New Brunswick

Erminie Cohen, former Canadian senator and activist, dies at 92

Former Canadian senator Erminie Cohen died at the age of 92 on Friday.

Cohen was appointed to the Order of New Brunswick for her compassion for some of the country's most vulnerable

Erminie Cohen helped start the New Brunswick Adoption Foundation. (CBC)

Former Canadian senator and social activist Erminie Cohen has died at the age of 92.

Cohen, who served in the senate from 1993-2001, died on Friday night in Saint John, where she grew up.

She was appointed senator by then prime minister Brian Mulroney. She was a lifelong member of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada.

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs offered his condolences in a statement released on Saturday. 

"On behalf of all New Brunswickers, I want to express my deepest condolences on the passing of former New Brunswick Senator Erminie Cohen," said Higgs.

"As Premier of New Brunswick, my thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends."


Erminie Cohen grew up in Saint John and graduated from Saint John High School before attending Mount Allison University. Both before and after her time as senator, Cohen was known for her social advocacy.

"I know she cared about a lot of causes and I think they all kind of intersected," said Suzanne Kingston, executive director of the New Brunswick Adoption Foundation. 

It was a foundation Cohen was involved with from its origins. The organization helped double the number of adoptions in the province.

In 1978, she became a part of the first New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women, and founded the non-profit organization Saint John Women of Action. 

That organization would go on to create shelters for abused women and children. 

Kingston said that when Cohen would get involved with a cause, it would motivate others to do the same. 

"She was one of those people that when you connected with, you remembered why things were so important," said Kingston.

"She just really motivated people."

In 2010, Cohen was honoured for her efforts when she was appointed to the Order of Canada. She was named to the Order of New Brunswick in 2017.

Cohen's funeral will take place on Monday, 1 p.m., at Brenan's Bay View Funeral Home Chapel in Saint John.