Augustine, Jean

In 1993, Canadian politician Jean Augustine became the first Black woman elected to the Parliament of Canada. An advocate of social justice, she worked as the principal of an elementary school before entering politics. Among her accomplishments as an MP was the introduction of a motion, passed unanimously, to have February proclaimed as Black History Month in Canada.

Born in St. George’s, Grenada, Jean Augustine was a qualified teacher when she arrived in Canada in 1959, but had to work as a domestic before her employment in Ontario schools.  Mrs. Augustine became a school principal and supported many social causes.

During her years as a federal member of parliament, the Honourable Jean Augustine served as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister of Canada, Chair of the National Liberal Women’s Caucus, Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and the Status of Women, Chair of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Deputy Speaker. In March 2007 she became the first Fairness Commissioner for the province of Ontario.

We are so proud to have hosted Mrs. Augustine at Crestwood; she visited us in April 2016, when she spoke to an audience of YARRD/Me to We members, along with students in the female peer leadership group.  The students took Mrs. Augustine’s words to hear, and we expect that they will put those words into action!