Fonds 10-110 - Judith Erola fonds

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Judith Erola fonds

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CA ON0034 10-110



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  • [195-]-1999, predominant 1979-1984 (Vervaardig)

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0.6 meters of textual records
300 photographs
12 buttons

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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.

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The Judith Erola fonds provides insights into the activities and functions of a Liberal Party Member of Parliament, serving as one of very few women in the Canadian Cabinet, in the early 1980s. The fonds documents Judith Erola’s ministerial activities, with news clippings reflecting on her legislative initiatives, especially in relation to her efforts to improve the status of women and to develop Northern Ontario’s mining industry. The fonds is focused especially on Judith Erola’s actions and priorities as Minister responsible for the Status of Women, containing numerous speeches delivered to bodies and organizations. The fonds also reflects on Judith Erola’s campaign to win the Nickel Belt riding in 1979 and contains photographs that reflect on Judith Erola’s overseas tours, professional duties, and visits with various officials.


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