Lisa Helps

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Lisa Helps
Lisa Helps (cropped).jpg
Mayor of Victoria
Assumed office
December 4, 2014
Preceded byDean Fortin
Personal details
Born (1976-04-06) April 6, 1976 (age 45)
London, Ontario

Lisa Helps (born April 6, 1976) is a Canadian politician, the current mayor of Victoria, British Columbia,[1] with her inauguration taking place on December 4, 2014.[2] She narrowly defeated incumbent mayor Dean Fortin in the 2014 municipal election.[3] She is the second woman, after Gretchen Brewin, to be elected mayor of the city.[4]


Helps was first elected to Victoria City Council as a city councillor in the 2011 municipal election.[5] She has also worked as a community organizer and activist,[6] including time in the role of executive director of a community microlending program.[5] Her mayoral campaign revolved heavily around a proposal to launch a more ambitious plan to deal with the issues of homelessness and affordable housing in the city[3] and was also boosted by voter frustration over delays in the Johnson Street Bridge construction project[3] and a controversial sewage treatment plan that has been a dominant issue in the city's municipal politics for several years.[6]

At her inauguration ceremony as mayor, held on December 4, Helps declined to recite the traditional, though not legally required, oath of allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II, the Canadian monarch,[7] explaining she does not hold any ideology against the Queen, but wanted to emphasise her opinion that Victoria is part of Songhees and Esquimalt territory.[7] Helps was criticized by monarchists.[7]

In June 2017, the city of Victoria created the Witness Reconciliation Program and the City Family. The latter is a group composed of Mayor Helps, several Victoria city council members, and people appointed by the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations' Councils. The City Family's objectives are to guide Victoria on how the city can respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)'s five calls to action intended for municipalities, and also to realize the TRC's awareness mandate on a local scale and to promote reconciliation in general.[8]

Helps oversaw the removal of the city's statue of John A. Macdonald from the front of Victoria City Hall, which took place three days after the city council voted for it on August 8, 2018. The decision was taken after one year of consultation and the support of the city family.[9]

Helps was re-elected to a second term as mayor of Victoria in the 2018 municipal election.[10]

In 2021, Helps spearheaded the cancellation of Canada Day celebrations after the Mayor and council concluded that marking the day would be damaging, citing "The history of our country’s genocidal relationship with First Nations".


  1. ^ "Victoria: Helps holds on to early lead to defeat Fortin". Victoria Times-Colonist, November 15, 2014,
  2. ^ Simmons, Brian (20 November 2014). "New Mayor and Council Inauguration". Archived from the original on 6 December 2014. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  3. ^ a b c "Lisa Helps elected new Victoria mayor". Global News, November 16, 2014.
  4. ^ "Mayoral candidate Lisa Helps takes action". The Martlet, October 9, 2014.
  5. ^ a b "First-term Victoria Coun. Lisa Helps will take run at mayor's job". Victoria Times-Colonist, January 1, 2014.
  6. ^ a b "A 'People-Centred' New Mayor for Victoria". The Tyee, November 19, 2014.
  7. ^ a b c McElroy, Justin (December 5, 2014). "Victoria's new mayor decides not to pledge allegiance to the Queen". Global News. Retrieved December 5, 2014.
  8. ^ "Witness Reconciliation Program". City of Victoria. Retrieved 2020-04-18.
  9. ^ "Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps apologizes for way decision to take down John A. Macdonald statue handled". Global News, August 29, 2018.
  10. ^ "Lisa Helps re-elected for second term as Victoria mayor". CTV Vancouver Island, October 20, 2018.