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[195-]-1999, predominant 1979-1984 (Vervaardig)
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Judith Erola (née Jacobson) was born on January 16, 1934, to a dairy farming family, in Sudbury, Ontario. She began her broadcasting career at the CHNO Sudbury radio station, before moving on to CKSO-TV, working as Canada’s first woman weather reporter. Judith married Sudbury marina owner, Vic Erola, with whom she had two daughters. She worked both part-time and full-time for CHNO, writing advertising copy and then acting as community director and broadcasting account executive.
After the death of her husband, in 1977, Judith Erola entered politics, becoming the Nickel Belt, Ontario, federal Liberal Party representative. She lost the 1979 federal election but then was elected in 1980, with the fall of the minority government.
During her four years in office, Judith Erola was appointed to the Cabinet of Canada; she served as Minister of State for Mines (1980-1983), Minister responsible for the Status of Women (1981-1984), and Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs (1983-1984).
As the first woman ever appointed Minister responsible for the Status of Women, Judith Erola championed gender equality rights within the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, specifically Section Twenty-Eight. She also supported improvements to maternity leave, laws against domestic violence, and reforms to the Indian Act.
As Minister of Mines, Erola changed the Canada Labour Code to allow women to work underground in mines. She also placed federally regulated mines under stricter provincial health and safety laws.
After her 1984 electoral defeat, Judith Erola became president of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers' Association of Canada, in 1987. She has received honourary degrees from numerous institutions, including doctorate degrees from: Mount St. Vincent University, Laurentian University, the University of Ottawa, and Carleton University. Judith Erola is a Life Member of the Federation of Medical Women of Canada and of Science North Sudbury. She has also served as president and board member for numerous health institutes as well as serving on the board of Equal Voice, an organization that continues to advocate for women in politics.