JEAN AUGUSTINE Biography by Harnoor

Who is Jean Augustine?

Jean Augustine is a politician, teacher and principle. In politics she was the first black female MP [Member of Parliament] , Cabinet Minister and social justice advocate. She was named first fairness commissioner. Her legacy includes the federal declaration of February as Black History Month.

Early Years/childhood

Jean was born on the 9th of September 1937 in Happy Hill, Grenada. She was the daughter of Olive and Ossie Simon. After the death of her father her family moved in with an old woman called Granny. As a student Augustine expressed many interests in music, radio, broadcasting and teaching. She became a teacher but the income was low. After learning about opportunities in Canada, she decided to move to Canada. In 1960 Jean arrived in Canada. She worked as a nanny in Canada for one year and in exchange of that she got the landed immigrant status.

Augustine's life in Canada

After coming to Canada Jean Augustine enrolled in Toronto Teachers College. She worked as an elementary school teacher in Metropolitan Separate School Board . In 1968, she married Winston Augustine and they had two daughters Valerie and Cheryl. The Augustine's [Winston and Jean] divorced in 1981. Augustine was ambitious [desire to succeed]. She attended the university of Toronto, where she earned a BA [honor] and later a Master of Education. Her hard work and efforts lead to a promotion of a vice - principle and then a principle.


  • Jean Augustine received the first Kay Livingstone Award from the Congress of Black Women of Canada.
  • In March 2007, the Ontario government appointed her the province's first fairness commissioner.
  • She was appointed chair person of the Metro Toronto Housing Authority.
  • The greatest accomplishment for Jean Augustine was that she got unanimous support from her colleagues to declare February as Black History Month.

How did she achieve her greatest goal

Jean Augustine's greatest goal was to become a teacher. And to achieve this she did great efforts. Firstly, she earned her Ontario teaching certificate in 1963 and joined as an elementary school teacher. Later she earned her BA [Hons] and Master of education [University of Toronto]


  • when Jean Augustine's father died her family had difficulties due to lack of money
  • To become an immigrant Jean Augustine had to work in family homes as a nanny for 1 year.


  • Although Jean Augustine came from a poor family she rose to high levels with her hard work and determination.
  • Jean Augustine was appointed the minister of state [ multiculturalism and status of women]
  • Jean Augustine Center, a life skills training center for young women was opened on June 19 after her name.
  • A secondary school located in Brampton called Jean Augustine Secondary School is named after Jean Augustine.

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