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Past Recipients

2017 Recipient — Claire Detheridge

Cape Breton Regional Municipality

In 1982, Claire became the first woman elected to Cape Breton County Council. Her determination would be a constant theme in her 34 years in office, where she inspired many other women to put their name on a ballot.

Using a leadership style that her daughter calls "humble, yet successful," Claire consistently advocated for the importance of more women in government. Deeply passionate about her community, Claire would turn her family basement into ground zero of a huge operation to deliver food, clothes and toys to residents in need every holiday season.

In 2015, Claire was elected president of the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities. It was through this role that she was able to bring local priorities to the provincial agenda-something she was very proud to do. It was also through this role that she contributed to FCM's Board of Directors.

Now retired, Claire will always be remembered for her commitment to mentoring other women and for leading by example.

2016 Recipient — Audrey Green

Town of Renfrew

Audrey Green provided over 35 years of loyal and dedicated service to the Town of Renfrew as a Councillor, Reeve and Mayor before retiring from municipal politics in 2014. Audrey first became elected as a Councillor of Renfrew in 1972. She was the first woman to serve on Renfrew County Council. She became Mayor of the Town of Renfrew only 6 years later. During her time as a member of Renfrew Town Council she was not only a great ambassador for the Town but a trailblazer and wonderful example for women in politics to follow.


Audrey was born in 1929, married in 1950 and had 4 children. She attended Drummond's Business College earning a Business Management and Accounting Honours Diploma, as well as Algonquin College in Ottawa. She worked as a bookkeeper for a local law office in her earlier years.


"Audrey has mentored many women in municipal politics. However, it is her long lasting friendships she made with colleagues that has impacted [our choice to nominate her]. Everyone, man or woman, who has chosen to serve on municipal government, or committee or boards in Renfrew, has been touched by Audrey Green's kindness and advice. Audrey is not only an influence for women who run for municipal politics, she is an advocate for women who also work in municipal government, offering advice and wisdom when it was needed."
— Mayor Don Eady on why they nominated Audrey

2015 Recipient — Shirley Kalyniuk

Shirley Kalyniuk was first elected in 1983 as a councillor in what was then the Village of Rossburn, MB; population about 650. She was then the first woman elected since the village's incorporation in 1913, and was elected mayor in 1993.


She was elected mayor in 1993 and served until 2014. During her career in municipal politics, Shirley also served as chairperson for the Manitoba Department of Education Board of Reference, and for almost a decade with the Association of Manitoba Municipalities; first as urban director for the Mid-Western District and later as Urban Vice-President.


Shirley's community involvement has supported a wide range of organizations, including the Rossburn Regional Library, the Rossburn and District Fire Board, the Manitoba Ukrainian Arts Council, the Rossburn and District Chamber of Commerce and the Safe Communities Policing Committee to name just a few. She has also been recognized with awards such as the Rural Economic Leadership Award, the Queen Elizabeth Golden Jubilee medal and Diamond Jubilee medal; and the LCIF Melvin Jones Award for Dedicated Humanitarian Services.


During her political career, Shirley and her husband raised five children. She remains active in community issues such as adult literacy and numeracy, accessibility, and services and affordable housing for seniors.

2014 Recipient — Suzanne (Shannie) Duff

Shannie Duff was born in St. John's, NL.  A nursing graduate from Montréal's Royal Victoria Hospital, she also holds a BA degree in Sociology from Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador.

She was first elected to the St. John's Municipal Council in 1977 and - during over 30 years in municipal government - has been a champion of urban planning, heritage conservation, affordable housing, parks and recreation, the environment, and the municipal role in supporting the arts.  She has been a strong and consistent voice for a livable and sustainable city, and has served as a board member with Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Throughout her career she has mentored young women interested in political life; offering support and advice to newly elected Council members.

Shannie has volunteered with many non-profit organizations at local, provincial and national levels, and has been recognized with awards such as National Volunteer of the Year from Habitat for Humanity Canada, Heritage Canada's Gabrielle Léger Medal for Lifetime Achievement, and a Rotary Club Paul Harris Fellowship. She is a recipient of the Queen's Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilee Awards, and was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2003.

2013 Recipient — Janet E. McEwen, RN, PHN

Janet McEwen began her career in community health in Saskatchewan, before spending more than a decade, from 1981 to 1991, as a councillor and controller for the City of London. She served on the board of the Local Heath Integration Network from 1995 to 2011.


While in elected office, McEwen frequently reached out to women who were considering running for election, or who were newly elected, to provide encouragement, support and advice. After her time on council she focused her considerable talent and force of will on improving the lives of the elderly and infirm through her work with community organizations like McCormick Home. She currently sits on several boards in London, including the Salvation Army and St. Leonard's Community Services - where an award has been created in her name for individuals committed to improving the community.

2012 Recipient — Helen Hughes

Victoria, British Columbia

A role model for women who aspire to contribute in meaningful ways to their community, Helen Hughes adds the Ann MacLean Award to the many distinctions she has earned for her exemplary work as a civic leader, organizer and volunteer. A popular politician on city councils in Saskatoon (1976-80) and Victoria (1990-2008), Hughes has spent decades supporting community and philanthropic organizations that benefit children, youth, families and First Nations. She has dedicated time and effort to support women through the YWCA and Big Sisters, and as a frequent mentor to women considering elected office. Her efforts on behalf of her community have won her both the Queen's Silver and Gold Jubilee medals, as well as membership in the Order of Canada.

Page Updated: 03/11/2016