January 16, 1934
Judy Erola was to become known for many things as well as broadcasting. As an MP for the Nickel Belt riding, she was Minister of Mines in the cabinet of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, Minister responsible for the Status of Women, and Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs.
She was the first woman appointed to the powerful cabinet priorities and planning committee which has final say on government policy.
Her career start was in radio and television broadcasting in Sudbury in the 1950's, where she also achieved several firsts. She was just 15 when she began developing a reputation for possessing great energy and in fact was already initiated into the radio industry as a copy writer with CHNO AM in Sudbury. That station had been on the air only since 1947. She found herself doing nearly every job but engineering and management.
She moved over to CKSO-TV when it signed on in 1953 again proving herself to be so versatile and energetic. On TV she became the first woman employed by a Canadian television station as a weather reporter.
It was around this time when Judy married Vic Erola and the two raised two daughters. Judy continued to work part-time while raising the girls.
She eventually went back to CHNO fulltime writing advertising copy. She eventually was put in charge of that department as Continuity Director. She would assume another first in her accomplishments becoming the first woman broadcasting account executive in Sudbury. Even with her titles, Judy did it all, coming up with ideas, selling, writing and sometimes voicing the commercials.
As a result of her husband's death in 1977, Judy was devastated and decided that a new direction in her life would be just what the doctor ordered. She decided to enter the world of politics. In 1979 Judy won the Liberal nomination for Nickel Belt riding. The Conservatives took that election with NDP's John Rodriguez representing the area, but the defeat of John Crosbie's budget led to another election in 1980 in which Trudeau and the Liberals won sending Judy to Ottawa. Erola continued to serve in the cabinet of John Turner after Trudeau retired. It was the 1984 election in which the governing Liberals were reduced to just 40 seats and Erola lost her own seat back to Rodriguez.
Committed to the area, she was the force behind the creation of Science North and the funding of Laurentian University’s Centre for Mining and Mineral Exploration Research.
In 1987, Erola became president of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers' Association of Canada. She held that position until she retired in 1998.
She is the recipient of numerous honorary recognitions including a Doctorate degree of Human Letters Honoris Causa from Mount St. Vincent University in 1992, an Honorary Doctorate of Laws, awarded in 1996 by Laurentian University, an Honorary Doctorate degree from the University of Ottawa, in 1996, Life Member of the Federation of Medical Women of Canada and Life Member of Science North Sudbury.
Judy is currently President of the Child Health Institute of Canada and Director of Health Partners International. She also serves as Chair of the University of Ottawa Health Administration Program Advisory Board and participates on the College of Family Physicians of Canada's Relationship with Healthcare Industry Task Force.
Never letting grass grow under her feet, Judy is currently on the board of Equal Voice. This is an organization which seeks to assist Canadian women in running for political office.