A long-time resident of Etobicoke, the Honourable Jean Augustine was born in Grenada. Before entering politics, she was an elementary school principal with the Toronto District Catholic School Board.
She has served on numerous boards, including the Board of Governors of York University, the Board of Trustees for The Hospital for Sick Children, and as Chair of the Metro Toronto Housing Authority. She was also National President of the Congress of Black Women of Canada.
In 1993, Ms. Augustine became the first black woman elected to the Parliament of Canada. From 1994 to 1996, she was the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister of Canada. She also served three terms as Chair of the National Liberal Women's Caucus.
Ms. Augustine was elected Chair of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade. She has served as Secretary of State (Multiculturalism)(Status of Women), and on December 12, 2003, she was appointed as Minister of State (Multiculturalism and Status of Women).
Jean Augustine holds a B.A., a M.Ed. and an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Toronto.
Ms. Augustine supports the Jean Augustine Scholarship Fund, which assists single mothers to pursue post-secondary studies at George Brown College.
She is the recipient of several awards including the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award, and the Toronto Lions' Club Onyx Award.
Ms. Augustine is the mother of two daughters.