Fonds F0515 - Jean Augustine fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Jean Augustine fonds

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  • Textual record
  • Graphic material
  • Moving images
  • Object

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Physical description area

Physical description

19.4 m of textual records
ca. 16,818 photographs
ca. 10,025 negatives
ca. 86 compact disks
ca. 35 computer disks
ca. 415 paintings and prints
ca. 706 objects : buttons, flags, cups, etc.
240 video cassettes
22 DVDs
41 audio cassettes

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Jean M. Augustine (9 September 1937 - ), is a Grenada-born Canadian politician, teacher, and community organizer. She was the first female candidate of African descent to be elected to Parliament.

Augustine was a teacher in Grenada and emigrated to Canada in 1960 under the West Indian Domestic Scheme. She worked as a nanny as required by the program, and acquired her Ontario Teaching Certificate in 1963 and later her B.A. (Hon.) from the University of Toronto. In 1980 she received her M.A.Ed. from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). Augustine worked as a teacher within the Metropolitan Separate School Board, teaching at St. Anthony (1964 - 1970); St. Raymond (1970 - 1975); St. Felix (1975-1979); and St. Francis de Sales (1979-1982, where she was vice-principal). In 1982, Augustine was appointed principal at St. Felix School, a post she held until 1985. She also served as principal at St. Gregory School (1985- 1988).

Augustine was a social activist and volunteer within the Caribbean community of Toronto, working on issues such as immigrant and women's rights, violence against women, drug abuse and poverty. She founded several community organizations, including the Grenada Association and the Ontario chapter of the Congress of Black Women of Canada. She was also active in the areas of urban education, black youth and cultural events such as Caribana. In the Spring of 1985, Augustine was appointed by Ontario Premier David Peterson to a "transition team" of citizens to facilitate the transfer of power to the newly-elected Liberal-NDP coalition.

On 24 November 1988, she was appointed chair of the Metro Toronto Housing Authority (MTHA), the administrative body for social housing in the city.

In 1993, Augustine was appointed by Liberal Party leader Jean Chr├ętien as a candidate for the federal riding of Etobicoke-Lakeshore. With her election, Augustine became the first black woman elected to the Parliament of Canada, and later the first black woman in a federal cabinet. Augustine went on to win subsequent federal elections in 1997, 2000, 2002 and 2004.

During her time in federal politics, Augustine was Secretary of State for Multiculturalism, and later Multiculturalism and the Status of Women, and was Special Advisor on Grenada. She also acted as Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, Deputy Speaker and served three terms as Chair of the National Liberal Women's Caucus.

While serving as a federal politician, Augustine sat on a number of committees including the Foreign Affairs Committee, the Canada Africa Parliamentary Group, and the Canadian Association of Parliamentarians on Population and Development. She also participated on international boards and associations related to women's issues, human rights, AIDS/HIV, micro credit, population and development, economic development and industry, Africa, immigrant rights, racism and xenophobia. Augustine was part of a Canadian team of election observers during the 1994 election campaign in South Africa, and participated on foreign conferences and delegations for the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD), the World Food Organization, and the World Summit of Women.

Jean Augustine was instrumental in establishing the first national recognition of February as Black History Month in 1996.

Augustine retired from politics in November 2005. She was later appointed in March 2007 as Fairness Commissioner of Ontario, to advocate on the behalf of immigrants seeking to have their foreign credentials validated in the province.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Fonds consists of the professional records of Jean Augustine, including documents, reports, speech notes, press releases and publications relating to her activities as a community activist and volunteer; a elementary school teacher; her administration of the Metro Toronto Housing Authority; her participation on various international, national, provincial and municipal advocacy boards organizations and associations; and her activities as a federal politician and member of cabinet.

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Immediate source of acquisition

Donated by Jean Augustine in 2007.


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Restrictions on access

Some files restricted due to third party personal information. Access to some files permitted only through a research agreement. Requests must be directed to the University Archivist.

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The fonds comprises the following accessions: 2007-022, 2015-041, 2017-022. Further accruals may be expected.

General note

An online exhibit pertaining to the button collection in the Jean Augustine fonds is available at

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

2007/06/27 Sean Smith:. (Creation)
2007/06/27 Awaiting review by the Data Collection Archivist
2008/08/22 Anna St.Onge. Added extent information for textual, photographs, objects etc. Added biographical sketch Updated Scope note
2008/08/25 Anna St.Onge. Final revisions and edits of scope & content Linking series-level descriptions. Confirming extent note.
2008/09/11 Anna St.Onge. More revisions to scope & content note. Grammatical corrections. Updated access restrictions to close files containing personal information about Canadian citizens.
2008/09/11 Anna St.Onge. Re-formatting bio sketch to make it more readable in EAD.
2008/09/11 Anna St.Onge. Completely revamping the bio sketch to make it more manageable.
2008/10/22 Dubeau. Corrected URL for online finding aid. Corrected dates of extent.
2008/10/24 Anna St.Onge. Correcting dates of extent Adjusting Scope and Content Note. Shifting information from Custodial History to Immediate Source of Acquisition.
2008/10/24 Anna St.onge. Adding Audiovisual extents to fonds-level.
2008/10/24 Anna St.Onge. Fixing date extents
2014/07/22 Migrated to AtoM.
2018/10/30 KCP, N. Roz. Post-migration metadata clean-up. Addition of GMD and accession numbers. Added 2015 and 2017 accessions to accrual note. Published description and generated finding aid.
2018/12/20 KCP. Updated fonds level extent and scope note to include 2017 accession.
2020/02/06 TR. Updated fonds level extent and scope note to include 2015 accession.
2020/03/26 KCP, N. Somerset. Added subject access points.
2020/10/26 KCP. Added historical language note.

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Accession area