Doris Mae Oulton, O.M.

Doris Mae Oulton was the first female northern development officer for the Province of Manitoba. Known as the Bayline worker, Oulton lived in Thicket Portage and worked with the communities of Wabowden and Pikwitonei. She helped communities stimulate economic development and form local government.

As an assistant deputy minister of the Women’s Directorate, Oulton helped author the first statement opposing violence against women endorsed by federal and provincial ministers of status of women. As CEO of the provincial Children and Youth Secretariat, she championed and implemented Manitoba’s first early childhood intervention program, demonstrating the efficacy of interdepartmental cooperation and coordination. It became a model for cross-department coordination and was duplicated in other Canadian jurisdictions. As ADM of Culture Heritage and Citizenship, she negotiated the first federal/provincial immigration agreement for a provincial nominee program.

As a member of the four-person women’s initiative team, following an extensive province-wide consultation, she authored the final report, which made recommendations across broad sectors of provincial activities affecting women. She led the implementation team that resulted in stable funding to the women’s shelter system, reform of the welfare system to a one-tier system that included province-wide standards and the fair treatment of women, and established the Family Violence Court, which became a national model.

As ADM at the Women’s Directorate, she wrote the government’s first Aboriginal women’s policy. Oulton was part of a small group of senior officials who wrote the first national policy on the prevention of violence against women, endorsed by the Canadian ministers of the status of women in 1990.

Oulton served as president of the University Women’s Club of Winnipeg and national president of the Canadian Federation of University Women, leading its delegation to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women for two years. As well, she is the chair of the Charitable Trust Foundation of the Canadian Federation of University Women which, with the CFUW member clubs across Canada, provides annual funding of about $1 million in scholarships/fellowships for girls and women.

Oulton was a founding member of the Nellie McClung Foundation, which erected the monument on the grounds of the Legislative Building; she now chairs the foundation. She was also a founding member of Women of Winnipeg (WOW).

Her volunteer roles in the community includes: chaired the YM/YWCA Women of Distinction Awards; chaired the LEAF Person’s Day Breakfast; board member of the Immigrant Centre and the Manitoba and Recreational Trails Association; and, was a member of the Manitoba Advisory Council on the Status of Women.

Doris Mae Oulton worked for years with Health Canada, where she helped establish an oral health program in 265 First Nations communities; she worked on the disability management and performance management programs with the Treasury Board of Canada. Doris Mae Oulton received the Order of Manitoba in 2021.

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