Jean Augustine

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The Honourable
Jean Augustine
Jean Augustine 2010 (crop).jpg
Member of Parliament
for Etobicoke-Lakeshore
In office
Preceded by Patrick Boyer
Succeeded by Michael Ignatieff
Personal details
Born ( 1937-09-09) September 9, 1937 (age 77)
St. George's, Grenada
Political party Liberal
Residence Toronto
Profession School principal
Religion Roman Catholic

Jean Augustine PC CM CBE (born September 9, 1937 in St. George's, Grenada) is a Grenadan/Canadian former politician.

From 1993 to 2005, Augustine was a Liberal member of the Canadian House of Commons, representing the riding of Etobicoke—Lakeshore. She is a former member of Cabinet, and a former school principal. Augustine served as the Parliamentary Secretary to Prime Minister Jean Chrétien from 1994 to 1996, and was the Minister of State for multiculturalism, and the status of women until 2004.


Augustine was born in Grenada. She studied at the University of Toronto where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Education. Later on she received a Honorary Doctor of Laws from the same institution. After university she was an elementary school principal with the Metropolitan Separate School Board in Toronto.

She has served on numerous organizations and Boards including the National Black Coalition of Canada, the Board of Governors of York University, the Board of Trustees for The Hospital for Sick Children, the Board of Directors of the Donwood Institute, the Board of Harbourfront and Chair of the Metro Toronto Housing Authority. She was also National President of the Congress of Black Women of Canada.

Through fund-raising efforts, Augustine supports the Jean Augustine Scholarship Fund, which assists single mothers to undertake post-secondary study at George Brown College.

Federal politics[edit]

In the 1993 federal election, Augustine became the first African Canadian woman elected to the Parliament of Canada and subsequently the first black woman in a federal Cabinet. She also served three terms as Chair of the National Liberal Women's Caucus.

In February 2002, Augustine was elected Chair of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade. On May 26, 2002, Augustine was appointed Secretary of State (Multiculturalism) (Status of Women). In December 2003, she was re-appointed to the new Cabinet as Minister of State (Multiculturalism and Status of Women). In 2004, she was appointed to the position of Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole, making her the first African Canadian to occupy the Speaker's Chair in the Canadian House of Commons.

Augustine was the Founding Chair of the Canadian Association of Parliamentarians on Population & Development, Chair of the National Sugar Caucus, Chair of the Micro-credit Summit Council of Canadian Parliamentarians, Chair of the Canada-Slovenia Parliamentary Group and Chair of the Canada-Africa Parliamentary Group.

On November 28, 2005, Augustine announced her intention to retire and that she would not be a candidate in the 2006 Canadian election. She endorsed Liberal Michael Ignatieff to succeed her.

Later life[edit]

In 2007, Augustine was nominated by the Government of Ontario to become the first Fairness Commissioner, a position created to advocate for Canadians with foreign professional credentials.[1]


She is the recipient of the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award, the Kaye Livingstone Award, the Ontario Volunteer Award, the Pride Newspaper Achievement Award, the Rubena Willis Special Recognition Award and the Toronto Lions' Club Onyx Award.

In 2009, she was made a Member of the Order of Canada "for her distinguished career as an educator, politician and advocate for social justice in Canada".[2]

She was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2014 Birthday Honours for services to education and politics.[3]


  1. ^ Augustine to be Ont. advocate for foreign workers. CTV News from Canadian Press (CP). March 13, 2007.
  2. ^ "Governor General Announces 57 New Appointments to the Order of Canada". Office of the Secretary to the Governor General. December 30, 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-30. 
  3. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60897. p. b45. 14 June 2014.

External links[edit]

27th Ministry – Cabinet of Paul Martin
Cabinet Post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
' Minister of State (Multiculturalism and Status of Women)
26th Ministry – Cabinet of Jean Chrétien
Sub-Cabinet Post
Predecessor Title Successor
Hedy Fry Secretary of State (Multiculturalism) (Status of Women)