways of addressing the complex challenges facing Aboriginal communities in Canada. From April 2007 to July 2009 Clare Beckton served as the deputy head of Status of Women Canada.
In 2010 Clare Beckton was appointed to the board of Directors of the Queensway Carleton Hospital. In 2008, she was appointed to the Women's Leadership Board of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, received the Woman of the Year Award from the Federated Press for "exceptional achievement and outstanding leadership by a Canadian woman," and was selected by the Women's Executive Network for a Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award. She is also the recipient of a Canada 125 Medal.
Ms. Beckton is the author of Media and the Law as well as numerous articles on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. She has extensive experience in a number of areas including equality rights, gender, leadership to change systems, governance, gender, diversity and Aboriginal policy issues . Ms. Beckton has served as a presenter on diverse topics for domestic and international conferences and symposia. She has been an active contributor to various executive and community-based committees.