Karen Foss

Karen Foss

Champion for Wellness and Mental Health at Public Safety

Karen Foss is the Champion for Wellness and Mental Health at Public Safety and the Director of Operations at the Government Operations Centre (GOC). At the GOC she helps coordinate whole of government responses to domestic emergencies.

Karen joined Public Safety from Global Affairs Canada after 16 years in the Foreign Service. She most recently headed up the political section at the embassy in Cuba. Previously, she coordinated the Inter-Departmental Task Force for Critical Incidents, responding to national security incidents threatening Canadians overseas.

In Ottawa, she led teams covering multilateral affairs in the hemisphere, relations with the Korean Peninsula, deployments of police officers to peace support operations, and served as the lead officer on Afghanistan and Pakistan. Internationally, she served in Kandahar as Deputy Political Director. In Indonesia, she led field operations in response to the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami following her assignment to the embassy in Jakarta where she worked with security agencies on countering terrorism.

Karen earned a Masters of Security and Defence Management and Policy from the Royal Military College of Canada in 2011, and became a Graduate of the Canadian Forces College National Security Program in 2010. She completed an Honours BA in International Studies from Glendon College, York University, in 2001.


  • Moving the markers on workplace mental health at the Government of Canada