Ms. Harpauer was raised on a small farm near Guernsey, Saskatchewan. She completed high school at Lanigan Central High and attended Kelsey Institute in Saskatoon where she received her Medical Laboratory Technologist certificate.
Ms. Harpauer interned at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon, and worked full-time in the Microbiology Lab from 1978 to 1983. Later she married and farmed in the LeRoy area and raised three daughters.
First elected to the Legislature representing the former Watrous constituency in 1999, Ms. Harpauer was re-elected in the new Humboldt Constituency in 2003, 2007, 2011, and in the 2016 provincial elections. During her time in opposition, she served as the critic for Highways, Agriculture, Investment Saskatchewan, Crown Investments Corporation, SaskPower and SaskEnergy. She was also the deputy critic of Highways and Transportation and a member of the Legislature’s Board of Internal Economy.
Ms. Harpauer served as the Minister of Social Services from November 2007 to June 2010. She then served as the Minister of Education from July 2010 to May 2012. She was appointed Minister of Crown Investments on May 25, 2012. Ms. Harpauer returned to Social Services on June 5, 2014 when she was appointed Minister of Social Services and Minister responsible for Saskatchewan Housing Corporation and Status of Women. In August 2016, Ms. Harpauer was appointed Minister of Government Relations and Minister responsible for First Nations, Métis and Northern Affairs. In August 2017, Minister Harpauer was appointed Minister of Finance.
Ms. Harpauer currently resides in Humboldt.