Lord, we lift up to you our MLA Honorable Jennifer Howard. In spite of some physical handicaps, Jennifer has not let them stop her from seeing that people have different needs and that people do care. Lord would you guide Jennifer as she seeks to bring healing and aid to those in distress, and affliction. Lord, you never view us as disabled instead you see us as more than able to see your magnificent love and acceptance. In Jesus Name, Amen.
“Life isn’t easy, but if we work together we can make a difference. I was born with a disability. I have a leg that’s a little shorter than the other, fewer fingers than probably most of you. When I was young, and getting fitted for special shoes, I asked my mom how do we pay for this? She told me not to worry about it because we lived in a province where people cared about each other, where the government, the NDP government, had made sure that my shoes were paid for by everybody in the province, not just my family. That made a deep impression on me as a child about the power of government to do good in people’s lives.”
- First appointed to cabinet in 2009
- First elected in 2007
Jennifer was elected MLA for Fort Rouge in 2007, later serving as the Vice-Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee. In November 2009, she was appointed the Minister of Labour and Immigration and Minister responsible for Persons with Disabilities, Workers Compensation Board and the Status of Women.
Jennifer was re-elected on October 4, 2011 and was appointed Minister of Family Services and Labour. On October 18, 2013, Premier Greg Selinger appointed Jennifer the Minister of Finance, as well as Minister responsible for the Civil Service Commission, Minister charged with the administration of the Crown Corporations Public Review and Accountability Act and Minister responsible for Persons with Disabilities.
Jennifer Howard is a well-known and credible advocate who has worked in the community and government on issues such as poverty, health care, neighbourhood safety and equality for women.
Prior to her appointment, Jennifer held a number of public positions, including:
- Executive Director of the Women’s Health Clinic
- Chairperson of the Manitoba NDP Status of Women Committee
- Positions with the Prairie Women’s Health Centre of Excellence and the Manitoba Action Committee on the Status of Women
- Policy advisor to Premier Gary Doer on health care issues
- Founding Member, South Osborne Neighbourhood Safety Association
Jennifer is a life-long Manitoban—born and raised in Brandon where she graduated from Brandon University. She moved to Winnipeg in 1998.
Jennifer has served on the Boards of numerous organizations, including the College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (Manitoba), the Rainbow Resource Centre and the University of Winnipeg’s Board of Regents.
Jennifer was named a Woman of Distinction in 1999 by the Brandon YWCA. She has also received a Community Builder Award from LAMBDA, the gay and lesbian business and professional organization.
Jennifer is a keen reader, theatre-goer and singer with a community choir – the Rainbow Harmony Project.