John Kidder was born in 1947 in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, and spent his childhood in Vancouver, Montréal, Beloeil, Sept-Îles, and Labrador. His family moved to Vancouver in 1963 where he completed high school before attending Collège Militaire Royale and UBC to study science, agriculture and economics. In the ‘00s, he attended Simon Fraser University’s Graduate Liberal Studies program, and the Institute of Corporate Directors/Rotman School of Business Directors Education Program.
In his early career, John worked many jobs – he was a working cowboy, a mine worker, pipeline labourer, fish buyer and warehouse foreman. He became an agricultural economist, policy analyst, range management specialist and environmental program manager. From the 1980s until 2009, he developed technology in software, fibre optics, medical devices and online governance. He holds six patents. He founded two successful companies, APRIO Inc., the leading Canadian supplier of software for boards of directors for companies, credit unions and non-profits, and Photon Control Inc., a supplier of photonic sensing equipment.
In addition to his working career, John has served on a number of corporate, political and cultural non-profit boards. Among them, he served as a Director of the Canadian Advanced Technology Association, Vice-Chair of the Canadian Photonics Consortium, Chair and CEO of the Vancouver Folk Music Festival Society, and Chair of the Winding Rivers Arts & Performance Society in Ashcroft.
John has been engaged in politics since the 1970s. He has a legacy in Canada’s green movement - in 1982, he was a founder and Secretary of the Green Party of British Columbia, the first Green Party in North America, and worked on Adriane Carr's first campaign. He worked for years with the Liberal Party of Canada — including as BC Policy Chair and President of the Vancouver Quadra EDA, and as a candidate in Okanagan-Coquihalla in 2011. He was the western Chair of the “Committee For The Constitution”, a non-partisan group that organized nationally against the Meech Lake Accord. He left the Liberal Party when Justin Trudeau criticized Stephen Harper for not “doing enough to promote the Keystone XL pipeline”.
John married Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada, on Earth day 2019. He was previously married for 32 years to Siri Heiberg from Norway until she died in 2009. In the early 1970s he was married to Marion Kidder. He has three children and four grandchildren. He lives on a small farm in Ashcroft in the dry interior of BC, and keeps an apartment in the family home in Vancouver, which is now occupied by his daughter and two grandchildren.