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First woman to sit in the Prince Edward Island Legislative Assembly.
First woman to be appointed to the Provincial Cabinet.
Born in Westmorland, Prince Edward Island on October 4, 1918
Political Affiliation: Liberal
Legislative Career: First elected to the Prince Edward Island Legislative Assembly in the May 11, 1970 provincial election as Assemblyman for First Queens. Served until March 27, 1979.
Appointed to the Cabinet as Minister without Portfolio and Minister Responsible for P.E.I. Housing Authority from October 10, 1972 to May 2, 1974.
Also served as Chairwoman of the Provincial Advisory Committee on the Status of Women in the Province of Prince Edward Island, 1972 to 1973.
Honours and Awards: Queen's Jubilee Medal, 1977.
Ella Jean Canfield was nominated to run as a candidate for Assemblyman for First Queens riding in the 1966 provincial general election. She was not successful, but did show very strongly against the incumbent Frank Myers, then Speaker of the Assembly, losing by only 122 votes. She was nominated to run in the 1970 general election, again for First Queens, and this time was successful, becoming the first female member of the Prince Edward Island Legislative Assembly. She was re-elected in 1974 and served as Provincial Assemblyman until she was defeated in the 1979 general election. From October 10, 1972 to May 2, 1974 she was Minister without Portfolio and Minister Responsible for P.E.I. Housing Authority, becoming the first woman to sit in the provincial cabinet.
In 1972, she was invited to chair the Provincial Advisory Committee on the Status of Women in the Province of Prince Edward Island. The provincial committee was established in response to the federal Report of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada of 1970. The committee advised the legislature on the implementation of federal recommendations in the province.
A member of the Zonta Club and several other associations, Jean Canfield is now retired.
In the presence of women : representation in Canadian governments. — Ed. Jane Arscott, Linda Trimble. — Toronto : Harcourt Brace & Company Canada, , c1997. — ISBN 0774735406 — P. 283-285.
"Island women promote better status of women". — Charlottetown Guardian. — January 2, 1975. P. 6.
MacAndrew, Barbara. — "Hon. Jean Canfield: Prince Edward Island's first woman cabinet member". — The Atlantic Advocate. — Vol. 63, no. 5 (January 1973). — P. 59-60.
"Mrs. Jean Canfield hopes judged as member for First Queens". — Charlottetown Guardian. — June 3, 1970. — P. 1.
Who's who on Prince Edward Island. — Ed. John I. Barrett; illustrated by E.D. Johnstone. — Charlottetown, P.E.I. : W. Wheeler Pub., 1986. — P. 25.