The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell was invested as Ontario’s 29th Lieutenant Governor on September 23, 2014. Her eclectic public service career has spanned provincial, federal, and international borders, and has transcended disciplinary and sectoral lines.
Ms. Dowdeswell began her professional career as a teacher and university lecturer. After serving as the Deputy Minister of Culture and Youth for the Government of Saskatchewan, she held increasingly senior positions in the Canadian public service, most notably as head of the Atmospheric Environment Service. Throughout this period, she managed several public inquiries and royal commissions.
Her international negotiating experiences prefaced her election in 1992 as Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya. Upon returning to Canada in 1998, she established an international consulting practice and became the founding President and CEO of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization. Immediately prior to her appointment as Lieutenant Governor, Ms. Dowdeswell was the President and CEO of the Council of Canadian Academies. She has also served on numerous boards of corporate and non-profit organizations.
Ms. Dowdeswell was born in Northern Ireland and immigrated to rural Saskatchewan with her parents in 1947. She earned a Bachelor of Science in home economics and teaching certificate from the University of Saskatchewan (1966) and a Master of Science in behavioural sciences from Utah State University (1972). An Officer of the Order of Canada, Ms. Dowdeswell holds 11 honorary degrees.
Ms. Dowdeswell has received the following honours:
- Officer of the Order of Canada (2012), postnominal letters: OC
- Dame of Justice of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem (2015)
- Member of the Order of Ontario (2014), postnominal letters: OOnt
- Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012)
Photograph by V. Tony Hauser
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