Jean Augustine is a Canadian politician, activist, and educator, who is known for her contributions to advancing social justice and equity in Canada. Born in Grenada, she immigrated to Canada in 1960 and began a career as a teacher before becoming involved in politics. She was the first Black woman elected to the Parliament of Canada and the first Black woman appointed to a federal Cabinet position in Canada.
Augustine was first elected to Parliament in 1993 as the Member of Parliament for Etobicoke-Lakeshore, a riding in Toronto. During her time in Parliament, she focused on a wide range of issues, including education, human rights, and social justice. She was a strong advocate for women’s rights and played a key role in the development of the Famous Five Monument in Ottawa, which commemorates the five women who fought for women’s rights and were instrumental in having women recognized as “persons” under Canadian law.
In addition to her political career, Augustine has also been involved in a number of community organizations and initiatives. She has been a leader in the Black Canadian community and has worked to promote the rights and interests of racialized Canadians. She was instrumental in the establishment of Black History Month in Canada and has been recognized for her contributions with numerous awards and honours, including the Order of Canada and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
If you are interested to know more about Jean Augustine, it’s a good idea to look at these 27 interesting facts about her.
- Jean Augustine was born on September 9, 1937, in Happy Hill, Grenada.
- She immigrated to Canada in 1960 and settled in Toronto.
- Augustine worked as a domestic worker for a short time before studying to become a teacher.
- She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto and a Master of Education degree from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.
- Augustine began her career as a teacher and worked for over 25 years in the Toronto District School Board.
- In 1985, she became the first Black woman to be elected to the Metro Toronto Council.
- In 1993, Augustine became the first Black woman elected to the Parliament of Canada.
- She served as the Member of Parliament for Etobicoke-Lakeshore for over a decade, from 1993 to 2006.
- Augustine was the first Black woman appointed to a federal Cabinet position in Canada, serving as the Minister of State (Multiculturalism and Status of Women) from 2002 to 2004.
- She was instrumental in the development of the Famous Five Monument in Ottawa, which commemorates the five women who fought for women’s rights and were instrumental in having women recognized as “persons” under Canadian law.
- Augustine was a strong advocate for education and worked to improve access to education for marginalized communities.
- She played a key role in the establishment of Black History Month in Canada, which is celebrated every February.
- Augustine was a founding member of the Canadian Association of Black Educators and the Toronto Chapter of the Congress of Black Women.
- She was also a founding member of the National Black Coalition of Canada and served as its president from 1975 to 1980.
- Augustine was a member of the Ontario government’s Advisory Committee on Multiculturalism and Citizenship from 1980 to 1983.
- She was appointed as Ontario’s first Fairness Commissioner in 2007 and served in that role until 2015.
- Augustine has been recognized with numerous awards and honours, including the Order of Canada and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
- In 2013, a school in Toronto was named after Augustine in recognition of her contributions to education and community service.
- Augustine is an honorary patron of the Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community, and Diaspora at York University.
- She is also an honorary patron of the Centre for Integrative Anti-Racism Studies at the University of Toronto.
- Augustine is a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, a historically Black sorority for women.
- She has been a member of the United Church of Canada for over 50 years and has served in various leadership roles in the church.
- Augustine has been a guest lecturer at various universities and colleges across Canada and the United States.
- In 2019, she was appointed as the first-ever Fairness Commissioner for the City of Toronto, where she works to promote fair access to municipal services for all residents.
- Augustine is a sought-after public speaker and has spoken at events and conferences around the world.
- She has been married to her husband, Lloyd Augustine, for over 50 years.
- Augustine has two children and several grandchildren.
Jean Augustine is a remarkable figure in Canadian history and an inspiration to many. Her dedication to social justice, equity, and education has made a lasting impact on Canada and its people. Augustine’s achievements as the first Black woman elected to Parliament and as a Cabinet minister opened doors for future generations and helped to pave the way for greater diversity and inclusion in Canadian politics. Her contributions to the development of Black History Month in Canada and her advocacy for women’s rights have helped to raise awareness of important social issues and inspire positive change.