Sutherland was born in London, the son of Donald Sutherland and Shirley Douglas, both of whom are successful Canadian actors. He has a twin sister, Rachel. He is of primarily Scottish descent, with some English and German ancestry. His maternal grandfather was Scottish-born Canadian politician and former Premier of Saskatchewan Tommy Douglas, who is widely credited for bringing universal health care to Canada.
Sutherland is named after American-born writer and director Warren Kiefer, who, under the assumed name of Lorenzo Sabatini, directed Donald Sutherland in his first feature film, the Italian low-budget horror film Il castello dei morti vivi (Castle of the Living Dead).
Sutherland’s family moved to Corona, California. His parents divorced in 1970. In 1975, Sutherland moved with his mother to Toronto. He attended elementary school at Crescent Town Elementary School, St. Clair Junior High East York, and John G. Althouse Middle School in Toronto. He attended five different high schools, including St. Andrew’s College, Martingrove Collegiate Institute, Harbord Collegiate Institute, Silverthorn Collegiate Institute, Malvern Collegiate Institute, and Annex Village Campus. He also spent a semester at Regina Mundi Catholic College in London (Ontario) and attended weekend acting lessons at Sir Frederick Banting Secondary School. Sutherland told Jimmy Kimmel Live! (2009) that he and Robert Downey, Jr. were roommates for three years when he first moved to Hollywood to pursue his career in acting.