British Columbia

Janet Austin appointed as B.C.'s new lieutenant governor

The prime minister's office announced the appointment on Tuesday, calling Austin an "outstanding leader who has dedicated her career to improving the lives of others."

Austin has been CEO of the YWCA in Metro Vancouver for 15 years

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said B.C.'s Janet Austin has "dedicated her career" to helping others. Austin was announced as the province's new lieutenant governor on Tuesday. (YWCA)

Longtime community advocate Janet Austin has been named B.C.'s new lieutenant governor.

The prime minister's office announced the appointment on Tuesday, calling Austin an "outstanding leader who has dedicated her career to improving the lives of others."

"Her advocacy work has helped countless Canadians ... I know she will work hard to represent the province, and its people, well," Trudeau said in a written statement.

In Canada, lieutenant governors represent Queen Elizabeth in their respective provinces. They are appointed by Governor General Julie Payette on Trudeau's recommendation.

Community advocacy

Austin has been CEO of the YWCA in Metro Vancouver — one of B.C.'s biggest and most diversified non-profits — for 15 years. 

"It's obviously an enormous honour," Austin told Stephen Quinn, host of CBC's The Early Edition

"It's also an opportunity to bring profile to issues that I have long championed. That is something the prime minister has encouraged me to do, and so I look forward to using a different role to do some of the things I have been privileged to do at the YWCA."

Austin has also worked at Big Sisters, B.C. Housing, on the board of directors of Translink and the City of Vancouver's Healthy City for All leadership table; and has served on numerous boards, including the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade and the Canadian Paediatric Society.

Left to right: Nicola Hill with the United Way; Janet Austin, and Irene Lanzinger with the BC Federation of Labour stand behind a massive collection of feminine hygiene products collected at a fundraiser for women in March 2017. (Jennifer Young)

Austin has received several awards for her work, including the Business in Vancouver Influential Women in Business Award, the Vancouver Board of Trade Community Leadership Award and the Wendy McDonald Diversity Champion Award.

She's also received the Queen's Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals and the Order of B.C.

Austin has a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Calgary and an honorary doctorate from Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey, B.C.

Lieutenant governors hold the role for five years. Austin will replace Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon, who has served in the role since Nov. 2, 2012.

To hear more from Janet Austin, click on the audio link below:

With files from The Early Edition.