James Trottier is a lawyer and former diplomat who graduated with a law degree (JD) from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto and was called to the bar in Toronto. He worked in a major civil litigation law firm in Toronto before joining the Department of External Affairs. In addition to his JD in law, he has an LL.M. in International Law (University of Ottawa), a M.A. in Modern History (University of Toronto) and a B.A (University of Manitoba).
Mr. Trottier served as a career Foreign Service Officer from 1982 to 2016 with numerous assignments at headquarters and abroad where he served in several senior diplomatic positions. Since retiring from Global Affairs Canada in 2016, he has served as a consultant to the Government of Canada as well as providing media commentary.
His last diplomatic assignment from 2013 to 2016 was as Political/Economic Counsellor and Head of Political, Economic and Public Affairs at the Canadian Embassy in the Republic of Korea with a cross-accreditation to North Korea where he led four diplomatic delegations in 2015 and 2016 (the first Canadian diplomatic missions to North Korea since 2010). He also served as Canadian Embassy Liaison to US Forces Korea/UN Command, co-hosted with the US Embassy the annual North Korea Watchers Conference attended by diplomatic, military and intelligence experts and led the Canadian Delegation. Mr. Trottier played a leading role in securing the timely South Korean ratification of the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement and in organizing the exchange of official visits by the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of South Korea; he was the lead negotiator of the Joint Statement/Joint Declaration for each visit.
From 2007 to 2011, Mr. Trottier served as Political/Economic Counsellor at the Canadian Embassy in Manila, Philippines where he was involved in efforts to advance the peace process in Mindanao, human rights and media freedom.
He also served in two assignments in the Canadian Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand, including from 1998 to 2003 as Political/Economic Counsellor while serving concurrently as the Chargé d'affaires to Burma where he met regularly with Ministers and senior government officials as well as with then-Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other Opposition figures.
From 1990 to 1994, Mr. Trottier served at the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations in New York where he was responsible for global human rights as well as serving as acting Legal Adviser to the Canadian Chair of the Iraq Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council. He was a lead negotiator for Canada of the 1993 Vienna Declaration on Human Rights.
He held various headquarters positions at Global Affairs Canada dealing with multilateral issues as well as bilateral relations with Asia, Europe and the United States. From 2003 to 2007 he served as the Senior Political Adviser for political relations with the European Union and Senior Coordinator for the annual Canada-EU Summit; in that capacity he planned, organized and participated in four Canada-EU Summits as well as numerous other high level meetings and was a lead negotiator for the Summit declarations. From 1994 to 1996, he worked on environmental relations with the US.
From 1985 to 1987, Mr. Trottier served as Legal Adviser and External Affairs Liaison Officer to the Refugee Status Advisory Committee (RSAC), the government committee then responsible for determining refugee claims from within Canada.