Janet Austin, a longtime advocate for social change, is British Columbia’s next lieutenant-governor.
The Metro Vancouver YWCA CEO is set to formally take over the role from outgoing Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon over the next few weeks.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will make the formal announcement on Tuesday morning, just as Gov. Gen. Julie Payette arrives in Victoria for a visit to Government House and the B.C. legislature.
“I am so pleased to welcome Janet Austin as the new lieutenant-governor of British Columbia. As someone who has dedicated her career to championing women’s equality and social change, she is a wonderful choice to represent Her Majesty The Queen in this great province,” Guichon said in a statement.
“Ms. Austin will continue to inspire and connect with British Columbians in this role.”
Austin is described as an active community volunteer in her official bio on the YWCA website.
B.C. Premier John Horgan describes Austin as a ‘change-maker’ who has spent a career helping people.
“I join British Columbians in welcoming Janet Austin as the new lieutenant-governor and Queen’s representative in British Columbia,” said Horgan in a statement. “She will ably represent our province as B.C.’s next lieutenant-governor.”
Austin was raised in Calgary and spent the early years of her career in a variety of public sector roles such as regional planning in that city. She also ran communications and public consultation projects while working with Alberta’s government.
She started her work in British Columbia at BC Housing.
“You have to reach out broadly across society” to effect change, Austin said in the YWCA bio.
“The way to a healthier society requires an integrated approach, and change has a social component.”
Austin is a member of the Order of BC and sits on more than on a number of boards or committees for TransLink.
As lieutenant-governor, Austin will serve as the Queen’s personal representative in B.C.
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The job is mainly a ceremonial role, but in the summer of 2017, Guichon was thrust into the public spotlight when she needed to make the decision on who should govern the province.
Guichon decided to ask John Horgan to govern, after Christy Clark lost the confidence of the B.C. legislature following an historic vote on June 29, 2017.
It was the first time in 134 years that the opposition party replaced the governing party following a confidence vote.
Guichon was appointed to the job by former Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The rancher from the Nicola Valley was appointed in November, 2012.
“At this time, I would like to recognize Her Honour Judith Guichon for her years of service,” said Horgan in a statement. “She has performed her duties admirably, and British Columbians everywhere offer her their thanks and best wishes for the future.”
Austin will be just the third female lieutenant-governor in B.C.’s history.